Welcome research fellow Samantha Winter

Samantha Winter, a University of Notre Dame research fellow, has recently joined the Perron Institute’s Neurodegenerative Disorders Research group led by Dr Ryan Anderton.

Developing therapeutic agents for neurodegenerative diseases such as motor neurone disease and Parkinson’s is her research focus. This involves investigating the mechanisms underlying neuronal loss and deterioration in neurodegenerative diseases, so new preventative therapies can be found.

Using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, Samantha intends to create robust preclinical models which simulate disease to help with advancement of early drug testing. iPSCs can be derived from skin cells and reprogrammed into any type of cell for therapeutic purposes.

The relationship between gut health, the immune system and the brain is another area of research interest.

Samantha returned home to Perth after recently completing her PhD in immunology at the Institute for Molecular Medicine at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. Her PhD examined the role of microRNA (regulates gene expression) in the development and function of T cells, a vital component of the immune system.

This year, Samantha published significant findings with her PhD supervisor Professor Andreas Krueger and his team in the journal PLOS Biology. Their paper is titled: “miR-181a/b-1 controls thymic selection of Treg cells and tunes their suppressive capacity”.

Samantha completed her Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Murdoch University and her Honours year at Telethon Kids Institute before heading overseas to continue her postgraduate studies. At the Perron Institute, she is looking forward to making discoveries by taking an interdisciplinary research approach, working with neuroscientists, geneticists and clinicians.