Profiles

Catherine Blizzard

UTAS Home Dr Catherine Blizzard

Catherine Blizzard

ARC DECRA Fellow
Menzies Institute for Medical Research

Room 440-04 (Level 4) , Medical Science 2

+61 3 6226 4623 (phone)

Catherine.Blizzard@utas.edu.au

Dr Catherine Blizzard is an ARC Discovery Early Career Research (DECRA) Fellow whose impact on her field has already been demonstrated by the publication of 26 papers to date (7 first author, two senior author and another corresponding author, three cover features; one research highlight), resulting in >600 citations in journals including Cerebral Cortex and Science and securing over 2 million in competitive funding. In recognition of her contribution to MND research Catherine was awarded the inaugural 2017 MNDRIA Betty Laidlaw Prize for most outstanding researcher in MND (up to ten years post PhD) ($250 000).

Biography

Since completing her PhD in March, 2011, Catherine has been on continuous fellowships: the Bill Gole Postdoctoral Fellowship from Motor Neuron Disease Research Institute Australia (2011-2014), the Alzheimer’s Australia Post- doctoral research fellowship (2014-2016), IBRO/FENS Young Investigator International Training Program Fellowship (2014), the Menzies Institute for Medical Research Community Fellowship (2016-2019) of which she only completed one year of after she was awarded the ARC DECRA Fellowship. During my DECRA have at taken 8 months full time maternity leave (October 2017- April 2018).

Catherine currently leads an independently funded research group at the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute For Medical Research. She is the primary PhD supervisor of three full time PhD students (two on competitive scholarships), and co-supervises a further four (seven full time PhD students in total) and one honours student. Five of her PhD candidates have completed their PhDs, all with a minimum of one first author publication.

Memberships

Professional practice

Dr Blizzard has been a member of professional societies including the SfN, ANS and ASMR.

Committee associations

Dr Blizzard has been a member of organising committees for a number of local conferences including:

  • Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre Winter School, 2010
  • National Symposium on Neurotrauma, 2010; 2011

Research Invitations

Conference Speaker:

  • 12th International Conference of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, Nice, France, 2015
  • 9th FENs Forum of Neuroscience, Milan, Italy, 2014
  • Motor Neuron Disease Research Institute of Australia Symposium, Melbourne
  • Motor Neuron Disease Research Institute of Australia Symposium, Sydney, 2013
  • 23rd International Symposium on ALS/MND, Chicago, USA, 2012
  • 32nd Australian Neuroscience Society Meeting, Gold Coast, 2012
  • Motor Neuron Disease Research Institute of Australia Symposium, Brisbane, 2012

Public talks:

  • Menzies Meet the Researcher – MND Research In Tasmania, 2015
  • Guest speaker for Elizabeth College Awards Night, 2014
  • Guest speaker for Kingston Ladies Probus –  Brain Injury Research in Tasmania, 2014
  • Guest speaker for MND Tasmania AGM  – Opening of Student Roadshow, 2014
  • Guest speaker for National Science Week fundraising event – Headway Brain Break, 2013
  • Guest speaker for MND Tasmania AGM  – Motor neuron degeneration in MND, 2013
  • Presentation at MND Victoria Sympoisuim – MND Research in Tasmania, 2012
  • Guest speaker for Biota Teacher's Association Conference – Can the brain repair itself following injury? 2011

View more on Dr Catherine Blizzard in WARP

Expertise

  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Awards

  • Young   Investigator International Training Program Fellowship (1 of 2 Australians   selected)– Federation of European Neuroscience Society, 2014
  • Cosmopolitan Australian's Role Model of the Year, 2013
  • Southern Cross Young Achiever of the Year – Science/Technology, 2012
  • International travel award – International Brain Research Organisation, 2011
  • National Student Oral Presentation Prize – Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases Conference, Sydney Australia, 2010
  • Menzies Institute For Medical Research - Doctoral Student of the year, 2010
  • National travel award – Australian Neuroscience Society, 2010
  • National Student Poster Presentation Prize – ASMR Neurogenetics National Meeting, 2009
  • Student Oral Presentation Prize – University of Tasmania's Sharing Excellence in Research Conference, 2009
  • Tasmanian Medical Student of the Year – ASMR, 2008

Current projects

  1. Synaptic dysfunction in Frontotemporal Dementia and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  2. The role of interneurons in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (collaborator)
  3. Interneurons and Traumatic Brain Injury (collaborator)
  4. Targeted axonal protection in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (collaborator)

Fields of Research

  • Neurology and Neuromuscular Diseases (110904)
  • Cellular Nervous System (110902)
  • Central Nervous System (110903)
  • Cell Neurochemistry (060105)
  • Immunogenetics (incl. Genetic Immunology) (110706)
  • Medical and Health Sciences (119999)
  • Cardiology (incl. Cardiovascular Diseases) (110201)
  • Peripheral Nervous System (110905)
  • Neurocognitive Patterns and Neural Networks (170205)

