Returning as a visitor to the Perron Institute from the United States, Dr Alesha Heath gave a fascinating account of her Alzheimer’s research at Stanford University.  

Dr Heath is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford School of Medicine, and the Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center at Veterans Affairs Palo Alto, California. 

She completed her PhD from the University of Western Australia and Sorbonne University (2019) as part of the Brain Plasticity Research group (UWA and Perron Institute) led by Associate Professor Jenny Rodger.  

In her talk titled ‘From prediction to treatment: A transdisciplinary investigation of Alzheimer’s disease’, Dr Heath outlined her novel approach to investigating the roles of memory, sleep and genetics in Alzheimer’s.  

Dr Heath’s research to understand the causes of Alzheimer’s is focused on identifying potential biomarkers and investigating the mechanisms of neuromodulatory therapies, specifically repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).   

As well as outlining her research interests, Dr Heath spoke about her experiences as a postdoctoral scholar in the U.S. and some of her exciting collaborations.  

Since taking up her postdoctoral position in 2019, she has continued to investigate mechanisms of rTMS in preclinical models of Alzheimer’s. Key areas of inquiry are learning, memory and sleep and she has been involved also in implementing rTMS treatment for patients with mild cognitive impairment.  

Her recent work explores the association between a specific genetic variation in Alzheimer’s and sleep disturbances.  

While at Stanford, Dr Heath has received the Stanford Alzheimer’s disease Research Center Scholar Award (2022) and the Stanford Aging and Ethnogeriatrics Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center Pilot Program Award (2019).  

Her talk at the Perron Institute was part of the Bryant Stokes Seminar Series named in honour of Emeritus Professor Stokes AO. It was facilitated by PhD student Maitri Tomar, also part of A/Professor Rodger’s group. 

Read the article about Dr Heath heading to the US in 2019 here.