Current MNDRIA-funded research

In November 2012 the MND Research Committee approved MNDRIA grants to the following researchers to assist with their projects during 2013.  To follow their progress subscribe to our biannual newsletter, Advance.

MND Australia Leadership Grant 2013 – 2016

Associate Professor Ian Blair
Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University, NSW
 
> Investigating the pathogenic basis of familial ALS
There is a pressing need to develop more effective diagnostic tools and treatments for MND. To date, the only proven causes of MND are gene mutations that lead to motor neuron death. Despite recent gene discoveries, current insights have been insufficient to develop effective treatments. As part of collaborative studies, our laboratory previously made breakthroughs in MND through identification of defective genes that cause inherited forms of MND. These discoveries have opened new chapters in MND research. Despite this, the genes are yet to be identified for around 40 percent of Australian familial MND cases. More recently, our group identified further new defective genes that appear to cause familial MND. The aim of this project is to better understand the biology of MND through study of the role of these newly discovered MND genes and how defects in these genes lead to the death of motor nerves. In addition to better understanding the causes of MND, these studies should lead to development of new diagnostic tests for familial MND, and in the long-term, provide tools for investigating proposed new treatments.
The MND Australia Leadership project forms part of a new collaborative MND/ALS research program at Macquarie University, Sydney. This program brings together five research groups with strong track records in ALS and related disorders, and diverse expertise including genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, proteomics, and mouse and zebrafish disease models. This research project will foster collaboration and draw upon expertise within this program.
Ian Blair will lead this pivotal project. The MND Australia Leadership Grant will provide salary for four years for a postdoctoral research associate and laboratory costs associated with the project. Additional support will come from Macquarie University with provision of two PhD scholarships which were conditional on the award of the Leadership Grant.


Bill Gole Postdoctoral Fellowship for MND Research 2013 – 2015

Kelly Williams
Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University, NSW
 
> Investigating the molecular basis of ALS


Graham Linford Postdoctoral Fellowship for MND Research 2013 – 2015 

Dr Sharpley Hsieh
Neuroscience Research Australia, NSW

> Seeing the future in MND


Grants-in-aid 2013

Rosalind Nicholson MND Research Grant

Dr Julie Atkin
MND Research Group, La Trobe University, Victoria

> The role of extracellular misfolded proteins in the pathogenesis of ALS

MND Victoria Research Grant

Dr James Burrell
Neuroscience Research Australia, NSW

> The impact of language dysfunction on patient quality of life and carer burden in motor neurone disease

Zo-èe MND Research Grant

Associate Professor Tracey Dickson
Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania

> Interneuron dysfunction in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A new target for potential therapeutics?

Charles and Shirley Graham MND Research Grant

Dr Robert Henderson
University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research

> Use of biomarkers to understand ALS

Mick Rodger MND Research Grant

Dr Anna King
Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania

> Axonal protection in ALS

MNDRIA Grant-in-aid

Professor Pamela McCombe
University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research

> Investigating the causes and consequences of growth hormone dysfunction in motor neuron disease

MNDRIA Grant-in-aid

Professor Grant Morahan
Centre for Medical Research, University of Western Australia

> Discovery of novel genes protecting against motor neurone disease

Peter Stearne Grant for Familial MND Research

Professor Garth Nicholson
ANZAC Research Institute, University of Sydney

> Finding new MND gene variants

MNDRIA Grant-in-aid

Dr Mary-Louise Rogers & Professor Robert Rush
Flinders University, South Australia

> Biomarker for determining outcomes of motor neurone disease treatments in animal trials

MNDRIA Grant-in-aid

Dr Tony Roscioli
School of Women’s and Children’s Health, Sydney Children’s Hospital

> Genetic diagnosis and gene discovery in motor neuron diseases

Mick Rodger Benalla MND Research Grant

Dr Rachel Tan
Neuroscience Research Australia, NSW

> Are polyglutamine repeats the mystery proteins in the novel p62 lesions in motor neurone disease?

MNDRIA Grant-in-aid

Dr Lachlan Thompson
Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health, Victoria

> Generation of spinal motor neurons from stem cells and transplantation in an animal model of MND

Susie Harris Memorial Fund MND Research Grant

Dr Bradley Turner
Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health, Victoria

> Autophagy dysregulation in MND

Cliff Smith MND Research Grant

Associate Professor Anthony White
Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne

> The role of RNA-binding protein hnRNP K in motor neuron degeneration

MNDRIA Grant-in-aid

Professor Mark Wilson
University of Wollongong, NSW

> Protein aggregation and chaperones: key players in MND


MNDRIA/NHMRC co-funded PhD Scholarship 2013 – 2015

Dr Nimeshan Geevasinga
University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital, NSW

> Electrophysiological and neuroanatomical determination of patients with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with the C9ORF72 mutation>

Dr Parvathi Menon
University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital, NSW

> Pathophysiology of ALS: Evidence to support the dying forward hypothesis>


PhD Scholarship MND top-up grant 2013 – 2015

Jayden Clark (PhD candidate) and Associate Professor Tracey Dickson (Principal Supervisor)
Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania

> Axonal protection in ALS

Rosemary Clark (PhD candidate) and Associate Professor Tracey Dickson (Principal Supervisor)
Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania

> Interneuron dysfunction in ALS: A new target for potential therapeutics?

Jennifer Fifita (PhD candidate) and Associate Professor Ian Blair (Principal Supervisor)

 

Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University, NSW

> Examining the role of novel molecules causing motor neuron disease
 


Continuing grants

The following grants were awarded in previous years and continue in 2013:


Bill Gole Postdoctoral Fellowship for MND Research 2012 – 2014
Dr Shyuan Ngo
University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research and School of Biomedical Sciences

> Investigating the mechanisms underlying defective energy metabolism in motor neuron disease


Bill Gole Postdoctoral Fellowship for MND Research 2011 – 2013

Dr Catherine Blizzard
Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania

> Investigating the cause of site-specific excitotoxicity in ALS


Bill Gole Postdoctoral Fellowship for MND Research 2011 – 2013

Dr Rachael Duff
Western Australian Institute for Medical Research

> The application of new generation genetic techniques to motor neuron disease


Bill Gole Postdoctoral Fellowship for MND Research 2010 – 2012

Dr Shu Yang
Australian School of Advanced Medicine, Macquarie University, NSW

> Investigating the role of recently identified mutant genes in MND pathogenesis


MNDRIA/NHMRC co-funded PhD Scholarship 2012 – 2014

Dr Neil Simon
Neuroscience Research Australia, NSW

> The distribution and spread of motor system dysfunction in early motor neurone disease


PhD Scholarship MND top-up grant 2012 – 2014

Alexandra Mot (PhD candidate) and Dr Peter Crouch (Principal Supervisor)
Dept of Pathology, University of Melbourne, Victoria

> Investigating energy metabolism in models of MND to elucidate the mechanism of action of the potential therapeutic CuII(atsm)

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