We investigate the impact of environmental and lifestyle influences on stress, metabolic, reproductive and neuroimmune function long-term.
We are establishing how challenges like diet, stress, and infection change the way our bodies process food, stress, and future challenges to the immune system, and whether these changes are permanent or reversible.
Our research shows that overfeeding in early life can contribute to central inflammation that may permanently influence hypothalamic feeding and stress circuitry; leading to an increased propensity to gain weight and stay fat, hyperactive responses to stress, infertility, and an inability to appropriately respond to inflammatory challenges.
We have a particular focus on the role of microglia in these effects and are also establishing microglia’s role in healthy brain function, including appetite and cognition.
Associate Professor Sarah J. Spencer
Principal Research Fellow
Head, Neuroinflammation in Health and Disease Research Group
School of Health and Biomedical Sciences
RMIT University Bundoora, Melbourne, Vic 3083
Acknowledgement of country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.