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Leonie Kirszenblat, Postdoctoral Researcher

About me

I began my career in science at The University of Melbourne in the laboratory of Professor Alex Andrianopolous in 2006, where I did my honours degree in genetics. During this time I contributed to the discovery of genes involved in pathogenicity of the infectious fungus, Penicillium marneffei.  After my honours I moved to Brisbane to the laboratory of A/Prof Massimo Hilliard at the Queensland Brain Institute, where I worked as a research assistant studying genetic mechanisms of nerve development and regeneration, using the genetic model, Caenorhabditis elegans.  I then joined Bruno van Swinderen's laboratory in 2011 where I completed my PhD using the fly as a model to study sleep and attention.


One of the biggest mysteries to me is the brain and how it creates the world around us by drawing our attention towards some things and suppressing our perception of others. I am particularly interested in sleep, a state which suppresses our awareness of the outside world. 

During my PhD I developed novel methods to study sleep and attention in flies, and investigated how these two perceptual states influence each other. I am now building on this research in my current role as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, and am looking for opportunities for my next post-doc position.

My publications can be found here.

Here is my latest publication in which we present a new paradigm for studying the effects of sleep on attention.

Here is our latest review on sleep in Drosophila, to be published next year.

I love trees; they can also be found in the brain.  This is an image of a visual neuron in the fly brain that detects motion in the environment.