The Clinical Care Expert Driving Team is comprised of experts from across the clinical care spectrum. This includes neurologists, allied health professionals and representatives from the MiNDAUS Registry.
Dr Nicole Sheers is the Chair of the MND Collective Clinical Care Driving Team. She has 25 years of clinical experience working with people living with neuromuscular conditions, and has worked as a respiratory physiotherapist with the Victorian Respiratory Support Service - the specialist state-wide home ventilation team - for the past 17 years. Nicole's research aims to improve sleep, breathing and cough function for people living with a neuromuscular disease, and she conducted a clinical trial that tested the effect of a particular breathing exercise as part her PhD; completed in 2021. She is an early career researcher and postdoctoral research fellow at The University of Melbourne and Institute for Breathing and Sleep at Austin Health.
David Berlowitz is a Physiotherapist with the Victorian Respiratory Support Service who holds the University of Melbourne Chair in Physiotherapy at Austin Health. David was awarded his PhD in 2004 in which he discovered that acute cervical spinal cord injury results in sudden and severe obstructive sleep apnoea.
David leads an international team of research collaborators, students and staff who examine the causes and treatments of sleep and breathing disorders in neuromuscular disease, especially Spinal Cord Injury and Motor Neurone Disease. David’s research encompasses respiratory physiology, sleep, health systems research, and clinical trials of therapies and care models.
Dr Salma Charania completed her PhD on the impact of dysarthria on people with MND over a 12-month period within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at The University of Queensland. Salma’s MND research experience has assisted in her development and implementation of the Speech Pathology and Voice Banking services for MND Queensland where she is currently a practicing clinician.
Dr Ashley Crook is a senior genetic counsellor at Macquarie University and at Austin Health. She completed her PhD in 2022 at the University of Technology Sydney. Her PhD research focused on developing standards of practice for genetic counselling and testing for MND and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
Dr Marnie Graco is a post-doctoral researcher and Implementation Scientist with a clinical background in physiotherapy. Dr Graco’s research aims to improve the health and quality of life of people living with neuromuscular diseases, by increasing the uptake of evidence-based treatments of their sleep and breathing disorders. Her post-doctoral fellowship, funded by Motor Neurone Disease Research Australia (MNDRA) seeks to understand and address the causes of low uptake and usage of non-invasive ventilation in people living with Motor Neurone Disease. She currently works at the Institute for Breathing and Sleep (Austin Health, Melbourne) as an Implementation Scientist.
Dr Anne Hogden PhD, B SpPath, BA (Hons) is a Senior Lecturer and researcher with the School of Population Health, University of NSW. She is a mid-career researcher focusing on patient decision support tool development for MND care; clinical guideline development; patient decision-making models and interprofessional team service delivery.
Dr Karen Hutchinson is a Research Fellow with the Centre for Healthcare Research and Implementation Science, Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University, and an Honorary Conjoint Scholar at Central Coast Local Health District. She was awarded her PhD (University of Sydney) in 2018 which explored family experiences living with younger onset dementia. Her clinical and research interests focus on lived experiences, implementation science and practice and integrated models of health care specific to individuals and families living with chronic and complex neurological conditions. She has 33 years of clinical experience working as a physiotherapist, in the UK and Australia, with adults and their families living with complex and chronic neurological conditions.
Susan Mathers is a neurologist at Monash Health, Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Monash University and Director of Neurology at Calvary Health Care Bethlehem, Melbourne. Her clinical and research interests focus on the management of progressive neurological diseases and models of care. She is a member of the scientific committee of Motor Neurone Disease Research Australia, the Fight MND CURE Sub-Committee, and a member of the board of the MND Research Collective.
Bec is the Director of Cure Research and Programs at FightMND and has been with the Foundation for 7 years. She has a PhD in Neuroscience, specialising in MND and a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research. Bec oversees all FightMND’s Cure Research portfolio, which supports pre-clinical and clinical MND research projects throughout Australia and internationally, as well as FightMND funded Clinical Trials. Through her role she liaises with all aspects of the research sector including researchers, clinicians, pharmaceutical companies, and Government to develop large scale, collaborative MND research projects. As part of her role, Bec really enjoys communicating about MND research and progress to FightMND supporters and people with lived experience of MND.
Dr. Brooke-Mai Whelan is a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist with over 20 years of clinical and research experience in the management of adult neurogenic communication disorders. Brooke-Mai is currently a Lecturer in Speech Pathology within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Queensland. She is leading a program of research to identify speech biomarkers of disease progression and treatment responsiveness in MND.