Zane Farnum


Brain stress isn’t best!

I'm from: Dromedary, Tasmania
Current Location: Dromedary, Tasmania
Position: PhD Candidate, Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, UTAS
Field of research/work: Stress and Alzheimer's Disease
YTS Years: 2023 2024

Zane's Notable career moments

  • Hooked on science when I made corn flour "goo" in Grade 4.

  • Participated in the Tasmanian Model Solar Challenge in Grade 7.

  • Won the Australian-International Model Solar Challenge in Grade 10.

  • Almost failed the Maths Methods class in Grade 11.

  • Attended National Youth Science Forum.

  • Almost failed the Maths Specialised class in Grade 12.

  • Studied Medical Research at university, specialised in the brain.

  • Started studying stress and its influence on the brain.

  • Became a Young Tassie Scientist and absolutely loved it

About Zane Farnum

Ever since my first experience with science in primary school, I was always fascinated with the subject and, once I entered high school, I was so excited when I saw it was its own subject!
My inspiration to study medical research was not a happy one. In Year 11, my uncle sadly passed away form Dementia. Dementia is a disabling condition in the brain that causes a person to forget faces of friends and family, as well as losing the ability to look after themselves. Seeing him suffer from this harsh condition made me determined to keep studying so that one day I might help find a cure.
I am studying how stress can impact our brain, causing symptoms of a subset of Dementia called Alzheimer’s Disease. To do this, I not only study neurons (which are brain cells that communicate with each other to control our memory and how we move), but I also study nose cells called ‘olfactory neuroepithelium’! These nose cells connect to the brain to transmit our sense of smell and are involved in Alzheimer’s disease. I grow these tiny nose cells in plastic dishes and then stress them out in different ways. I measure what the nose cells do when they get stressed, which helps tell me what they might be doing in a person who is sick.
The part of my research I love the most is that my work could help others. No one should have to suffer from Dementia like my uncle did, but I have hope that my research and the research of thousands of other scientists all over the world will one day make Dementia a condition of the past.

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