The University of Sydney
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The Leslie Rich Scholarship for Dementia Research 2017 Awardee

An Truong


Ms An Truong is the 2017 Recipient of the Leslie Rich Scholarship for Dementia Research. Ms Truong is a current PhD Candidate in the Regenerative Neuroscience Group at the Brain and Mind Centre, School of Medicine.

With a background in neuroanatomical and molecular biology, Ms Truong has developed interest in a special brain phenomenon termed ‘neurogenesis’. During her Honours project, Ms Truong investigated how this process of persistent neuronal generation in the adult human brain is disrupted in Parkinson’s disease. After completion of a Bachelor of Science with Honours, Ms Truong joins the Regenerative Neuroscience Group, bringing her understanding of neurogenesis to their current research looking at a novel stem cell from the human skin.



Her doctoral project “MIGRATORY CHARACTERISTICS OF SKIN-DERIVED NEURAL PRECURSORS AS A NOVEL REGENERATIVE THERAPY FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE” will provide important preclinical data to facilitate the translation of a novel skin-derived neural precursor (SKN) technology. Stem cell replacement therapy presents a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, halting and even reversing the dementia syndrome by replenishing depleted neuronal pools and restoring damaged brain circuits. Preliminary study showed that transplanted SKNs become functionally active, sufficient to reverse memory deficits in the treated rodents, back to a level equivalent with young healthy adult rats. These exciting results suggest that SKN may have great potential as a patient-specific, disease-modifying treatment aimed at the regeneration of depleted brain circuits in patients with Alzheimer’s.

Following her PhD, Ms Truong plans to continue research in the field of neurodegenerative medicine, focusing on translational research. An is particularly interested in projects with strong collaborations between technology and basic science, looking at disease-modifying treatments for dementia and improving the quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Outside her academic interests, An is passionate about promoting neuroscience to the wider community and regularly participate in professional activities such as the annual Brain Awareness Program organized by the Australian Neuroscience Society.

The Leslie Rich Scholarship will assist Ms Truong with costs associated with setting up a highly-advanced immunohistochemistry experiment for her research, and to attend the International Society of Stem Cell Research annual meeting in Boston, USA in June 2017 where she will make a presentation.