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Circulating microRNAs as biomarkers of concussion

With increasing awareness of the potential short- and long-term effects of concussions, there is a widely accepted need to develop objective tools that can aid in concussion management. In particular, there is a need for tests that can assist with concussion diagnosis, identify those at risk of a protracted clinical recovery (i.e. post-concussion syndrome), determine when the brain has recovered from pathophysiological changes induced by concussion, and indicate potential cumulative effects of repeated concussions. Blood biomarkers have shown much promise in aiding in the diagnosis of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, however their utility in the context of mild TBIs such as concussion is relatively poorly understood. Moreover, nearly all research to date has investigated proteins as biomarkers. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of molecules that have shown utility as circulating markers of disease and injury. Unlike some proteins, miRNAs are stable, abundant, and easy to extract and quantify using basic laboratory equipment. To date, however, no studies have characterized the temporal expression of serum miRNAs post-concussion. Using samples and data from our ongoing studies in over male and female athletes, we aim to build upon our current findings in order to create a miRNA signature for concussion, and determine how miRNAs may be used to improve concussion management.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
Concussion, mild traumatic brain injury, pathophysiology, biomarkers, treatments
Central Clinical School » Medicine - Alfred
Available options 
Masters by research
Time commitment 
Top-up scholarship funding available 
Physical location 
Alfred Research Alliance
Assoc Prof 
Sandy Shultz

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