Research Objectives

  • Nervous System and Disorders (920111)
  • Neurodegenerative Disorders Related to Ageing (920112)
  • Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences (970106)
  • Health Related to Ageing (920502)
  • Cancer and Related Disorders (920102)
  • Diabetes (920104)

Publications

There has been significant international interest in Dr Blizzard's research as evidenced by publication in high impact international journals and presentation of work at four national and five international conferences. Dr Blizzard's work has resulted in 11 internationally peer reviewed publications (4 first author, two cover features; 188 citations; h-index of 6) with two more first author publications currently in preparation. Of note, her career best publications include a first author publication in the prestigious journal Cerebral Cortex and a co-authored publication in Science.

Total publications

44

Journal Article

(26 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2019Jiang T, Handley E, Brizuela M, Dawkins E, Lewis KE, et al., 'Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis mutant TDP-43 may cause synaptic dysfunction through altered dendritic spine function', Disease Models & Mechanisms, 12, (5) pp. 1-11. ISSN 1754-8403 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1242/dmm.038109 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Brizuela M; Dawkins E; Lewis KE; Clark RM; Dickson TC

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2018Chuckowree JA, Zhu Z, Brizuela M, Lee KM, Blizzard CA, et al., 'The microtubule-modulating drug Epothilone D alters dendritic spine morphology in a mouse model of mild traumatic brain injury', Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 12 Article 223. ISSN 1662-5102 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2018.00223 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Chuckowree JA; Brizuela M; Lee KM; Dickson TC

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2018Clark JA, Blizzard CA, Breslin MC, Yeaman EJ, Lee KM, et al., 'Epothilone D accelerates disease progression in the SOD1G93A mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis', Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology, 44, (6) pp. 590-605. ISSN 0305-1846 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/nan.12473 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Clark JA; Breslin MC; Yeaman EJ; Chuckowree JA; Dickson TC

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2018Clark RM, Brizuela M, Blizzard CA, Dickson TC, 'Reduced excitability and increased neurite complexity of cortical interneurons in a familial mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis', Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 12 Article 328. ISSN 1662-5102 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2018.00328 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Clark RM; Dickson TC

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2017Brizuela M, Blizzard CA, Chuckowree JA, Pitman KA, Young KM, et al., 'Mild traumatic brain injury leads to decreased inhibition and a differential response of calretinin positive interneurons in the injured cortex', Journal of Neurotrauma, 34, (17) pp. 2504-2517. ISSN 0897-7151 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1089/neu.2017.4977 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Brizuela M; Chuckowree JA; Pitman KA; Young KM; Dickson T

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2017Clark RM, Blizzard CA, Young KM, King AE, Dickson TC, 'Calretinin and Neuropeptide Y interneurons are differentially altered in the motor cortex of the SOD1G93A mouse model of ALS', Scientific Reports, 7 Article 44461. ISSN 2045-2322 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/srep44461 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 8

Co-authors: Clark RM; Young KM; King AE; Dickson TC

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2017Yap YC, King AE, Guijt RM, Jiang T, Blizzard CA, et al., 'Mild and repetitive very mild axonal stretch injury triggers cystoskeletal mislocalization and growth cone collapse', PLoS One, 12, (5) Article e0176997. ISSN 1932-6203 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176997 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 13Web of Science - 11

Co-authors: Yap YC; King AE; Guijt RM; Breadmore MC; Dickson TC

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2016Blizzard CA, Lee KM, Dickson TC, 'Inducing chronic excitotoxicity in the mouse spinal cord to investigate lower motor neuron degeneration', Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10 Article 76. ISSN 1662-453X (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00076 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Lee KM; Dickson TC

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2016Clark JA, Southam KA, Blizzard CA, King AE, Dickson TC, 'Axonal degeneration, distal collateral branching and neuromuscular junction architecture alterations occur prior to symptom onset in the SOD1G93A mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis', Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, 76, (Pt A) pp. 35-47. ISSN 0891-0618 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2016.03.003 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 20Web of Science - 19

Co-authors: Clark JA; Southam KA; King AE; Dickson TC

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2016Clark JA, Yeaman EJ, Blizzard CA, Chuckowree JA, Dickson TC, 'A Case for Microtubule Vulnerability in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Altered Dynamics During Disease', Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 10 Article 204. ISSN 1662-5102 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2016.00204 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 18Web of Science - 14

