About Dr Sandra Cooper
I am constantly inspired, challenged and fulfilled by my job. I am greatly motivated by our muscular dystrophy patients, and our unique ability to study their muscle, muscle cells and disease-causing mutations as a key to unlock the functional role of dysferlin.
Dr Sandra Cooper is a cell biologist and protein biochemist who leads the “Dysferlin and Membrane Repair” team within the Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research (INMR) at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. The INMR is headed by Professor Kathryn North, who is Clinical Geneticist and Research Scientist. The INMR has around 24 laboratory-based researchers, an umbrella for seven research groups; Actinin and Human Athletic Performance, Dysferlin and Membrane repair, Congenital Myopathy, Kids Heart Research, Clinical Research and Trials, Neuroinflammation, Neurosurgery. There is significant transfer of expertise, both technical and intellectual, between groups, providing a dynamic and productive research environment.
Qualifications and Appointments: Dr Cooper obtained a Bachelor of Science with first class honours (Biochemistry) from the University of Otago (NZ, 1991). She completed PhD (1998) and postdoctoral training (1999) at the University of London (UK), relocating to Sydney for further postdoctoral training within the Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research (INMR, from 2000). Dr Cooper developed her own research group, leading the Dystrophy and Membrane Repair team within the INMR, with award of a Conjoint Senior Lectureship appointment within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney (2005).
Research Overview and Expertise: Dr Cooper is a cell biologist and protein biochemist with a background in neuroscience, protein trafficking and muscle research. Her research interest focuses upon understanding the mechanism of human muscle disorders, applying her training in the basic sciences, and her access to patient-derived material, to derive and study cell culture and animal models of human disease. Dr Cooper's research group has broad expertise in cell biology, protein biochemistry, vesicle trafficking, muscle pathology, cardiac physiology, genetics and bioinformatics.
Dr Cooper uses tissue culture models to address clinical questions regarding the mechanism of disease, exploiting her access to patient-derived material and disease-causing mutations.