Dr Jennifer Hollywood, Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, The University of Auckland, New Zealand

Dr Jennifer Hollywood completed her undergraduate qualification in Physiology (2008) and PhD in molecular medicine (2014) at University College Cork (Ireland) from which she developed a strong skill set in using gene editing tools to model genetic diseases. In December 2014, she emigrated to New Zealand to continue her research training in Professor Alan Davidson’s lab at the University of Auckland. Here, Dr Hollywood developed the human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell and kidney organoid model of cystinosis, with the goal to find alternative treatments. This work has shown that the iPS cell/organoid platform can be used to model aspects of cystinosis and has identified a new combination treatment that may have therapeutic value in the treatment of this disease. To properly investigate the combination therapy, Dr Hollywood has developed a preclinical animal model of cystinosis in rats which faithfully replicates the disease in humans. It’s hoped that this preclinical work will lead to improved outcomes for children battling cystinosis.