MND Research Australia has awarded 2021-23 PhD top-up scholarships to two outstanding early career researchers: Anna Ridgers from Austin Health and Natalie Grima from Macquarie University. PhD top up grants encourage promising early career researchers to focus their talents on developing cures, treatments and better models of care for people living with motor neurone disease. This year, we are delighted to award these in the areas of genomics (Natalie Grima) and care research (Anna Ridgers).
Natalie Grima | Macquarie University
Investigating novel genomic and transcriptomic features of sporadic MND
MND is marked by substantial heterogeneity and it is therefore likely that personalised therapeutic strategies will be required. However, for the 90% of patients classified as having sporadic MND, the biological factors affecting development and progression remain largely unresolved. This project aims to identify novel risk and protective factors associated with sporadic MND, providing new targets for diagnosis, research and treatment. It will employ cutting-edge genomic and transcriptomic strategies to an extensive and unique collection of patient samples to look for complex genetic variants and gene expression changes associated with disease onset and/or variable development of the hallmark TDP-43 pathology.
Dr Anna Ridgers | Austin Health
Virtual Ventilation: An evaluation of the utility of ventilator-recorded data to titrate ventilator settings in comparison to non-invasive ventilation polysomnography
Home ventilation with non-invasive ventilation (NIV) is used to support breathing in respiratory (breathing) failure due to muscle weakness in motor neuron disease. Patients require different ventilator settings to optimally support breathing and improve symptoms and survival. Settings are based on daytime assessment, with subsequent overnight laboratory sleep study and face to face appointments. This is important for successful NIV but can be burdensome for patients and their carers. Newer generations of NIV record information that clinicians can review remotely. This study aims to assess whether remotely recorded ventilator data could be used to optimise ventilator settings without having to rely upon a hospital sleep study, providing the scientific foundation for remote, patient centred models of care.