Meet Our People

Associate Professor Kim Hemsley

Associate Professor Kim Hemsley BAppSci (Med. Lab. Sci.) and PhD 

Assoc. Prof Kim Hemsley is a neuroscientist who is the Head, Childhood Dementia Research Group, College of Medicine and Public Health, at Flinders University, South Australia. She has affiliate status at the University of Adelaide. Kim’s research focus for more than 16 years has been on Sanfilippo Syndrome.

In conjunction with many collaborators locally, nationally and internationally, Kim’s team is undertaking pre-clinical studies evaluating various treatment approaches for preventing, delaying or reversing the changes that occur in the central nervous system in Sanfilippo Syndrome, using both cell and animal models to do this.

They are also investigating the natural course of disease in Sanfilippo – to determine exactly what causes the symptoms to occur. “This has allowed us to identify symptom-generating brain changes that can be targeted, and work has already started to develop such treatments”

Kim’s team is also engaged in several research projects whose goal is to provide early markers of disease presence and progression. Our aim is to enable disease course to be predicted (i.e. early or later-onset), when a newborn is screened or diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome. These markers may also potentially be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatments for Sanfilippo.

Interest in Sanfilippo:

“I am a scientist by training and as a profession; we do not routinely or commonly interact with patients who have the disorders or diseases we study. In the lysosomal storage disorder field however, and in particular the Sanfilippo Syndrome area, things are different. Families, clinical personnel and scientists interact often – and this, for me, is very special."

"It personalises what I do. It has allowed both me and my team to truly understand what it means to experience or have a close family member experience Sanfilippo. It means that every day we undertake our science, we are motivated to work harder and faster to get answers that may change the lives of people we now know personally.”

Dr Hemsley is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the US MPS Society, and a member of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Network Biosafety Committee.

Message to the wider Australian community about the work of the Sanfilippo Children's Foundation:

“I’d ask the community to imagine it was them. To think about how life-changing a diagnosis of Sanfilippo would be for them and their family. To think about how they would move heaven and earth to change the course of their child’s life – and that of other children, both present and future.”