Dr Carli Roulston is laboratory head of Pre-clinical Stroke Research at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. She has extensive experience in both commercial and independently funded projects enabling her team to adopt a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to study key mechanisms involved in brain injury and remodelling. Using a variety of pre-clinical rodent models that incorporate regional lesion variation to mimic the human scenario, her team assesses changes in function, histology, and molecular biology for correlations with stroke severity. In addition to discovery science, Dr Roulston’s laboratory also focuses on investigating new strategies that rescue/restore the neurovascular unit to improve long term functional outcomes for stroke. These include stem cell transplants, drug interventions, and electrical brain stimulation to rescue and awaken the injured brain. Current projects include drug development to reduce inflammation and brain scarring, and understanding the use of brain electrical stimulation to accelerate functional recovery. Working closely with leading clinicians at St Vincent's, Austin and Royal Melbourne hospitals, Dr Roulston's research is focused on pre-clinical testing in animal models prior to clinical trial.
• Percy Baxter Charitable Trust (2018-2019) Rescuing brain function after stroke – a Minimally-Invasive Therapeutic Implant (MiTi). $124,803.00, Williams, Roulston, Petoe.
• Cass Foundation Medical Science Grant (2016) Targeting Astrocytes to Rescue the Brain after Stroke. $58,000; Roulston, Beart, Cheng.
• St Vincent’s Hospital Research Endowment Fund (2015) Rebooting the brain after stroke with electrical stimulation to promote plasticity and functional recovery. $20,000; Roulston, Williams.
• Australian Brain Foundation (2014) Targeting astrogliosis and brain stimulation after stroke to promote plasticity and functional recovery. $38,500; Roulston, Beart, Williams, Dusting.
• St Vincent’s Hospital Research Endowment Fund (2014) Targeting astrogliosis and brain stimulation after stroke to promote plasticity and functional recovery. $20,000; Roulston, Beart, Williams.
• NHMRC #628767 (2010 $196,325; 2011 $201,325; 2012 $196,325) Dusting, Roulston Crook, Kobayash:i NADPH oxidase in brain repair after stroke
• Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation (2009; $50,000) Roulston, Dusting: Oxidative stress and angiogenesis in recovery from ischaemic stroke.
• NHF Research Grant-in-aid G07M3237 (2008-2010; $66,550 p.a.) Dusting, Roulston: Oxidative stress, cell signaling and angiogenesis in recovery from ischaemic stroke.
• NHF Research Grant-in-aid G 05M 2169 (2006-2007; $63,000 p.a) Dusting, Roulston, Callaway: Targeting the source of oxidative damage in ischaemic stroke.
• Cass Foundation Science and Medicine grant (2006; $60,000) Roulston, Dusting: Targeting Oxidative Stress in Brain Injury Following Ischaemic Stroke.
• Perpetual Trustees Research Grant (2006; $30,000) Dusing, Roulston: Targeting Oxidative Stress in Brain Injury Following Ischaemic Stroke.
• The Eirene Lucas Foundation Small Equipment Grant (2004; $4,5
Manipulating the post-stroke environment to support brain repair
Each year approximately 48,000 Australians suffer a stroke, with one third experiencing major long-term disability and an annual cost of over $1.7 billion. Following stroke, brain remodelling contributes to functional recovery in many patients. However, there is currently little evidence to suggest that significant improvement in clinical outcome after stroke is caused by endogenous neurogenesis, although stem cell migration towards damaged regions of the brain does occur.
Cellular therapies offer a new opportunity for stroke treatment by administering optimised cell grafts that can support endogenous “at risk” neurons and integrate to reconstruct functional neural circuitry. However a supportive transplant environment is likely necessary to ensure neuroprotection and function.
In collaboration with Associate Professor Chris Williams at the Bionics Institute and Professor Phillip Beart at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health we are investigating ways in which to reduce scar formation after stroke as well as growth supporting strategies involivng electric stimulation, to promote endogenous neurogenesis and pre-differentiated human stem cell grafts to accelerate recovery from stroke.
Our research goals broadly include:
1. Reduce scar formation and maintain important astroglial support.
2. Promote new blood vessels to support brain repair.
3. Promote stem cell migration into the damaged brain to support nerve regeneration and outgrowth.
4. Stimulate new and surviving nerve cells into organization of functional pathways
5. Accelerate functional recovery.