Meet Our People

Dr Jana Vukovic

Interest in the Sanfilippo cause:

Dr Vukovic is a neuroimmunologist who received her PhD in 2008 from The University of Western Australia. She joined the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2009 to work in Professor Perry Bartlett’s laboratory as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, before being awarded a Queensland Government Smart Futures Fellowship in 2010.

Dr Vukovic was subsequentlyawarded an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2015-2018) and was jointly appointed as a group leader by UQ’s Faculty of Medicine (School of Biomedical Sciences) and QBI in 2015. She now heads the Neuroimmunology and Cognition Laboratory that is investigating the interactions between the brain and the immune system in health and disease.

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

The complexity of untangling brain function fascinates me and I am particularly interested in understanding the process of learning and memory, and how the immune system can influence these cognitive processes. Unfortunately, conditions where brain function is impaired, as in children with Sanfilippo Syndrome, are particularly heart-breaking.

I hope that as a community we can gain a better understanding of conditions like this and how to better treat them, thereby helping affected individuals and their families.

Many researchers are aware of age-related learning and memory disorders i.e. dementia but there is very much a lack of awareness that similar conditions can affect children. We therefore need to broaden our understanding of dementias, exchange knowledge and thereby help the young (and the old) suffering from these devastating conditions.

I am inspired by the work of the Foundation because:

I am touched by the sheer numbers of individuals generously volunteering their time and also donating to fund scientific research.

What's your message to the wider Australian community about the work of the Sanfilippo Children's Foundation:

I am impressed by the great work that the Foundation has been doing over the years. It really deserves greater awareness within the wider Australian community in order to inspire more research into finding treatments and support for the Sanfilippo affected individuals and their families.

What's your favourite motivational quote:
Never give up!