Associate Professor Justin Yerbury and Dr Lezanne Ooi. Photo by Paul Jones.

IHMRI researchers awarded MNDRIA grant to investigate the onset of motor neurone disease (MND)

IHMRI researchers, Dr Lezanne Ooi and Associate Professor Justin Yerbury, along with Dr Yossi Buskila, a research fellow in the MARCS Institute at Western Sydney University, have been awarded the Benalla Act to d’feet MND Research Grant, worth $100,000, from the Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia (MNDRIA).

The grant will be used to support their project titled, Astrocytic modulation of neuronal excitability and cell death in Motor Neurone Disease.

The research involves looking at why the electrical properties of motor neurons change before any symptoms of the disease are noticed.

“The aim is to understand why motor neurons are specifically vulnerable in MND,” said Dr Ooi.

“We will investigate how and why the properties of motor neurones change before, during and after the onset of the disease,” Dr Ooi added.

Researchers hope that identifying these pathways may lead to new treatments for MND.

A further $98,000 has been awarded to Dr Ooi and Associate Professor Tony White, an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, to investigate the role of inflammation in MND via the Col Bambrick Memorial MND Research Grant.

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IHMRI researchers thank Illawarra Cancer Carers