Anna Leonard

Dr Anna Leonard

Senior Lecturer

School of Biomedicine

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Dr Leonard is a research active Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology, Adelaide Medical School (AMS). After completion of her PhD in Dec, 2012 (Dean’s commendation; University Doctoral Medal), she undertook local (UofA; Neil Sachse Foundation Fellowship) and international (University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA) post-doctoral training, gaining research expertise in various animal models of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). In 2016, she returned to Adelaide (RAH ECR Fellowship) to begin establishing a novel porcine model of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), a major arm of her research program. In 2017, Dr Leonard was appointed a continuing academic and began further establishing her research within Adelaide. She currently heads the Spinal Cord Injury Research group in the School of Biomedicine and has established a national profile within the neurotrauma field as an emerging early career researcher. With 300-400 new cases of SCI in Australia each year, resulting in a financial burden of >$2billion annually and even greater personal loss, there is a real need for research within this field to generate meaningful improved outcomes for people living with SCI. Dr Leonard's research is focused on understanding the acute outcomes following SCI, particularly surrounding the relationship between oedema, haemorrhage and raised intrathecal pressure (ITP), and the role of neuroinflammation in both acute and chronic outcomes.

I lead the spinal cord injury research group (SCIRG), within the School of Biomedicine. The SCIRG is focused on understanding the secondary injury processes that occur post-SCI and how these can be targeted to improve outcome. We have recently developed a clinically relevant large animal model of SCI, the first in Australia, which allows us to investigate more clinically relevant outcome measures and potentially improve translation into the clinic. We also work with small animal models to help understand the secondary injury processes post-SCI, with a particular focus on neuroinflammation, oedema and pressure. We are also interested in understanding how these processes can impact on chronic outcomes such as cognition and neuropathic pain. 

Current Projects Focus on:

  • Understanding how cognitive deficits develop chronically post-SCI
  • Evaluating peripheral stimulation as a novel treatment post-SCI
  • The impact of ageing and associated neuroinflammatory response following traumatic spinal cord injury
  • The role of concomitant brain injury on the development of neuropathic pain post-SCI.

These projects (or components of) are available for third year research placement (Sem 1 start only), honours (Sem 1 start only), masters and PhD students.

 

My research program has been funded by the following grant schemes:

  • Lifetime Support Authority (CIB)
  • Morton Cure Paralysis Fund (CIA)
  • Brain Foundation (CIA)
  • Neurosurgical Research Foundation (CIA)
  • Conquer Paralysis Now (CIA)
  • Depuy Synthes (CIC)
  • UAB Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (CIA)
  • Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Committee Early Career Fellowship (CIA)
  • Neil Sachse Foundation Fellowship (CIA)

Dr Leonard teaches into 7 courses across Health and Medical Science programs, focused on neuroscience and research skills, as well as the respiratory system and reproductive system.

Dr Leonard is Course Coordinator for the following courses:

  • HLTH SC 1002 - Create. Communicate. Connect with Health and Medical Sciences (Sem 1)
  • PATHOL 3200 - Neurological Diseases

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 Principal Supervisor Evaluating the efficacy of peripheral nerve stimulation via a novel graft antenna to reduce neuroinflammation following traumatic spinal cord injury Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ryan Dorrian
    2021 Co-Supervisor Preclinical evaluation of the novel therapeutic compound APP96-110 in a ferret model of traumatic brain injury. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Justin Leigh Krieg
    2021 Co-Supervisor Characterising cerebrospinal fluid flow and oedema development in response to traumatic spinal cord injury in a pre-clinical model Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Madeleine Amy Bessen
    2021 Principal Supervisor Evaluating the role of concomitant traumatic brain injury on the development of neuropathic pain following traumatic spinal cord injury Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Keziah Jane Skein
    2020 Principal Supervisor The role of neuroinflammation in mediating cognitive deficits following traumatic spinal cord injury: Can Fyn kinase inhibition break the link? Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Kavi Sivasankar
    2019 Principal Supervisor Developing and Characterising a Survival Model of Thoracic Contusion Spinal Cord Injury in Pigs Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Christine Gayen
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2017 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Bridging the Gap in Clinical Translation: Optimising an Ovine Model of Traumatic Brain Injury Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Jessica May Sharkey
    2016 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Targeting Cerebral Oedema and Elevated Intracranial Pressure in a Preclinical Model of Ischaemic Stroke Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Annabel Jain Sorby-Adams
    2013 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Expression of Substance P and the Tachykinin NK1 Receptor in the Medullary Serotonergic Network of the Human Infant during Development: Implications for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Fiona Maree Bright
  • Presentation

    Date Topic Presented at Institution Country
    2021 - ongoing Developing and Characterising a Porcine Survival Model of Thoracic Contusion Spinal Cord Injury Annual Scientific Meeting Spine Society of Australia
    2021 - ongoing Developing and Characterising a Porcine Survival Model of Thoracic Contusion Spinal Cord Injury Florey Postgraduate Research Conference Florey Medical Foundation, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, The University of Adelaide
    2020 - ongoing Developing and Characterising a Porcine Survival Model of Thoracic Contusion Spinal Cord Injury South Australian Annual Scientific Meeting Australian Society for Medical Research
    2019 - ongoing Developing a Porcine Survival Model of Thoracic Contusion Spinal Cord Injury Adelaide Spinal Research Symposium
    2018 - ongoing Methodology for Measuring Intrathecal Pressure Changes Following Spinal Cord Injury Australian Neurotrauma Workshop
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83130671
  • Email: anna.leonard@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Helen Mayo North, floor 2
  • Org Unit: Medical Sciences

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