Professor Amy Brodtmann (Australia)
Position: Consultant Neurologist, Associate Professor Behavioural Neuroscience
Affiliation: Austin Health, Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne; Eastern Cognitive Disorders Clinic, Eastern Health, Monash University, Australia
- What is your role at your work?
Leader of cognitive neurology research group examining vascular contributions to dementia
- How did you get interested in your career path?
I trained in stroke neurology under the mentorship of Professor Geoffrey Donnan, completing my PhD in cognitive neuroscience, stroke and brain imaging. My post-doctoral year was spent with Professor Marsel Mesulam in Chicago, where I became fascinated by focal onset dementia syndromes and the concept of selective neuronal vulnerability. I merged my training in stroke and cognitive neurology by exploring the impact of vascular risk factors and damage in patients after stroke. My aim is to describe the anatomy of vascular degeneration, and by doing so, develop targeted strategies to prevent the major causes of late life cognitive decline.
- What are you most proud of in your career or otherwise?
I am proud of being able to pursue a unique career path, exploring my 2 passions, cognition and stroke. I am proud that I lead a diverse, multidisciplinary group of researchers from many professional and cultural backgrounds. And I am very proud that I have done all this while working part-time, allowing me to spend time with my 3 marvellous children.
- What important career challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Without a doubt, the greatest challenge has been balancing my research and clinical interests with the demands of being primary carer for my children. But from this challenge has arisen my greatest achievement.
- What advice would you give your younger self?
Take your time! This is a marathon not a sprint. Yes, other people may progress faster than you, but it is your own style of ascent that matters.
- Highlight your most significant research contributions and publications (3-5) - if relevant to you.
1. Sahathevan R, et al., Brodtmann A. (last author Stroke. 2016 Jan;47(1):113-9 Demonstrated amyloid deposition patterns following acute ischaemic stroke
2. Li Q, et al., Brodtmann, A. (last author) NeuroImage: Clinical Neuroimage Clin 2014 Aug 23;8:526-35. Important methods paper for future/ongoing stroke analyses – the first comparative paper of its kind
3. Brodtmann A, et al. Int J Stroke. 2014 Aug;9(6):824-8. Position paper for CANVAS protocol
4. Brodtmann. A. et al. Journal of the Neurological Sciences Nov 15 2012 322(1-2):122-8; Early data from the CANVAS study showing regional brain volume loss – first report of its kind in stroke.
5. Sahathevan R, Brodtmann A, Donnan GA International Journal of Stroke 2012 Jan;7(1):61-73 MOST HIGHLY CITED ARTICLE FOR IJS IN 2012.
- Have you had any significant career mentors? If yes, please provide further details.
I have been fortunate to have many mentors. Geoffrey Donnan has been a constant support throughout my neurological career, from when I was a medical student to now, giving guidance in running my research group. My other 2 PhD supervisors, Aina Puce and David Darby, were great role models on how to think clearly and address problems in an authentic and robust fashion. Marsel Mesulam was an inspiration for my cognitive research. Vicki Anderson, my formal mentor in Melbourne, has given me invaluable advice on how to balance work and life.
- How can we support the next generation of women scientists?
We can tell them to breathe. We can support them in all their decision making, including making choices that may be surprising or that upset the status quo. The way things have always been done is no longer a justification for our decisions – we need new ways to solve the issues that now confront us.