Professor Kim Hemsley


College of Medicine and Public Health

place Flinders Medical Centre
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Since establishing the Childhood Dementia Research Group in 2002, I have dedicated my research career to the study of disease pathogenesis in and treatment of brain disease in Sanfilippo syndrome, an inherited neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorder (LSD) that causes childhood dementia.

Here are some recent media interviews that explain what childhood dementia means for families:

Here is a link to the 'State of Childhood Dementia' Report produced by the Childhood Dementia Initiative in October 2022 I think you will agree that there is much we need to do to improve the longevity and quality of life for patients with these devastating disorders.

I presently lead and coordinate a multi-disciplinary team and a comprehensive, innovative translational research program that is seeking to:

  • Develop tools for predicting the rate of symptom onset and disease progression in Sanfilippo syndrome
  • Elucidate the biochemical basis of the symptoms experienced by patients, thereby providing targets for therapies
  • Evaluate novel treatments
  • Provide biomarkers for monitoring therapeutic efficacy.

Our goal is to enable the implementation of existing technologies for newborn screening for neurodegenerative LSDs in Australia and beyond, therapeutic intervention at the earliest possible stage and thus the greatest improvement in patient quality and quantity of life to be achieved.


PhD (2000), Flinders University

B. App. Sci. (1991), University of South Australia

Honours, awards and grants

2018 - SAHMRI Translation and Impact Award – Childhood Dementia Research Group (team award)

2017 - University of Adelaide Alice Davey Award – Childhood Dementia Research Group (team award)

Key responsibilities

FHMRI Neuroscience Lead

Head, Childhood Dementia Research Group

Co-Chair, Gender, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee, CMPH, Flinders University

Supervisory interests
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Childhood Dementia (1)
Associate supervisor: Childhood Dementia (1)
Principal supervisor: Huntington's Disease (1), Childhood Dementia (4)
Associate supervisor: Alzheimer's disease (1)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Andrew Shoubridge

Dean's Commendation - MAR 2021