Co-authors: Clark JA; Yeaman EJ; Chuckowree JA; Dickson TC

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2016Handley EE, Pitman KA, Dawkins E, Young KM, Clark RM, et al., 'Synapse dysfunction of layer V pyramidal neurons precedes neurodegeneration in a mouse model of TDP-43 proteinopathies', Cerebral Cortex, 27, (7) pp. 3630-3647. ISSN 1047-3211 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhw185 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 25Web of Science - 24

Co-authors: Pitman KA; Dawkins E; Young KM; Clark RM; Dickson TC

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2015Blizzard CA, Southam KA, Dawkins E, Lewis KE, King AE, et al., 'Identifying the primary site of pathogenesis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - vulnerability of lower motor neurons to proximal excitotoxicity', Disease Models & Mechanisms, 8, (3) pp. 215-224. ISSN 1754-8403 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1242/dmm.018606 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 19Web of Science - 21

Co-authors: Southam KA; Dawkins E; Lewis KE; King AE; Clark JA; Dickson TC

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2015Brizuela M, Blizzard CA, Chuckowree JA, Dawkins E, Gasperini RJ, et al., 'The microtubule-stabilizing drug Epothilone D increases axonal sprouting following transection injury in vitro', Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences, 66, (Part B) pp. 129-140. ISSN 1044-7431 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.mcn.2015.02.006 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 25Web of Science - 23

Co-authors: Brizuela M; Chuckowree JA; Dawkins E; Gasperini RJ; Young KM; Dickson TC

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2015Clark R, Blizzard C, Dickson T, 'Inhibitory dysfunction in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: future therapeutic opportunities', Neurodegenerative Disease Management, 5, (6) pp. 511-525. ISSN 1758-2024 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.2217/nmt.15.49 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 7

Co-authors: Clark R; Dickson T

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2015Radford R, Rcom-H'cheo-Gauthier A, Wong MB, Eaton ED, Quilty M, et al., 'The degree of astrocyte activation in multiple system atrophy is inversely proportional to the distance to α-synuclein inclusions', Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 65 pp. 68-81. ISSN 1044-7431 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.mcn.2015.02.015 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 27Web of Science - 23

Co-authors: Eaton ED; Quilty M; Vickers JC; West AK; Dickson TC

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2013Blizzard CA, King AE, Vickers J, Dickson T, 'Cortical murine neurons lacking the neurofilament light chain protein have an attenuated response to injury in vitro', Journal of Neurotrauma, 30, (22) pp. 1908-1918. ISSN 0897-7151 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1089/neu.2013.2850 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: King AE; Vickers J; Dickson T

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2013Southam KA, King AE, Blizzard CA, McCormack GH, Dickson TC, 'Microfluidic primary culture model of the lower motor neuron-neuromuscular junction circuit', Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 218, (2) pp. 164-169. ISSN 0165-0270 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2013.06.002 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 51Web of Science - 45

Co-authors: Southam KA; King AE; McCormack GH; Dickson TC

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2012Hosie KA, King AE, Blizzard CA, Vickers JC, Dickson TC, 'Chronic excitotoxin-induced axon degeneration in a compartmented neuronal culture model', ASN Neuro, 4, (1) Article e00076. ISSN 1759-0914 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1042/AN20110031 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 35Web of Science - 31

Co-authors: Hosie KA; King AE; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

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2012King AE, Blizzard CA, Southam KA, Vickers JC, Dickson TC, 'Degeneration of axons in spinal white matter in G93A mSOD1 mouse characterized by NFL and alpha internexin immunoreactivity', Brain Research, 1465 pp. 90-100. ISSN 0006-8993 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2012.05.018 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 15Web of Science - 11

Co-authors: King AE; Southam KA; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

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2011Blizzard CA, Chuckowree JA, King AE, Hosie KA, McCormack GH, et al., 'Focal Damage to the Adult Rat Neocortex Induces Wound Healing Accompanied by Axonal Sprouting and Dendritic Structural Plasticity ', Cerebral Cortex, 21, (2) pp. 281-291. ISSN 1047-3211 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhq091 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 31Web of Science - 30

Co-authors: Chuckowree JA; King AE; Hosie KA; McCormack GH; Chapman JA; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

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2011King AE, Dickson TC, Blizzard CA, Woodhouse A, Foster SS, et al., 'Neuron-glia interactions underlie ALS-like axonal cytoskeletal pathology', Neurobiology of Aging: Experimental and Clinical Research, 32, (3) pp. 459-469. ISSN 0197-4580 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.04.004 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 25Web of Science - 23

Co-authors: King AE; Dickson TC; Woodhouse A; Foster SS; Chung RS; Vickers JC

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2010Murchison EP, Tovar C, Hsu A, Bender HS, Kheradpour P, et al., 'The Tasmanian Devil Transcriptome Reveals Schwann Cell Origins of a Clonally Transmissible Cancer ', Science, 327, (5961) pp. 84-87. ISSN 0036-8075 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1126/science.1180616 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 149Web of Science - 130

