Dr. Steffany Bennett is a lipid biochemist and systems neurobiologist working to block the pathological changes in brain lipid metabolism that precipitate pediatric and geriatric neurodegenerative disease. She received her Ph.D in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa and post-doctoral training at the W. Alton Cell Science Centre and Harvard Medical School. She is a Full Professor and University Research Chair in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology, University of Ottawa. Her team is developing and applying methodologies in super-resolution imaging (stimulated emission depletion STED), liquid chromatography electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS), and bioinformatics to advance the emerging field of neurolipidomics. Specifically, she focuses on identifying (a) circulating phospholipids and glycolipids at the molecular level that predict disease conversion, (b) how changes in these structural and second messenger lipids signal neurodegeneration, and (c) whether these changes can be targeted to resist neurodegenerative disease in the central nervous system.
As part of this lipidomics approach, her team explores how changes in membrane composition alter function of integral membrane connexin and pannexin channel in neurons, glia, and neural/glia progenitor populations with overarching goal of protecting neurons from excitotoxic insult and enhancing effective neuro- and glial regeneration