Olly Johnstone


Mental Gymnastics Judge

I'm from: Hobart, Tasmania
Current Location: Hobart, Tasmania
Position: PhD Candidate, Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, University of Tasmania
Field of research/work: Neuroscience; Motor neuron disease/ALS
YTS Years: 2024

Olly's Notable career moments

  • Started training to be a paramedic (Ambulance Driver)

  • Decided being a paramedic wasn’t for me

  • Started studying Medical Research to become a medical doctor

  • Decided being a medical doctor wasn’t for me

  • Feel in love with Medical Research, especially the brain

  • Started to study Motor Neuron Disease (ALS), and still am!

About Olly Johnstone

Your brain allows you to hop, skip, and jump, and to be happy, hungry, or surprised. Have you ever been curious about how your brain can do so many things at once? Or why do we get the hiccups at the worst possible times? I’ve always been curious about how our brains and body work together as a team. This curiosity led me first to paramedicine, where I got to do medicine in the fast lane in an ambulance. However, I wanted to understand why my patients had the conditions I saw, which led me to medical research! By studying the brain as a neuroscientist, I can finally begin to answer the questions about the human body I have had since childhood.

My research focuses on a motor neuron disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but people shorten this mouthful to ALS. This disease stops our brain being able to talk to our bodies leading to struggles in movement and speech and impacting our ability to live life to the fullest.

However, people living with ALS also have increased anxiety and depression, and have changes in their emotions, thinking, and memory and currently we don’t understand why. By studying brain areas which should regulate these feelings, I can investigate why these changes happen. Through this research, I hope patients can have a greater understanding of their condition, and increase the knowledge needed for future treatments.

I love neuroscience because it allows me to better understand all the curiosities I’ve ever had, and I get to work with a team full of awesome scientists. When I’m not up in the lab, I love to play soccer, walk my greyhound Beans, and hike or run around our beautiful state!

Olly's Photo Gallery