Co-authors: Tovar C; Obendorf D; Kreiss A; Woods GM

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2009Blizzard CA, King AE, Haas MA, O'Toole DA, Vickers JC, et al., 'Axonal shearing in mature cortical neurons induces attempted regeneration and the reestablishment of neurite polarity', Brain Research: International Multidisciplinary Journal Devoted to Fundamental Research in The Brain Sciences, 1300, (November) pp. 24-36. ISSN 0006-8993 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.08.059 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: King AE; Haas MA; O'Toole DA; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

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2009Vickers JC, King AE, Woodhouse A, Kirkcaldie MT, Staal JA, et al., 'Axonopathy and cytoskeletal disruption in degenerative diseases of the central nervous system ', Brain Research Bulletin, 80, (4-5) pp. 217-223. ISSN 0361-9230 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2009.08.004 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 47Web of Science - 45

Co-authors: Vickers JC; King AE; Woodhouse A; Kirkcaldie MT; Staal JA; McCormack GH; Musgrove RE; Mitew S; Liu Y; Chuckowree JA; Bibari O; Dickson TC

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2007Blizzard CA, Haas MA, Vickers JC, Dickson TC, 'Cellular dynamics underlying regeneration of damaged axons differs from initial axon development', European Journal of Neuroscience, 26, (5) pp. 1100-1108. ISSN 0953-816X (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2007.05750.x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 24Web of Science - 23

Co-authors: Haas MA; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

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2007King AE, Dickson TC, Blizzard CA, Foster SS, Chung RS, et al., 'Excitotoxicity mediated by non-NMDA receptors causes distal axonopathy in long-term cultured spinal motor neurons', European Journal of Neuroscience, 26, (8) pp. 2151-2159. ISSN 0953-816X (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2007.05845.x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 30Web of Science - 24

Co-authors: King AE; Dickson TC; Foster SS; Chung RS; West AK; Chuah MI; Vickers JC

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Chapter in Book

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2015Southam KA, King AE, Blizzard CA, McCormack GH, Dickson T, 'A Novel In Vitro Primary Culture Model of the Lower Motor Neuron-Neuromuscular Junction Circuit', Microfluidic and Compartmentalized Platforms for Neurobiological Research, Springer, E Biffi (ed), United States, pp. 181-193. ISBN 978-1-4939-2509-4 (2015) [Other Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2510-0_11 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

Co-authors: Southam KA; King AE; McCormack GH; Dickson T

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Conference Publication

(17 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2014Blizzard CA, Handley E, Dawkins E, Clark R, Fielder T, et al., 'Synaptic alterations in the TDP-A315T mouse model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis', 25th International Symposium on ALS/MND, 5-7 December, Brussels, Belgium (2014) [Conference Extract]

DOI: 10.3109/21678421.2014.960187/259 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Handley E; Dawkins E; Clark R; Fielder T; Dickson T

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2012Blizzard C, King AE, Hosie KA, Dickson TC, 'Site-specific excitotoxin exposure in vivo leads to neuronal excitotoxicity and axonal dysfunction', 32nd Annual Meeting Australian Neuroscience Society, January 2012, Gold Coast, Australia (2012) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: King AE; Hosie KA; Dickson TC

2012Blizzard C, King AE, Vickers JC, Dickson TC, 'Site specific excitotoxicity: a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis', 32nd Annual Meeting Australian Neuroscience Society, January 2012, Gold Coast, Australia (2012) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: King AE; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

2012King AE, Blizzard C, Mitew S, Dickson TC, 'Investigating the role of interneurons in neurological disease', DANDIS, January, 2012, Queensland, Australia (2012) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: King AE; Mitew S; Dickson TC

2012Southam K, Blizzard C, Vickers JC, Dickson TC, King AE, 'Modelling site specific excitotixicity in vitro', University of Tasmania Sharing Excellence in Research meeting, September 2012, Hobart, Australia (2012) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Southam K; Vickers JC; Dickson TC; King AE

2011Blizzard C, King AE, Hosie KA, Dickson TC, 'Modelling site-specific excitotoxicity in vivo', 22nd International Symposium on ALS/MND, November 2011, Sydney, Australia (2011) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: King AE; Hosie KA; Dickson TC

2011Hosie KA, King AE, Blizzard C, Vickers JC, Dickson TC, 'Modelling ALS pathology in vitro', 22nd Symposium on ALS/MND, November 2011, Sydney, Australia (2011) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Hosie KA; King AE; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

2011King AE, Hosie KA, Vickers JC, Blizzard C, Dickson TC, 'An in vitro investigation of the role of interneurons in the development of ALS', 22nd Symposium on ALS/MND, November 2011, Sydney, Australia (2011) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: King AE; Hosie KA; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

