Spotlight on Kerry Leggett

Kerry Leggett is a graduate research assistant in the Brain Plasticity Research group at the Perron Institute and The University of Western Australia. Her research interests are in the fields of brain plasticity, epigenetics, consciousness, sleep and mental health.

Kerry has five years’ experience working within the academic research environment. Since joining the Perron institute this year, her main role has been translating findings from preclinical studies of brain stimulation into a clinical trial setting for people with depression. This work of applying novel protocols for repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is led by Associate Professor Jenny Rodger and is being conducted in the Perron Institute clinic.

In people with major depression, the use of rTMS is an alternative treatment where medication is ineffective. According to the World Health Organisation, 40 per cent of people requiring treatment for major depression are drug-resistant. The Rodger lab is investigating new parameters to complement current clinical treatment.

Kerry previously worked in the Auditory Laboratory in UWA’s School of Human Sciences and has recently published some of her findings on brain stimulation and tinnitus.

As both a mature age student and single parent, Kerry decided to return to university to pursue her passions, and while still working part time, completed her Bachelor of Science at UWA in 2016, majoring in neuroscience and philosophy.

Kerry says she loves gaining new experience in the field of neuroscience and expanding her understanding of the way everything fits together from a bigger picture perspective.

“Where I am now is the product of a lifelong commitment to following my curiosity and I’m open to where that journey leads.”

Kerry also loves electronics and the variety of technical aspects her role provides.

“I’m passionate about understanding how things work. I enjoy troubleshooting during the set-up phase of experiments and commissioning new equipment. You will often find me tinkering with equipment to fix or optimise it.”

In her spare time, Kerry is also a musician, singing original songs and playing the guitar. She performed at the Nannup Folk Festival as a 2018 emerging artist and WAMFest, the annual WA music festival.