Each year the Campbell Award is presented to a member of the Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS) who makes the most outstanding contribution to neuroscience in their first five postdoctoral years.
With past recipients including Professor Glenda Halliday, NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, former ANS President and leader of the Brain and Mind Centre's Forefront Ageing and Neurodegeneration research group, we are confident Susanna has a bright future ahead in neuroscience.
"Susanna’s research focuses on the development of neurophysiological and functional assessment measures of nerve and cognitive function, across a spectrum of toxic, inflammatory and inherited neurological disorders.
She commenced her research in electro-physiology at the Australian National University, completing honours at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, investigating cholinergic modulation of excitability in the prefrontal cortex. The calibre of her research was identified early and she graduated with the University medal.
Susanna subsequently translated her neuroscience knowledge into human and patient research, commencing her PhD studies in my clinical unit in 2007, jointly based at the Institute of Neurological Sciences, Prince of Wales Hospital and Neuroscience Research Australia. Susanna quickly adapted from a wetlab environment to the complexities of patient involvement, many of whom were battling for survival. It was testament to her caring approach that patients continued to drop by to visit Susanna well after they had recovered from life threatening conditions, to provide personal and family updates.
Susanna graduated with her PhD from the University of New South Wales in 2010 with universally glowing reviews from international referees. Her research identified a novel mechanism of nerve dysfunction in oxaliplatin-treated patients, which was published in leading journals including the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Brain. By establishing the feasibility of neurophysiological techniques in the oncology setting, these studies provided a platform for significant international collaborations, supported initially as an NHMRC Overseas Biomedical (CJ Martin) Fellow at the Institute of Neurology, University College London (2011-2013). Susanna was ranked the top applicant in Australia for this prestigious award, and as a result was also selected as the RG Menzies Biomedical Fellow by the Menzies Foundation.
Since returning to Australia in 2014, Susanna has been awarded >$5 million in competitive research funding for clinical neuroscience projects, including co-lead CI on a Cancer Institute NSW Translational Program Grant (2015-2020) and lead CI on an NHMRC project grant (2015-2019) to examine clinical translation, assessment strategies, treatment and risk factors for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.
Most recently, Susanna was awarded an NHMRC RD Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellowship to further support her research into risk factors and treatments for neurological disease. Her research output has been prodigious, having already published 65 peer-reviewed manuscripts across the highest impact neuroscience, medical and clinical oncology journals.
Susanna’s research has been underpinned by a clinical translational focus, seeking to implement novel assessment tools into clinical practice and clinical trials, with great success. As part of her translational program grant she has established a national network of centres, with a further aim to introduce a framework to guide policy for current and future studies. A strong focus has related to the clinical application of nerve excitability techniques, with a particular focus on chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, a common and distressing complication in cancer survivors.
Her contribution to neuroscience is further illustrated by the growing research program that has been driven from her research and advocacy. In addition to her scientific achievements, Susanna manages an ever increasing realm of commitments including raising a young family in Sydney. Susanna’s trajectory has been further recognised through appointment as Senior Lecturer in Physiology at the University of Sydney, based at the Brain and Mind Centre."