Associate Professor Wayne Leifert

Dr Wayne Leifert 200x267_Saliva research symposium brisbane 2016

Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Health & Biosecurity, Probing Biosystems Future Science Platform

Wayne Leifert is a Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO. He received his PhD (Dept of Physiology) from the University of Adelaide and has served on several editorial boards. Wayne has developed G-protein coupled receptor biosensors as well as quantitative imaging microscopy techniques to measure intracellular biomarkers of ageing, and chronic diseases including cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s disease. Wayne has 30 years’ experience at CSIRO, supervised 16 postgrad students and is devoted to advancements in non-invasive biomarker technologies. His current research activities are in the Future Science Platform “Probing Biosystems” network, investigating salivary (and buccal cell) biomarkers of aging and risk of cognitive decline.

Presentation Title: Non-invasive biomarkers to identify Alzheimer’s disease risk

Minimally invasive strategies utilising biomarkers obtained from the oral (buccal) mucosa and saliva have gained attention for the early diagnostics of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We used semi-automated “high content” quantitative imaging fluorescence microscopy to score a spectrum of buccal cell biomarkers to identify individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or AD. Significantly different buccal cytome profiles were observed, that included increased DNA damage, decreased cytokeratin 14 expression and neutral lipid content in MCI and/or AD patients compared with healthy controls. We are currently extending this non-invasive approach to include saliva metabolomic and proteomic biomarkers of early cognitive decline.