Exciting milestones in health research funding

Four amazing researchers with strong links to the Neurological Foundation have been recognised with prestigious grants from the Health Research Council (HRC). 

The HRC is the Crown agency dedicated to funding and fostering excellent health research. Read more here 

Huge congratulations to Dr Hannah Jones (Starship Children’s Hospital), Dr Indranil Basak (University of Otago), Dr Bruce Harland (University of Auckland) and Dr Sophie Farrow (University of Auckland). 

The CEO of the Neurological Foundation, Rich Easton, said it was heartening to see such major investment in important science. “This is a further endorsement of researchers whose work has previously been funded by our generous supporters. In some cases, the Foundation has been there in the early days of researchers’ careers. We can all share in the celebration of their ongoing achievements as they build on previous inchstones.”  

Dr Basak received a Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship worth $599,779 for his ongoing work investigating Parkinson's disease. 

"It has been an exciting journey, and without the support from the Neurological Foundation, none of this would have been possible,” says Dr Basak. “In this project, I am going to use a model that was developed from my first NF project grant. Thank you so much for supporting our research!" 

Dr Harland received a Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship worth $599,381 for his ongoing work investigating spinal cord injury. 

“I will be testing several promising regenerative treatments for spinal cord injury using a bioelectronic implant,” says Dr Harland. “This exciting preclinical research was made possible through a Neurological Foundation project that allowed me to develop the use of this technology from basic science.”  

Dr Jones, a consultant paediatric neurologist at Starship hospital, received a Clinical Practitioner Research Fellowship worth $717,542 for her work in improving outcomes for children with neuroimmunological disorders. 

 “I’m very grateful for the Neurological Foundation’s support over the past two years through the NF Senior Clinical Research Fellowship,” says Dr Jones. “It is only because of this fellowship that I’ve been able to establish a research programme which includes studying the effects of autoimmunity during pregnancy on infant neurodevelopment, investigating the efficacy of high dose steroids for the treatment of Sydenham’s chorea, and understanding the immune response of children with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis in New Zealand. The HRC award will enable me to continue the work which was started because of the Foundation’s support.” 

Dr Farrow from the University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute received the HRC and Girdlers’ UK Fellowship. She’ll be working with the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre discovery cohort at the University of Oxford, investigating whether epigenomics could be used as a diagnostic tool in Parkinson’s disease. 

“I’m excited to continue on the next leg of my journey exploring epigenomics and Parkinson’s disease,” says Dr Farrow. “In this project, I’ll be working with a large cohort of people with Parkinson’s to develop a novel biomarker. The initial small project grant that I received from the Neurological Foundation enabled me to develop some of the fundamental skills that I need to complete this next project. I am very grateful for the support I’ve received. Thank you!” 

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