Dr Susanne Ilschner

MD, Dr.med.( FAU Erlangen), BA Visual Art (ANU), C Dipl. S Music (Bayreuth). Member Gender Institute ANU, Endometriosis Social Research Network, National Association for Visual Arts
PhD Scholar, ANU Medical School

Susanne Ilschner’s grandparents were a midwife, textile merchant, a farmer’s boy turned bank director, and an art historian. The Ilschner family fled the war, from burning Dresden to Berlin, where Susanne’s parents met. They escaped from Berlin at night with the help of a friend flying them in a small aircraft to the Rhein area. They were a physicist and a chemist, and after the war spent some years in the US. Back in West-Germany, they moved several times, with the father’s career accelerating and the mother’s grinding to a halt after the two children were born. Susanne studied music for a diploma in Bayreuth, then medicine in Vienna and Erlangen, with internships in India (Ayurveda) and Australia. Various clinical and research appointments followed. Susanne has three children and lived in Australia or Germany. Following some adversities, she studied and then worked in visual art, and, while unemployed, she researched Parkinson’s disease at TCH/ANU as a centrelink "volunteer". Currently she is a PhD candidate at the ANU, pulling together her experience in lab, clinic and art to evaluate pathways to and meaning of a diagnosis of endometriosis, gaining deeper insight into the sociopolitical context of disease.

Other Projects:

  • The “endo-art project” through the Gender Institute, ANU
  • Activism for “Duty or Care?”
  • Therapeutic music teaching
  • Neurofeedback at The Brain Training Centre, Deakin.

    Research interests

    ORCID: 0000-0003-1828-6636


    • Qualitative study using co-constructed graphics to enquire about processes and events leading to a diagnosis, and the possible impact of it.
    • Wet-lab study, identifying and investigating the role of extracellular vesicles in the pathogenesis of endometriosis.
    • Communication about endometriosis using non-verbal expression, such as visual and performing art.

    Lab work S.I. 2018:


    • Neurofeedback, vision research (outside PhD research)

    Korth, M., Ilschner, and S. Sembritzki, O. (1987) Retinal receptive fields under different adaptation levels studied with pattern-evoked ERG. Graefes Arch. Clin. Exp. Ophthalmol. 225: 63-9.

    Clark, I. A., Ilschner, S., MacMicking, J.D. and Cowden, W. B. (1990) TNF and Plasmodium berghei Anka-induced cerebral malaria. Immunol. Lett. 25: 195-198.

    Ilschner, S. U. and Waring, P. (1992) Fragmentation of DNA in the retina of chicken embryos coincides with retinal ganglion cell death". Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 183: 1056-1061

    Brockhaus, J.; Ilschner, S.; Banati, R.; Kettenmann, H. (1993) Membrane properties of ameboid microglial cells in the corpus callosum from early postnatal mice. J. Neurosci. 13: 4412-4421.

    Walz, W., Ilschner, S.,Ohlemeyer, C.; Banati, R., Kettenmann, H. (1993) Extracellular ATP activates a cation conductance and a K+ conductance in cultured microglial cells from mouse brain. J. Neurosci. 13: 4403-4411.

    Kettenmann, H. Ilschner. S. (1993) Physiological properties of microglia. Clin. Neuropathol. 12:306-307.

    Ilschner, S., Ohlemeyer, C. Gimpl, G. and Kettenmann, H. (1995) Regulation of potassium currents in cultured mouse microglia by receptor activation and intracellular messengers. Neuroscience, 66, 983-1000.

    Ilschner, S., Nolte, C. and Kettenmann, H. (1996) Complement factor C5a and epidermal growth factor trigger the activation of outward potassium currents in cultured murine microglia. Neuroscience, 73, 1109-1120.

    Ilschner, S. and Brandt, R. (1996) The transition of microglia to a ramified type is accompanied by the formation of stable acetylated microtubules. Glia, 18, 129-140.

    Kumar, R., Dear, K.B.G., Christensen, H., Ilschner, S., Jorm, A.F., Meslin, C., Rosenman, S.J. & Sachdev, P.S. (2004) Prevalence of mild cognitive impairment in 60 to 64 year old community-dwelling individuals: The Personality and Total Health Through Life 60+ Study. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 19, 67-74.

    Stuart, G.J, Ilschner, S.U, Kampa, B.M., Ruben, P.C. (2008) Action potential generation requires a high sodium channel density in the axon initial segment. Nat Neurosci.11(2):178-86.

    Lucas, R.M., Byrne, S.N., Correale, J., Ilschner, S., Hart, P.H. (2015) Ultraviolet radiation, vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Neurodegener. Dis. Manag.

    Apthorp, D., Smith, A., Ilschner S.U., Das, C., Lueck, C.J., Jeffrey, C.L., Looi JCL (2020) Postural sway correlates with cognition and quality of life in Parkinson's disease. BMJ Neurol Open 2. e000086.

    Ilschner, S., Neeman, T., Parker, M., Phillips, C. (2022) Communicating Endometriosis Pain in France and Australia: An Interview Study (2022). Vol. 3, Frontiers in Global Women’s Health.