Julien Bensalem

Julien Bensalem

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Dr Julien Bensalem is a post-doctoral researcher in the Lysosomal Health in Ageing group, Hopwood Centre for Neurobiology, Lifelong Health Theme, at SAHMRI and an affiliate senior lecturer with the Adelaide Medical School at the University of Adelaide.

Dr Julien Bensalem completed his PhD specialised in Nutrition in 2014 at the University of Bordeaux, France, studying the effect of polyphenols on the age-related cognitive decline.

Following his PhD, he worked as research project manager in a French company developing new nutritional plant extracts for different health applications, while pursuing his research on nutrition and cognition as a postdoc in the Laboratory of Nutrition and Integrative Neuroscience in Bordeaux, France.

Dr Bensalem joined the Lysosomal Health in Ageing, Hopwood Centre for Neurobiology at SAHMRI, Australia, in 2018 as a post-doctoral researcher under Dr Tim Sargeant supervision. In his current role he investigates how nutrition can be used to tackle dementia by improving autophagy, and how autophagy is involved in other age-related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for 60-70% of the 50 million cases of dementia around the world. Although billions of dollars have been spent on developing therapies, there is still no treatment available.

Alzheimer’s disease leads to the progressive formation and spread of abnormal and toxic material in the brain, which impairs its function and causes dementia. Our group has found that autophagy, our cell's "self-cleaning" system, can destroy this toxic material and that we can up-regulate autophagy in preclinical models using drugs or restricting certain nutrients in the diet.

As part of my research, I have developed the first blood test to measure autophagic activity in humans. This is an important step forward to translate our preclinical knowledge about autophagy to the clinic. I am currently studying how autophagy responds to nutritional interventions in humans and how autophagy behaves in relation to age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease. I also use laboratory models to determine how autophagy changes in the brain in response to nutrition and age- and obesity-related damage.

My overarching research aim is to develop new treatment strategies that protect autophagy cleaning ability in the brain of people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.


Student projects are available within our group. Please contact julien.bensalem@sahmri.com if you are interested.

