10 questions with… Kristie Stefanoska


On the back of the ground-breaking announcement last week that Macquarie researchers have discovered a world-first gene therapy that could reverse Alzheimer’s memory loss, we thought it would be timely to chat with one of the researchers from the Dementia Research Centre (DRC).

Joining the University in 2018 when the DRC relocated to Macquarie, Postdoctoral Research Fellow Kristie Stefanoska says it’s been an honour to work in such a successful lab.

“I am very proud of the work that Dr Arne Ittner and Professor Lars Ittner have pioneered. We are very fortunate in the DRC to have expertise in all areas of medical research, resources and equipment, as well as the support to develop our research,” Kristie explains.

“Even during the pandemic, we have worked as a team to ensure everyone is supported. I was fortunate enough to complete my PhD under the supervision of Dr Arne Ittner and continue working with him during my post-doc.”

With a love of cheesecake and a fear of birds, we get to know the person behind the research.

1. In a nutshell, my job is to…
I am a post-doc in the Dementia Research Centre (DRC). My research focus is primarily on understanding how changes to chemical processes in a brain protein called ‘tau’, contribute to pathological features observed in Alzheimer’s disease. I have a strong background in biochemistry and neuroscience, and I utilise a range of techniques including cell culture, animal models, AAV technology and mass spectrometry.

2. My definition of success is…
Giving 100% to any task, being happy and positive, and always supporting others where possible.

3. This year I want to…
Learn to live in the moment and not worry so much about things that are out of my control.

4. The scariest thing I’ve ever done is…
Paragliding over the Austrian Alps.

5. As a kid, I was…
Outgoing, talkative, and very interested in understanding how things work.

6. My guilty pleasure is…
Cheesecake. I love the texture and the zestiness. The best part is the cookie base.

7. I’m scared of…
Birds. I think this fear stems from watching Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Birds, but also their beaks terrify me.

8. The most important thing I’ve learned in the last five years is…
It’s important to learn from setbacks, and use it as an opportunity to grow, rather than seeing it as a failure.

9. If I had the day off today, you would find me…
In the kitchen cooking and trying out different recipes, or by the pool if it’s nice weather.

10. To me, the best thing about the Macquarie community is…
How supportive and friendly everyone is. Having moved over from a different university, the support for women in STEM and career development is one of the best I have seen. It is a truly remarkable community, which promotes and fosters diversity and inclusivity, which I believe are important for the development of great leaders in all fields.





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