2010Blizzard CA, Chuckowree JA, King AE, Hosie KA, Chapman JA, et al., 'Focal damage to the neocortex induces dendritic structural plasticity', Australian Neuroscience Society/Australian Physiological Society, January, Sydney, Australia (2010) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Chuckowree JA; King AE; Hosie KA; Chapman JA; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

2010Blizzard CA, Chuckowree JA, King AE, Hosie KA, Chapman JA, et al., 'Focal damage to the neocortex induces dendritic structural plasticity', Proceedings of the Dementia, Ageing and Neurodegenerative Diseases Group Conference 2010, 30 January 2010, Sydney, Australia (2010) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Chuckowree JA; King AE; Hosie KA; Chapman JA; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

2009Blizzard CA, Chuckowree JA, King AE, McCormack GH, Chapman JA, et al., 'Acute neocortical injury induces axonal sprouting and dendritic remodelling', ASMR National Scientific Conference, Neurogenetics on the Apple Isle, February, Hobart (2009) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Chuckowree JA; King AE; McCormack GH; Chapman JA; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

2008Blizzard C, Chuckowree JA, McCormack GH, Chapman JA, King AE, et al., 'Delayed morphological alterations in a subpopulation of interneurons in the peri-wound region following focal damage to the adult rat neocortex', Neuroscience, 15-19 November 2008, Washington DC (2008) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Chuckowree JA; McCormack GH; Chapman JA; King AE; Vickers JC; Dickson TC

2008King AE, Dickson TC, Blizzard CA, Foster SS, Woodhouse A, et al., 'Neuron-glia interactions underlying axonal health in an in vitro spinal culture model of relevance to ALS', Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, 19th Symposium on ALS/MND, 3-5 November, Birmingham, pp. 85. (2008) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: King AE; Dickson TC; Foster SS; Woodhouse A; Chung RS; Vickers JC

2008Vickers JC, King AE, Blizzard CA, Woodhouse A, Foster SS, et al., 'Murine spinal neurons in vitro develop proximal axonal transport abnormalities and swellings that are similar to early axonal changes in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis', Society for Neuroscience, 15-19 November, Washington, DC (2008) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Vickers JC; King AE; Woodhouse A; Foster SS; Chung RS; Dickson TC

2007King AE, Dickson TC, Blizzard CA, Foster SS, Chung RS, et al., 'ALS-like axonal pathology in cultured spinal motor neurons', Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, 18th Symposium on ALS/MND, 1-3 December, Toronto, pp. 191. (2007) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: King AE; Dickson TC; Foster SS; Chung RS; West AK; Chuah MI; Vickers JC

2007King AE, Dickson TC, Blizzard CA, Foster SS, Chung RS, et al., 'ALS-like pathology in cultured spinal motor neurons following excitoxicity', IBRO International Conference, 12-17 July, Melbourne (2007) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: King AE; Dickson TC; Foster SS; Chung RS; West AK; Chuah MI; Vickers JC

2006Vickers JC, King AE, Dickson TC, Chung RS, Chuckowree JA, et al., 'In vitro models of the key pathological changes in axons associated with neurodegenerative disease and acquired brain injury', 4th Congress of Federation of Asian-Oceanain Neuroscience Societies, November, Hong Kong (2006) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Vickers JC; King AE; Dickson TC; Chung RS; Chuckowree JA; Haas MA; Staal JA; Woodhouse A; West AK; Chuah I; McCormack G

Grants & Funding

Dr Blizzard has shown great capacity to fund her research. In addition fellowship scholarships, she has received grant funding in excess of $290,000 from a range of nationally competitive granting schemes including the Brain Foundation (CIA (2014) - $35,000) and the Motor Neuron Disease Research Institute of Australia (CIA (2014) - $85,000).

