Dr. Kirsten Coupland is the inaugural Hunter Medical Research Institute Dalara Early Career Research Fellow. Dr. Coupland has spent her career understanding the molecular underpinnings of complex neurological disease, with the ultimate goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets. This research has taken her from understanding the epigenetic underpinnings of idiopathic neurodegenerative disease through to developing a pre-clinical immunotherapy capable of preventing aggregation of a protein involved in the pathogenesis of an inherited vascular dementia (CADASIL). Dr. Coupland was awarded her PhD from the University of New South Wales in 2015. Following a postdoctoral position at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden she was recruited to join the Translational Stroke Team at the University of Newcastle in 2018 where her molecular expertise is helping to understand how altered cerebrospinal fluid composition and dynamics impact on stroke outcome. Her work has garnered international attention having been invited to speak at several conferences, resulting in 10 publications (5 first author) and three awards. She is a founder and co-executive chair of the stroke coalition of preclinical researchers, an Australasian research body that provides a platform for collaboration and resource sharing among pre-clinical stroke research groups. When she isn’t doing research, Dr. Coupland is doing her best to imitate a pirate by living on a boat and drinking rum. She is yet to procure a parrot.