Semple group

Paediatric Neurotrauma - Semple Group

Get in touch | Our people | Our Work | Our Achievements | Publication Highlights

The Semple group studies neuroinflammation and behavioural outcomes following traumatic brain injury in the sub-acute and chronic periods in young children and adults. We use experimental models and patient samples to investigate how the immature brain responds to injury, and how biological processes occurring in the brain after injury lead to problems with cognitive and social behaviour. We then use this knowledge to develop new drug treatments to improve outcomes and quality of life for people living with a brain injury.

2021 Semple group. L-R: Mr Erskine Chu, Ms Janet Leung, Dr Sarah Rewell, Mr Rishabh Sharma, Ms Larissa Dill, Dr Bridgette Semple, Ms Tarryn Miles, Ms Larissa Dill, Ms Sadaf Teymornejad

Get in touch

Whether you want to be involved in our research, you wish to study with us, or donate to our work, we would be delighted to hear from you.

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Honours and Postgraduate research projects

Our people

Group Head

Our work

One of the most commonly reported consequences of paediatric traumatic brain injury is a change in social behaviour; for example, a reduction in social interactions, increased social withdrawal and isolation, and associated psychiatric issues such as depression and anxiety.

The majority of our work uses preclinical rodent models of traumatic brain injury. We have developed a model that is consistent with the course of social behaviour deficits seen and experienced in young children, allowing us to tackle fundamental unanswered questions about the underlying mechanisms of these behavioural changes, including the identification of risk and resilience factors, and the contribution of white matter degeneration to social problems, and how post-injury interventions (either pharmacological or rehabilitation strategies) may be able to modulate these outcomes.

In addition, traumatic brain injuries are associated with a heightened risk of developing epilepsy, or recurrent, spontaneous seizures that may contribute to progressive neurodegeneration and impact on quality of life. Using animal models and patient samples (serum, cerebrospinal fluid, and outcome data), we are evaluating the contribution of key inflammatory cytokines and cellular mediators to seizure susceptibility and aberrant neuroplasticity. We are also exploring the hypothesis that acute immune challenges such as a hospital-acquired infection may perpetuate the development of epilepsy after a brain insult.

We use a range of different approaches including molecular and cellular methods, advanced microscopy, neuroimaging, in vivo electroencephalographic recordings, and neurobehavioural assays. We regularly use the following Monash Technology Research Platforms – FlowCore, Monash Histology Platform, and Monash Micro Imaging (MMI).

Want to learn more about traumatic brain injury? Our group worked in collaboration with researchers at the University of Tasmania to produce a free online course,Understanding TBI”, we invite you to check it out.

Our Achievements


Dr Bridgette Semple -
  • Epilepsy Research Program Idea Development Award, from the US Army Department of Defence, Office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). 2021-2023; Semple, O’Brien and Li.
  • Veski Near-Miss Award, 2022-23
  • Career Development Fellowship Level 1, from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC), 2018-2022


Publications Highlights

See recent publications for Bridgette Semple in the Monash RSS feed immediately below, at Pubmed and select list further down.

A Pro-social Pill? The Potential of Pharmacological Treatments to Improve Social Outcomes After Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury. Frontiers in Neurology (Neurotrauma), 2021, Semple BD, Raghupathi R.

Acute treatment with TrkB agonist LM22A-4 confers neuroprotection and preserves myelin integrity in a mouse model of pediatric traumatic brain injury. Experimental Neurology, 2021, Fletcher, J. L., Dill, L. K., Wood, R. J., Wang, S., Robertson, K., Murray, S. S., Zamani, A., & Semple, B. D.

A systemic immune challenge to model hospital-acquired infections independently regulates immune responses after pediatric traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 2021, Sharma, R., Zamani, A., Dill, L. K., Sun, M., Chu, E., Robinson, M. J., O’Brien, T. J., Shultz, S. R., & Semple, B. D

Interleukin-1 receptor in seizure susceptibility after traumatic injury to the pediatric brain. Journal of Neuroscience, 2017, Semple, B. D., O’Brien, T. J., Gimlin, K., Wright, D. K., Kim, S. E., Casillas-Espinosa, P. M., Webster, K. M., Petrou, S., & Noble-Haeusslein, L. J.