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Victoria (Vicki) Lawson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, in the School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Melbourne where she holds a lecturing position in the discipline of Pathology and heads a research group with an interest in transmissible neurodegeneration.

Her research interest is in understanding the cause of protein misfolding in the cells of the brain and gastrointestinal tract and how this can lead to diseases such as prion and Parkinson’s disease.

Her research has identified regions of the prion protein that are essential for the protein misfolding that defines the disease and the contribution glycosylation has in this process.

She has identified evidence of disease in peripheral tissues of animals affected with prion disease and been involved in studies using new imaging paradigms to detect disease in the central nervous system, which will aid in the development of treatments.  Her research was instrumental in the validation of a surgical instrument cleaning product which is now used by many hospitals in Australia to reduce the risk of prion disease transmission through surgery.

Vicki’s research group has invested in the development of medically relevant prions which are now being used to test existing and novel methods for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and is investigating the normal biology of prion protein to ensure that treatments that modify the protein do not cause further harm.  Our aim is to improve the lives of patients and their families affected by prion disease.