Researcher biography

Dr Natalie Groves is currently working with Dr Richard Gordon focusing on understanding the immune and inflammatory mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases, particularly for Parkinson's disease and Motor Neuron disease. This work involves examining the ability of repurposed drugs to inhibit inflammation in experimental models of these diseases in the hope that this can block or delay disease progression. The group is also interested in understanding more of the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease which can often precede diagnosis and has a number of projects in the clinical space for both Parkinson's disease and Motor Neuron disease.

Natalie received her PhD from the Queensland Brain Institute at The University of Queensland in 2016. Under the supervision of Associate Professor Tom Burne and Professor John McGrath, she discovered that vitamin D deficiency during adulthood has an impact on behaviour and brain neurochemistry in rodents. These results provide the first evidence in mice to show that adult vitamin D deficiency impacts on neurotransmitter systems that are affected in a number of neuropsychiatric conditions, including autism, schizophrenia, and depression.

After completing her PhD, Natalie began investigating the regulation of adult neural stem cells and their importance in cognition during ageing and in mood disorders in mice. This work was undertaken in Professor Perry Bartlett's group at the Queensland Brain Institute and Dr Dhanisha Jhaveri's group at Mater Research. Part of this work examined how chronic stress negatively impacts on neural stem cell development in adulthood and how this can lead to the dysregulation of mood.