Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Research Field: Neuroimaging

A high proportion of children born preterm will have movement, learning and behavioural difficulties resulting from abnormal brain development or brain injury around the time of birth. Dr. Thompson’s research helps to identify common brain alterations in preterm infants and children by using magnetic resonance imaging, as well as the potential causes and long-term consequences for such abnormalities.
She has found that injury to the white matter, which forms the connections between different parts of the brain, is the main contributor to the brain abnormalities common to very preterm infants, and contributes to later problems with functions such as memory, vision, movement and general intelligence. This early injury to very preterm infant’s white matter mostly damages the brains ability to produce myelin, which helps transfer information efficiently. Dr. Thompsons research group also investigates medical treatments that may help improve the brain’s structure and functioning.
Where possible, Deanne communicates her research to the wider community through television and newspaper coverage, as well as teaching opportunities and presentations for CSIRO’s Scientists in Schools program and “Market of the mind” Brain Awareness Week and Science Week.