If I had been told a year and a half ago that I would be spending five months living on the other side of the world I would have been sceptical. After receiving financial support from the Global Challenges Program, advice from my supervisors and completing what felt like tons of paperwork, I found myself in Canada on a rainy July morning.
Knowing no one and having never lived so far from home, I arrived feeling both incredibly excited and terrified.
Motor neurone disease researchers opened our labs and welcomed members of the public to ask questions about our work as part of a recent research open day at the University of Wollongong.
The event, hosted by the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), coincided with the launch of Motor Neurone Disease Week and gave UOW researchers the opportunity to raise awareness and shed light on their research into this devastating disease.
I graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Medical Biotechnology and began my PhD in 2012 in cell and molecular biology.
What does your research focus on?
My research focuses on the role of an inflammatory receptor in motor neuron disease, a debilitating and incurable disease which is characterised by the progressive loss of muscle function. The mechanism behind the progression of this disease is currently not understood. I am researching whether inflammation, mediated by the P2X7 receptor, plays a role in disease progression, and if so, whether P2X7 represents a therapeutic target.
UOW researchers and supporters take part in the Walk to d-Feet MND at Wollongong in March.
On March 2nd, I was part of a team of UOW researchers who participated in the Walk to d-Feet MND.
Hundreds of walkers braved the pouring rain to take part in the event, the first held in Wollongong.
It was amazing to see so many people show their support for defeating this devastating disease.
Motor neurone disease (MND) belongs to a family of debilitating and incurable diseases, termed neurodegenerative diseases, which tend to become more common with advancing age.
These diseases, which also include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis, are characterised by the progressive death of nerve cells, leading to impaired movement and/or mental functioning.