Funding Summary

Number of grants

22

Total funding

$4,128,830

Projects

Do therapeutically targetable deficits in neuroplasticity drive Frontotemporal Dementia? (2019 - 2020)$75,000
Description
Deficits in neuroplasticity may be one of the earliest events in Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). Our studies have identified that TDP-43, a frequently aggregated protein in FTD specifically affects neuroplasticity at the dendrite spine in mouse models of FTD. Furthermore we have identified that this pathogenic mechanism is likely due to the translocation of TDP-43 into the cytoplasm. It is now time to unravel the role of mislocalised TDP-43 in neuroplasticity deficits that may drive FTD and perform vital pilot investigations to determine if we can modulate these circuitry deficits non-invasively using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We will address the hypothesis: Neuroplasticity deficits are an early disease causing event in FTD that can be modulated with TMS using novel mouse models and multiphoton live imaging. This project will be lead by Dr Catherine Blizzard in conjunction with Dr Kaylene Young, who will strategically use the Dementia Australia funding to unravel the earliest changes in neuroplasticity that may drive FTD and generate the pilot data necessary to provide evidence for a large-scale pre clinical trial investigating novel ways to ameliorate neuroplasticity deficits that characterises FTD.
Funding
Dementia Australia Research Foundation Ltd ($75,000)
Scheme
Grant - Project Grant Funding
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C; Young Kaylene; Lewis KE; Dickson TC
Period
2019 - 2020
Can estrogen protect against synaptic disturbances in ALS? (2019)$99,700
Description
Deficits in neuroplasticity may be one of the earliest events in Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). Our studies have identified that TDP-43, a frequently aggregated protein in FTD specifically affects neuroplasticity at the dendrite spine in mouse models of FTD. Furthermore we have identified that this pathogenic mechanism is likely due to the translocation of TDP-43 into the cytoplasm. It is now time to unravel the role of mislocalised TDP-43 in neuroplasticity deficits that may drive FTD and perform vital pilot investigations to determine if we can modulate these circuitry deficits non-invasively using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We will address the hypothesis: Neuroplasticity deficits are an early disease causing event in FTD that can be modulated with TMS using novel mouse models and multiphoton live imaging. This project will be lead by Dr Catherine Blizzard in conjunction with Dr Kaylene Young, who will strategically use the Dementia Australia funding to unravel the earliest changes in neuroplasticity that may drive FTD and generate the pilot data necessary to provide evidence for a large-scale pre clinical trial investigating novel ways to ameliorate neuroplasticity deficits that characterises FTD
Funding
Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia Inc ($99,700)
Scheme
Grant - Innovator
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C; Dickson TC
Year
2019
Neuronal excitability in ALS a focus on TDP43 mislocalisation (2019 - 2021)$11,250
Description
In the vast majority of ALS cases, pathological movement of a protein called TDP-43 from the cell nucleus into the outer parts of the cell occurs. The pathological mechanism of how mislocalised TDP-43 causes motor neuron death is not known.. My PhD project hypothesizes that the presence of TDP-43 in the cytoplasm affects the activity of neurons, which eventually causes their death. I will be identifying if alterations in activity are one of the earliest changes as a consequence of TDP-43 misprocessing and if we can potentially prevent this pathogenic mechanism from driving the onset and progression of ALS.
Funding
Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia Inc ($11,250)
Scheme
Scholarship-PhD Top-Up Grant
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C
Period
2019 - 2021
HDAC6 inhibition to rescue axon degeneration in ALS (2019 - 2022)$997,046
Description
We will test an HDAC6 inhibitor in models of ALS. We will investigate the HDA6 inhibitor activity of novel compounds
Funding
FightMND ($997,046)
Scheme
Grant - Drug Development Grant
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
King AE; Cook AL; Guven N; Van Den Bosch L; Dickson TC; Blizzard C; Vickers JC; Smith JA; Alty JE; Leung JY; Perry SE
Period
2019 - 2022
The pathological effects of Alzheimer's disease on axons (2018 - 2020)$90,000
Description
Proposed PhD project investigating the role of amyoloid upon axonal dystrophies in the progression of Alzheimers disease
Funding
Dementia Australia Research Foundation Ltd ($90,000)
Scheme
Grant-Scholarship
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Young Kaylene; Blizzard C; Cullen CL; Sutherland BA
Period
2018 - 2020
The Control of Neuroplasticity in the Brain (2017 - 2019)$372,000
Description
Neuroplasticity describes the brains ability to remodel and make new circuits. This capacity, which is vital for all cognitive function is diminished as we age. Thus it is imperative to determine the mechanisms of neuroplasticity and understand how and why it changes throughout life. It is not know how both excitatory and inhibitory neurons contribute to neuroplasticity and how these dynamic alterations are controlled. This proposal will usesophisticated in vitro platforms; novel transgenic mouse crosses; in vivo live imaging and targeted high-coverage quantitative synaptosome protein comparisons to establish a program of research that will determine how neuroplasticity is controlled in both excitatory and inhibitory neurons.
Funding
Australian Research Council ($372,000)
Scheme
Fellowship-Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C
Period
2017 - 2019
Grant Reference
DE170101514
TDP-43 Misprocessing drives synaptic deficits that leads to ALS (2017)$249,861
Description
Disturbances in neuronal synapses may be an early event that potentially leads to the neuronal dysfunction and death that causes Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Mutations in the protein, transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) causes a genetic form of ALS. TDP-43 has recently been shown to be involved in maintaining synapses between neurons; regulating the number and maturation of synapses. We will investigate how dysfunction TDP-43 protein alters synapses and determine how these synaptic changes can lead to the neuronal death that characterises ALS.
Funding
Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia Inc ($249,861)
Scheme
Grant-Betty Laidlaw
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C; Woodhouse A; Walker A
Year
2017
Preclinical Development of Neuropeptide Y for the Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (2017 - 2020)$936,572
Description
Motor Neuron Disease (MND) is a rapidly progressing neurodegenerative disease. There are no cures and no effective treatments for MND, with people diagnosed having a median survival of only three years from symptom onset. Not knowing the cause of MND or how it progresses through the CNS have been immense barriers to the development of effective therapeutics. We have reached a critical time in MND research. Our research team has been dedicated to researching the mechanism of MND for the last ten years. We are now poised to transition my teams research efforts from determining the cause of this disease to using this knowledge to develop treatments. A critical pathway that our work and others have shown is key to MND is altered network excitability and subsequent excitotoxicity in the cortex. We have recent published and preliminary data that identifies that a critical potential point of intervention in this pathway is via the subclass of inhibitory cells that express neuropeptide Y (NPY). The overarching Aim for this Cure for MND Translational Research Grant is to now target this pathway to develop a treatment. By performing this world-first preclinical trial we will reveal further aspects of disease pathogenesis. Positive outcomes from these trials will identify a candidate compounds for progression to a human trial for the treatment of MND.
