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Spotlight: Jenny Downs, BAppSci, MSc, PhD

Jenny Downs, BAppSci, MSc, PhD

In honor of our 10th anniversary, here is a spotlight on Jenny Downs, BAppSci, MSc, PhD. She is an Associate Professor and also co-leads the Child Disability team and the Australian Collaboration to Enhance NeuroDevelopment at Telethon Kids Institute.

Where do you work?

Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Western Australia.

Tell us about your research (assume we know nothing).

My research looks at what influences child and family health and well-being in conditions that affect development, including the CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder. I particularly look for factors that are modifiable and could be changed to improve outcomes. I have developed and validated outcome measures for motor functioning and quality of life to support the assessment of new treatments. I also conduct studies that evaluate treatments, such as early interventions, to enable practice that is evidence-based.

What interests you most about your area of study?

I am most interested in developing and evaluating new treatments, including for the CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder, that will lead to the strongest quality of life. I am also interested to make the best use of the available database resources to support better knowledge and outcomes in the CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder.

When was the moment you first fell in love with science?

I used to combine research projects with my clinical physiotherapy work when seeking answers to clinical issues. One study was a clinical trial that tested how we should position tiny preterm babies, to promote the development of normal postures. The results were important and changed clinical practice. That was the moment when I realized I would be committed to research.

What do you like to do when you are not working?

I have two daughters who are now aged 25 and 23 years – I am still enjoying their growing up. I like to keep fit by walking and running, and I also like to watch movies.