NHMRC Grant-Funded Researcher (A)
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology
Maria graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science) degree, majoring in Biochemistry and Microbiology/Immunology. She then completed her Honours degree in Health Sciences (First Class Honours), followed by a PhD in Medicine, within the Stroke Research Programme.
Her PhD research focussed on the neurogenic potential of human dental pulp stem cells (DPSC). Human DPSC are multipotent adult stem cells of neural crest origin that are harvested from the pulp tissue of molar teeth. Their neurogenic potential has previously been demonstrated. They exert positive effects in the injured/diseased brain via a number of molecular and cellular mechanisms, and are potential candidates for cell-based therapies for treatment of neurological diseases, such as stroke. Her dissertation examined the ability to reprogram human dental pulp stem cells along the neural lineage using specific transcription factors and culture conditions. This may enhance their neurogenic capacity, including their ability to replace lost neural cells.
Maria is currently working in the field of parasitology, having joined the Malaria Biology Laboratory in 2020. Single cell parasites such as Plasmodium spp. and Toxoplasma gondii are leading causes of disease, malaria and toxoplasmosis respectively. Malaria causes >400,000 deaths per year with children under five most at risk, and at least a third of the world’s population is estimated to be infected with the food- and water-borne zoonotic Toxoplasma parasites that can cause severe disease during pregnancy. Her research is focused on developing therapeutics, novel drugs and vaccines, to control these parasitic diseases in humans and in livestock.
Date Position Institution name 2020 - ongoing Academic Researcher The University of Adelaide
Awards and Achievements
Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount 2020 Award Florey Postgraduate Research Conference Peter Couche Foundation Prize The University of Adelaide Australia 2020 Award Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Travel Grant Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Germany 2019 Award South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Annual Scientific Meeting Poster Session PhD Researcher Prize South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Australia 2016 Scholarship Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship Australian Government Australia 2014 Scholarship Australian Neurology Research Summer Scholarship The Hospital Research Foundation Australia 2014 Achievement Faculty of Sciences Outstanding Academic Achievement Award The University of Adelaide Australia 2013 Achievement Faculty of Sciences Outstanding Academic Achievement Award The University of Adelaide Australia 2012 Achievement Faculty of Sciences Outstanding Academic Achievement Award The University of Adelaide Australia 2012 Award The University of Adelaide Principals’ Scholarship Award The University of Adelaide Australia
Language Competency Bulgarian Can read, write, speak and understand spoken English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
Date Institution name Country Title 2016 - 2021 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia PhD in Medicine 2015 - 2015 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Health Sciences Honours 2012 - 2014 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science)
Other Supervision Activities
Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name 2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Neuroscience Research Placement The University of Adelaide HLTH SC 3010 A and B Research Placement (Neuroscience Major) Other Emily Squires and Miriam Dodd
Date Role Membership Country 2019 - 2020 Member Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS) Australia 2018 - ongoing Member International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) 2015 - 2017 Member Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Australia 2012 - ongoing Member Golden Key International Honour Society Australia
Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country 2016 - 2016 World Stroke Organisation
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