Trauma group

Key terms

Traumatic brain injury, mild traumatic brain injury, trauma, concussion, biomarker, treatment

Shultz lab
2018 Shultz lab. L-R: Mr Josh Kimpton, Mr William O'Brien, Ms Ker Rui Wong, Ms Georgia Symons, Ms Mujun Sun, Professor Sandy Shultz (group leader), Mr Nathan De Teodoro, Dr Rhys Brady, Dr Shijie Liu, Mr Ryan Wortman, Mr Xin Lin Tan

Research goal

To study the effects, underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, biomarkers, and treatments of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and related conditions.

Research overview

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and morbidity worldwide, and there is no intervention to improve long-term outcomes. The objective of my laboratory is to improve our understanding and treatment of TBI by utilizing a translational research approach that incorporates both animal model and patient studies.

A particular focus of my group is mild TBI (mTBI), often referred to as concussion. Evidence suggests that mTBIs are associated with long-term neurological consequences and neurodegenerative disease. Unfortunately, it is not known why these effects occur or how they can be prevented. We are currently conducting studies in amateur and professional athletes, as well as in animal models, to provide insight into questions related to mTBI.

We are also one of the few research teams in the world investigating how concomitant peripheral insults (e.g., infection, aging, extracranial trauma) affect TBI pathobiology and outcomes. Related to this, Dr. Rhys Brady, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory, is studying neurological heterotopic ossification (NHO) - a common and debilitating consequence of TBI that involves the formation of bone in soft tissue.

Shultz lab also investigates the relationship between TBI and other neurodegenerative conditions (e.g., epilepsy and ALS), and how these effects can be prevented.


Current project funding

  • 2018-2022: NHMRC; Project grant; 1141643; Sandy Shultz (Chief Investigator); Mild traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative disease
  • 2017-2022; CIHR; Project grant; 3164568; Sandy Shultz (Co-Chief Investigator); Modulation of adolescent traumatic brain injury via the orexin system, sleep, and glymphatic function
  • 2017-2022; NIH-NINDS; Centers without walls; EpiBios 4Rx; Sandy Shultz (Investigator)
  • 2017-2022: Alfred Health; Establishment grant; Sandy Shultz (Chief Investigator); Translational traumatology laboratory
  • 2015-2019; NHMRC; Career development fellowship;1087172; Sandy Shultz (Chief Investigator); Treatments and biomarkers for traumatic brain injury

Selected recent publications

For full list of publications, visit Pubmed.

  1. Clough M, Mutimer S, Wright DK, Tsang A, Costello DM, Gardner AJ, Stanwell P, Mychasiuk R, Sun M, Brady RD, McDonald SJ, Webster KM, Johnstone MR, Semple BD, Agoston DV, White OB, Frayne R, Fielding J, O'Brien TJ, Shultz SR. Ocularmotor cognitive control abnormalities in Australian rules football players with a history of concussion. J Neurotrauma 2018, 35, 730-738.
  2. Sun M, McDonald SJ, Brady RD, O'Brien TJ, Shultz SR. The influence of immunological stressors on traumatic brain injury. Brain Behav Immun 2018, 69, 618-628.
  3. Shultz SR, McDonald SJ, Vonder Haar C, Meconi A, Vink R, van Donkelaar P, Taneja C, Iverson GL, Christie BR. The potential for animal models to provide insight into mild traumatic brain injury: Translational challenges and strategies. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2017, 76, 396-414.
  4. Wright DK, Liu S, van der Poel C, McDonald SJ, Brady RD, Taylor L, Yang L, Gardner AJ, Ordidge R, O'Brien TJ, Johnston LA, Shultz SR. Traumatic brain injury results in cellular, structural and functional changes resembling motor neuron disease. Cereb Cortex 2017, 27, 4503-4515.
  5. Shultz SR, Wright DK, Zheng P, Stuchbery R, Liu SJ, Sashindranath M, Medcalf RL, Johnston LA, Hovens CM, Jones NC, O'Brien TJ. Sodium selenate reduces hyperphosphorylated tau and improves outcomes after traumatic brain injury. Brain 2015, 138, 1297-1313.