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2022 Carosi, J. M., Fourrier, C., Bensalem, J., & Sargeant, T. J. (2022). The mTOR–lysosome axis at the centre of ageing. FEBS Open Bio, 12(4), 739-757.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS5 Europe PMC2
    2022 Whyte, L. S., Fourrier, C., Hassiotis, S., Lau, A. A., Trim, P. J., Hein, L. K., . . . Sargeant, T. J. (2022). Lysosomal gene Hexb displays haploinsufficiency in a knock-in mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. IBRO Neuroscience Reports, 12, 131-141.
    DOI Scopus2
    2022 Chaudhary, R., Liu, B., Bensalem, J., Sargeant, T. J., Page, A. J., Wittert, G. A., . . . Heilbronn, L. K. (2022). Intermittent fasting activates markers of autophagy in mouse liver, but not muscle from mouse or humans. Nutrition, 101, 111662.
    2022 Vidanapathirana, A. K., Goyne, J. M., Williamson, A. E., Pullen, B. J., Chhay, P., Sandeman, L., . . . Bursill, C. A. (2022). Biological Sensing of Nitric Oxide in Macrophages and Atherosclerosis Using a Ruthenium-Based Sensor. Biomedicines, 10(8), 1807.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1 Europe PMC1
    2022 Bensalem, J., Heilbronn, L. K., Gore, J. R., Hutchison, A. T., Sargeant, T. J., & Fourrier, C. (2022). The Break-Fast study protocol: a single arm pre-post study to measure the effect of a protein-rich breakfast on autophagic flux in fasting healthy individuals. BMC Nutrition, 8(1), 120-1-120-7.
    2021 Fourrier, C., Bryksin, V., Hattersley, K., Hein, L. K., Bensalem, J., & Sargeant, T. J. (2021). Comparison of chloroquine-like molecules for lysosomal inhibition and measurement of autophagic flux in the brain. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 534, 107-113.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS3 Europe PMC1
    2021 Klionsky, D. J., Abdel-Aziz, A. K., Abdelfatah, S., Abdellatif, M., Abdoli, A., Abel, S., . . . Aurelian, L. (2021). Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition)<sup>1</sup>. Autophagy, 17(1), 1-382.
    DOI Scopus724 WoS368 Europe PMC532
    2021 Bensalem, J., Fourrier, C., Hein, L. K., Hassiotis, S., Proud, C. G., & Sargeant, T. J. (2021). Inhibiting mTOR activity using AZD2014 increases autophagy in the mouse cerebral cortex. Neuropharmacology, 190, 15 pages.
    DOI Scopus5 WoS5 Europe PMC2
    2021 Hattersley, K. J., Carosi, J. M., Hein, L. K., Bensalem, J., & Sargeant, T. J. (2021). PICALM regulates cathepsin D processing and lysosomal function. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 570, 103-109.
    DOI Scopus2 WoS1 Europe PMC1
    2021 Lynn, M. A., Eden, G., Ryan, F. J., Bensalem, J., Wang, X., Blake, S. J., . . . Lynn, D. J. (2021). The composition of the gut microbiota following early-life antibiotic exposure affects host health and longevity in later life. Cell Reports, 36(8), 20 pages.
    DOI Scopus12 WoS9 Europe PMC8
    2021 Sargeant, T. J., & Bensalem, J. (2021). Human autophagy measurement: an underappreciated barrier to translation. Trends in Molecular Medicine, 27(12), 1091-1094.
    DOI Scopus2 WoS2 Europe PMC2
    2020 Bensalem, J., Hattersley, K. J., Hein, L. K., Tong Teong, X., Carosi, J. M., Hassiotis, S., . . . Sargeant, T. J. (2020). Measurement of autophagic flux in humans: an optimized method for blood samples.. Autophagy, 17(10), 3238-3255.
    DOI Scopus10 WoS11 Europe PMC9
    2019 Bensalem, J., Dudonné, S., Etchamendy, N., Pellay, H., Amadieu, C., Gaudout, D., . . . Pallet, V. (2019). Polyphenols from Grape and Blueberry Improve Episodic Memory in Healthy Elderly with Lower Level of Memory Performance: A Bicentric Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study. Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 74(7), 996-1007.
    DOI Scopus46 WoS40 Europe PMC21
    2018 Lefèvre-Arbogast, S., Gaudout, D., Bensalem, J., Letenneur, L., Dartigues, J. F., Hejblum, B. P., . . . Samieri, C. (2018). Pattern of polyphenol intake and the long-term risk of dementia in older persons. Neurology, 90(22), e1979-e1988.
    DOI Scopus35 WoS34 Europe PMC17
    2018 Bensalem, J., Dudonné, S., Gaudout, D., Servant, L., Calon, F., Desjardins, Y., . . . Pallet, V. (2018). Polyphenol-rich extract from grape and blueberry attenuates cognitive decline and improves neuronal function in aged mice. Journal of Nutritional Science, 7, e19.
    DOI Scopus41 Europe PMC21
    2016 Martineau, A. S., Leray, V., Lepoudere, A., Blanchard, G., Bensalem, J., Gaudout, D., . . . Nguyen, P. (2016). A mixed grape and blueberry extract is safe for dogs to consume. BMC Veterinary Research, 12(1), 10 pages.
    DOI Scopus9 WoS9 Europe PMC5
    2016 Bensalem, J., Servant, L., Alfos, S., Gaudout, D., Layé, S., Pallet, V., & Lafenetre, P. (2016). Dietary polyphenol supplementation prevents alterations of spatial navigation in middle-aged mice. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 10(FEB), 16 pages.
    DOI Scopus21 WoS19 Europe PMC13
    2016 Bensalem, J., Dal-Pan, A., Gillard, E., Calon, F., & Pallet, V. (2016). Protective effects of berry polyphenols against age-related cognitive impairment. Nutrition and Aging, 3(2-4), 89-106.

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