Dr Jessica Moretti, part of the Brain Plasticity Research group at the Perron Institute and UWA, has conferred her PhD via UWA and is expanding one of her research projects.

Dr Moretti’s PhD investigated fundamental elements of non-invasive brain stimulation with the long-term goal of improving treatment options for people.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a brain stimulation technique used to treat several neurological disorders. How rTMS works, and why it works for some people and not others needs to be better understood.

“My PhD explored fundamental biological changes following rTMS in multiple research models to help further our understanding of how rTMS works and whether stimulation at lower intensities can induce biological and behavioural effects,” Dr Moretti said.

“I was able to look at several different preclinical models, to better understand the widespread effects of non-invasive brain stimulation.

“The overall goal of the lab is to improve rTMS treatment options for people living with neurological conditions and mental health disorders including clinical depression.

“We hope that increased understanding of rTMS can be translated into clinical benefit for patients via improved rTMS treatment protocols.”

For her PhD, Dr Moretti published three research papers and two literature reviews, mainly in Q1 (top quartile) journals, and was involved in two other research papers.

Dr Moretti’s supervisors were Associate Professor Jennifer Rodger (head of Brain Plasticity at Perron Institute and UWA), Emeritus Professor Alan Harvey (UWA) and Associate Professor Troy Visser (UWA).

“I’m grateful to my supervisors and everyone in the Brain Plasticity lab over the past few years, they’ve made my PhD experience an enjoyable one. I’ve learnt so much from them and received great support.

“During my PhD, I’ve been able to try my hand at different techniques and experiences which has been very rewarding. I look forward to developing my skills as a researcher.

“Currently, I’m continuing one of my research projects looking at how rTMS may modulate mitochondria (structures within cells) with Professor Rodger, thanks to the support of the Bryant Stokes Neurological Research Fund.

“I enjoy being in the lab and am grateful for the opportunity and freedom to develop and execute a novel research idea.”