Sarah Annesley

Sarah is a senior research fellow and head of the Molecular Cell Biology laboratory in the department of Microbiology, Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology.

Sarah investigates diseases that affect the central nervous system and collectively they represent a significant proportion of the burden of disease in adults worldwide. She focuses specifically on two main disorders, Parkinson’s Disease and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). In both diseases the prevalence rate is approximately 1% of the population, neither are diagnosable early in the disease progression and treatments are limited. More recently she has begun to investigate Long-COVID. This is because the onset and symptomology is largely the same as ME/CFS and the two in fact may be the same disorder.

Her research vision is to lead a laboratory whose mission is to help conquer these devastating diseases and make an impact to millions of people’s lives. She aims to characterise these disorders, investigating the mechanisms of the disease process at the cellular and molecular level. To discover how these mechanisms can be manipulated for treatment and to identify biomarkers which can be developed into world-first diagnostic tests.

Sarah has received funding for this work and has attracted a total of $4.2M from 10 competitive peer reviewed funding grants half as Lead CI. She has published 48  manuscripts including 1 invited book, 4 invited book chapters and 43 journal articles. She has supervised more than 26 Honour’s students and 11 HDR to successful completion with many of these students’ receiving awards/prizes for their work and going on to positions at notable Universities and Institutions here in Australia and abroad. Sarah balances her research career with raising her two children and in 2023 she was awarded the prestigious Tracey Banivanua Mar Fellowship. This fellowship aims to support people who have had major caring responsibilities in maintaining momentum with their research career.