The research expert driving team includes lab-based researchers from around Australia who are working across the research spectrum to better understand motor neurone disease.
Professor Anthony Akkari is a pharmaco-geneticist and neuromuscular disease geneticist with over 30 years research experience, including 18 years of industry expertise in molecular genetics, pharmaco-genetics and personalised medicine. He was recruited internationally to build and lead the Motor Neuron Disease Genetics and Therapeutics team at the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science and Murdoch University. Professor Akkari has served on the board of the Motor Neurone Disease Association of Western Australia for over 3 years and was recently invited to be the WA State Representative to the MND Research Collective.
Associate Professor Shyuan Ngo heads a research group investigating neurometabolism in MND at the University of Queensland, the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital (RBWH) and the Wesley Hospital. Associate Professor Ngo oversees a research program that centres on the MND clinics at the RBWH and Wesley. Her patient-directed research is complemented by extensive discovery research using a range of transgenic models, human myosatellite cells, and human induced pluripotent stem cell derived neurons. Associate Professor Ngo’s broader research program aims to identify pathogenic mechanisms in MND with the goal to develop or re-purpose therapeutic compounds for personalised medicine for MND.
Associate Professor Mary-Louise Rogers has led the Motor Neurone Disease and Neurotrophic Research Laboratory at Flinders University since 2011. Driven by the need to find a cure for MND, Associate Professor Mary-Louise Rogers' research is focused on improving ways to determine if potential MND treatments are working in clinical trials and working out how MND starts. Success in funding from USA and Australian granting bodies has enabled the research program to continue and is well recognised as an MND researcher that is making a difference to facilitating the development of an effective MND treatment. Assoc. Prof Mary-Louise Rogers served as chair of the Discovery Research Driving team from 2021 to Mid July 2023, leads the South Australian MND Collective node, and is a director on the MND SA Board.
Bec is the Director of Cure Research and Programs at FightMND and has been working in the MND sector for 17 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. Bec has a passion for science communication and building connections within the research community including people with lived experience of MND.
Professor Bradley Turner heads a research team focused on understanding the molecular basis of MND and developing novel treatment approaches at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the University of Melbourne. His group employs patient stem cell-derived and transgenic animals for disease modelling and drug discovery with a strong focus on preclinical trials. Professor Turner's research interests also extend to childhood spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and Kennedy's disease (KD), which are related to MND.
Dr Adam Walker is head of the Neurodegeneration Pathobiology Laboratory and group leader in the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland. His laboratory focuses on uncovering the molecular mechanisms of TDP-43 pathology in ALS/MND and in identifying new avenues for therapeutic development.