Funding
FightMND ($936,572)
Scheme
Grant-Translational Research Grant
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Dickson TC; Blizzard C; Pebay A; Walker A; Blizzard CL; Rogers M; Hewitt A; Zosky GR
Period
2017 - 2020
Menzies Institute for Medical Research Community Research Fellow (2016 - 2018)$420,000
Description
This is a three year fellowship provided by donations to Menzies.Mark Bennett will advise once candidate accepted offer.
Funding
Menzies Institute for Medical Research ($420,000)
Scheme
Donation - Institutional
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C
Period
2016 - 2018
Investigating synaptic dysfunction in ALS (2016)$99,767
Description
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is incurable, caused by the death of motor neurons in the cortex and spinal cord. There is a desperate need to discover new therapeutic ways to stop this neuron death, ideally targeted at early changes in the disease to prevent the majority of cell loss. There is growing evidence that neuronal dysfunction in the cortex is occurring in ALS well before symptoms present. Disturbances in neuronal synapses may be one such early event that potentially leads to neuronal dysfunction and then death. Changes in synapses can have serious effects on neurons activity levels and if not controlled can cause neuron death. The RNA binding protein TDP-43 is likely to play a critical role in ALS as inappropriate localization of this protein is frequent in the disease and mutations in TDP-43 causes a genetic form of ALS. We have found that TDP-43 involved in maintaining synapses between neurons; regulating the number and maturation of spines. It is feasible that an early disease-causing event in ALS may be changes to synapses. We will investigate how different mutations of the TDP-43 protein determine the number and composition of spines as it happens in upper motor neurons of the cortex. This novel research program addresses an important gap in the current understanding of how synaptic changes can lead to neuron death in ALS and may open up a new target for drug intervention in this devastating disease.
Funding
Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia Inc ($99,767)
Scheme
Grant-In-Aid
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C; Dickson TC
Year
2016
SYNAPTIC DYSFUNCTION: AN EARLY MECHANISM OF TDP-43 PATHOGENESIS IN ALS? (2015)$94,848
Description
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating disease that is caused by the death of motor neurons. There is a desperate need to discover new therapeutic ways to stop this neuron death, ideally targeted at early changes in the disease to prevent the majority of cell loss. Disturbances in neuronal synapses may be one such early event that potentially leads to neuronal dysfunction and then death. Synapses are specialised structures that allow neurons to communicate with each other. Changes in synapses can have serious effects on neurons activity levels and if not controlled can cause neuron death. Mutations in the protein, transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) causes a genetic form of ALS. TDP-43 has recently been shown to be involved in maintaining synapses between neurons; regulating the number and maturation of spines. It is feasible that an early disease-causing event in ALS may be changes to synapses. This project will investigate how different mutations of the TDP-43 protein determines the number and composition of synapses in vitro using specialised compartmentalised primary neuronal cultures. This novel research program addresses an important gap in the current understanding of how synaptic changes can lead to neuron death in ALS and may open up a new target for drug intervention in this devastating disease.
Funding
Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia Inc ($94,848)
Scheme
Grant-In-Aid
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C; Dickson TC
Year
2015
Scholarship: TDP-43 Synaptic Alterations in Frontotemporal Dementia (2015 - 2017)$52,500
Description
Changes in synapses can have serious effects on neurons and if notcontrolled can cause neuron death. TDP-43 has been shown to affect the number and maturation of synapses. It is feasible that an early disease-causing event in FTD may be changes to synapses.Emily will determine how TDP-43 changes lead to specific pre and post synaptic alterations in vitro using primary neurons.
Funding
Dementia Australia Research Foundation Ltd ($52,500)
Scheme
Grant-Scholarship
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C
Period
2015 - 2017
Dendritic spine alterations in TDP-43 aggregated Frontotemporal dementia: a novel therapeutic target? (2014 - 2015)$110,000
Funding
Dementia Australia Research Foundation Ltd ($110,000)
Scheme
Fellowship-Postdoctoral Fellowship in Dementia
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C
Period
2014 - 2015
Dendritic spine alterations in TDP-43 aggregated frontotemporal dementia: a novel therapeutic target? (2014)$35,000
Description
Frontotemporal dementia is a devastating disease affecting primarily the frontal and temporal part of the brain. It is the second most common form of dementia in people under the age of 65. In FTD proteins that play important functional roles in neurons inappropriately aggregate in the neuronal cyoplasm. This causes the neurons to stop working properly and eventually die. One protein that has been identified to do this is the transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43). The function of the protein is unknown. Understanding its function could provide clues as to what is causing FTD.
Funding
Brain Foundation ($35,000)
Scheme
Grant-Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C; Dickson TC
Year
2014
Synaptic alterations in ALS: A novel therapeutic target? (2014)$84,971
Description
This novel research program addresses an important gap in the new current understanding of how synaptic changes can lead to neuron death in ALS and may open up a new target for drug intervention in this devastating disease.
Funding
Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia Inc ($84,971)
Scheme
Grant-In-Aid
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C; Dickson TC
Year
2014
Targeted Axonal Protection: A Treatment for Motor Neuron Disease ? (2013)$20,000
Funding
University of Tasmania ($20,000)
Scheme
Grant-Research Enhancement (REGS)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C
Year
2013
2013: 24th International symposium on ALS/MND, Italy 5-8 Dec 2013 (2013)$2,500
Funding
University of Tasmania ($2,500)
Scheme
Grant-Conference Support Scheme
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C
Year
2013
Axonal protection in ALS (2013)$78,307
Funding
Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia Inc ($78,307)
Scheme
Grant-In-Aid
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
King AE; Blizzard C; Dickson TC
Year
2013
Blizzard MND Association Newsletter (2012 - 2015)$8,000
Funding
Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia Inc ($8,000)
Scheme
Consultancy
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C
Period
2012 - 2015
Determining the mechanism underlying post-operative cognitive decline (2012)$6,508
Funding
Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation ($6,508)
Scheme
Grant-Starter
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Terblanche N; Blizzard C; King AE; Dickson TC; Skinner MW; Vickers JC
Year
2012
Investigating the cause of site specific excitotoxicity in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (2011 - 2013)$225,000
Funding
Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia Inc ($225,000)
Scheme
Fellowship-Bill Gole MND Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blizzard C
Period
2011 - 2013
PhD Scholarship: Cathy Blizzard (2007 - 2009)$60,000
Funding
Masonic Centenary Medical Research Foundation ($60,000)
Scheme
Scholarship
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Vickers JC; Blizzard C
Period
2007 - 2009

