Dr Deanne Thompson graduated from Wanganui Park Secondary College in 1996, and developed a fascination with science during her high school years. She went on to complete a Bachelor of Science (hons) (2005) and PhD (2010) at the University of Melbourne. She was awarded a Shepparton Business and Professional Women's Club Scholarship, University of Melbourne scholarship, and an Australian Postgraduate Award for her studies.
Since graduating, Dr Thompson has worked at the Florey Neuroscience Institute in Melbourne and Washington University in St Louis, USA. She currently leads the neuroimaging team for the Victorian Infant Brain Studies (VIBeS) at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI). As a Senior Neuroscientist, Dr Thompson's focus is on outcomes following premature birth. Her research uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to provide insight into typical and atypical brain development. Her team of post-doctoral scientists, research assistants and PhD students answer novel research questions for 10 clinical research studies. These include two multi-centre randomised controlled trials to assess new clinical treatments aimed at improving brain development for premature babies, and an intervention trial to improve academic outcomes for premature children.
The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) awarded Dr Thompson the prestigious Early Career Fellowship in 2011 and Career Development Fellowship in 2015. Dr Thompson is the lead neuroimaging Chief Investigator on 4 NHMRC project grants, and the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Newborn Medicine, with funding totalling $6.6m since 2011. She consistently publishes in the top 10 general neuroscience journals (Brain, Annals of Neurology) and the top 2 journals in her field (Neuroimage, Human Brain Mapping, and Pediatrics), with 45 publications as of 2015.
Dr Thompson regularly presents at leading national and international conferences such as the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and Pediatric Academic Society. She was invited to work collaboratively on a project at Harvard University Boston, and invited to speak at Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, St Louis Children's Hospital, and Inova Fairfax Hospital Virginia, demonstrating established international standing.
In recognition of her excellence in scientific research and communication, Dr Thompson has been awarded numerous national and international conference travel awards, a Victorian Young Tall Poppy science award by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science in 2014, the Early Career Researcher 'Discovery Award' for excellence in scientific research at the MCRI in 2014, as well as the 'Rising Star' award (MCRI) in 2015. In 2013, she was invited by the Australian Academy of Science to present policy recommendations to Parliament for Australian brain research, as a Rapporteur at the 'Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank'.
Dr Thompson is passionate about sharing her love of science with the community through news and radio, and fundraising events for prematurity research. She also enjoys inspiring school students by regularly participating in CSIRO's Scientists in Schools program, Science Week, Brain Week, and Quantum Science Day.
Dr Thompson's ultimate vision is to enhance quality of life and improve outcomes for babies who experience an unfavourable start to life.