BSc (Hons), PhD
Hobart CBD Campuses
Medical Science Precinct
+61 3 6226 4817
Dr Anna King studied for an honours degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Durham University in the UK before taking on a position at the Heart Research Institute in Sydney. She joined the University of Tasmania in 2003 and undertook doctoral studies (2004-2008) investigating
causes and consequences of axonal pathology in neurodegenerative disease. Following successful completion of her PhD she was awarded the Bill Gole MND postdoctoral fellowship from the Motor Neuron Disease Institute of Australia to continue her work at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania. She currently co-supervises several students in the field of neurodegeneration.
Dr Anna King's research involves investigating mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease. Her work is particularly focused on investigating degeneration and dysfunction of the axon, the long process of nerve cells, which is a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases and may be the primary cause of disease symptoms prior to loss of the cells. She uses both in vitro (primary cell culture) and in vivo techniques to model axon pathology and determine the consequence to the health and function of the neuron.
Research Projects and Roles
- The role of excitotoxicity and distal axon degeneration in ALS - Chief Investigator.
- Microfluidic platforms for pathogenesis of neurological disorders - Chief Investigator.
- Motor Neuron Disease Research Institute of Australia
Dr King is an early career neuroscientist who aims to understand the pathobiological processes in neurological diseases such as Dementia with the aim of identifying therapeutic targets. Dr King received training in molecular biology and biochemistry at Durham University (UK) and the Heart Research Institute (Australia), before completing her PhD on the cellular pathology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALS at the University of Tasmania in 2008. Over the last 5 years she has continued her independently funded research through successfully winning two consecutive, nationally-competitive research fellowships (MNDRIA 2008-2011, Alzheimer's Australia Research 2011-2013). Dr King has lead a number of research projects funded by philanthropic agencies and in 2013, Dr she was appointed to Senior Research Fellow within the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre.
Dr King is an advocate for increasing the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia and motor neuron disease, in the future generations of medical practitioners, neuroscience researchers and also those who are involved in care of the aged population. Increased understanding will be of benefit to those who suffer from these diseases as well as their family members.
Dr King's research interests revolve around uncovering mechanisms of axonal and synaptic degeneration in neurological disease. She aims to identify strategies for axonal and synaptic protection, which will prevent the loss of connectivity that underlies clinical symptoms of disease. Dr King runs a number of projects in this field including the pathological processes of frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Dr King's research has been among the first to begin to unravel the mechanisms by which axons degenerate under disease related conditions such as excitotoxicity. Dr King works in collaboration with Professor James Vickers to investigate links between axon pathology following traumatic injury and the development dementia in addition to examining the potential benefits of environmental enrichment on synaptic protection.
Research Expertise and Specific Skills
- In vitro and in vivo modelling of disease
- Novel primary cell culture techniques
- Microfluidic technology to answer questions regarding mechanisms of axon degeneration
- Small animal surgical techniques
- Intraocular injection techniques
- Biochemical analysis
- Live imaging studies