Research Supervision

Dr Blizzard co-supervises PhD (two current students) and honours students (one current, one completion- first class), has taught tutorials/practical demonstrations for the School of Medicine, University of Tasmania and various high school groups and served as the elected president of the Student Committee 2009-2011.

Current

7

Completed

5

Current

DegreeTitleCommenced
PhDInvestigating the Influence of Risk Factors on the Cellular Changes After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury2015
PhDDifferential Vulnerability of Neuronal Subtypes to Alpha-Synuclein Pathogenesis in Synucleinopathies2017
PhDInvestigating the Excitability of Neurons with TDP-43 Pathology in Models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)2018
PhDHow Do Myelinating Cells Alter Brain Circuits to Facilitate Learning?2018
PhDInhibitory Regulation of Motor Neurons: A new target mechanism for MND2018
PhDInvestigating the Role of TDP-43 in Synaptic Dysfunction in ALS2019
PhDInterneurons in ALS and FTD: an insight into dementia, motor network failure and neurodegenerative disease2020

Completed

DegreeTitleCompleted
PhDCellular Dysfunction in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Investigating the role of TDP-43
Candidate: Tongcui Jiang
2019
PhDNeuroplasticity of the Dendritic Spine: Early dysfunction in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Candidate: Emily Elizabeth Handley
2019
PhDTargeting Microtubules in the Distal Neuromuscular Circuitry to Improve Outcomes in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Candidate: Jayden Andrew Clark
2017
PhDInterneuron Dysfunction in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Candidate: Rosemary Maree Clark
2017
PhDInjury Induced Plasticity in Primary Neuronal Culture and the Mature Brain
Candidate: Mariana Del Valle Brizuela
2016