MND Australia Research Meeting 2016

The MND Australia Research Meeting 2016 was held on Friday 21 October at the Queensland Brain Institute.
Researchers with grants funded by the Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia in 2016 were invited to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations. All MND researchers and students were invited to submit posters for presentation at the meeting. 

The national MND Australia Research Meeting is held each year following the Grants Allocation Meeting of the MNDRIA Research Committee which meets to assess and allocate grants for the following year. This research conference has been held annually since 2005 and has been integral to the development and funding of MND research in Australia. Meetings have been held in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to facilitate participation for researchers in different states.
The objectives of the MND Australia Research Meeting were:
  • To promote sharing of expertise amongst MND researchers in Australia
  • To enable interaction of researchers to foster the development of research collaborations
  • To provide feedback to a wide audience about the latest developments in MND research
  • To demonstrate the value of the funded research to donors to encourage their continuing support.


Clare Watson, Isabella Lambert-Smith, Justin Yerbury, University of Wollogong

More than 130 passionate researchers gathered at the Queensland Brain Institute in sunny Brisbane on Friday 21 October to attend the MND Australia Research Meeting 2016. This year’s meeting included 21 speakers reporting on the outcomes of their research projects supported by MNDRIA in 2016 and 35 stimulating poster presentations.

The theme of the first session was new models in research to understand the causes of MND. We heard about studies in fruit flies, zebra fish and mice from A/Professor Greg Neely, Dr Nicholas Cole, and Dr Adam Walker respectively. Each model organism has its own advantages and together they provide an array of techniques for researchers to test new therapeutic strategies. We heard about the effects of cellular stress in motor neurones and the possible involvement of structures called “paraspeckles” from Western Australian researcher Dr Archa Fox while A/Professor Julie Atkin shared her work on the potential role of DNA damage in MND. 
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two presentations celebrate commitment to mnd research

Two special presentations were made at the MND Australia Research meeting in Brisbane. An award in recognition of exceptional philanthropy was presented to Australian Philanthropist John Laidlaw by MNDRIA Research Committee Chair Professor Matthew Kiernan. John and Betty Laidlaw have donated $2 million to MND research. A $1 million donation last year led to the Betty Laidlaw MND Research Grant, which was awarded to Dr Peter Crouch from the University of Melbourne in May. Dr Crouch is leading a multicentre team working on "Copper malfunction in MND: a therapeutic target for sporadic MND." A second $1 million commitment has enabled the establishment of four mid-career awards to be given out over four years.

A special award was also presented to Professor Dominic Rowe AM in recognition of his exceptional leadership of the MNDRIA Research Committee over ten years 2005. On accepting the award from MNDRIA Research Committee Chairman Professor Matthew Kiernan and Executive Director Research MND Australia Janet Nash, Professor Rowe reflected on research progress over the last few years and how much things have changed. Research has transformed our understanding as we work together towards a world without MND. 




Download full program with abstracts 


This meeting was proudly supported by:



Proud member of:

International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations

ACNC Registered Charity


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