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Uni receives funding for neurological research

University receives funding for neurological research

The University of Auckland has received $667,960 from the Neurological Foundation to further research into brain disorders and disease.

Jessie Jacobsen, who recently graduated with a PhD, has received the Foundation's Philip Wrightson Post-doctoral Fellowship. She receives a grant of $135,000 to continue her research into Huntington's disease at Harvard Medical School in the United States.

Paul Drury from the Department of Physiology received a Miller scholarship to undertake PhD research into brain imaging techniques. His project will look at ways to identify brain damage at a time when treatment is still possible by using a new technique called near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) which will measure how much oxygen is getting to the brain and how much it is using, along with another technique, electroencephalography (EEG), that measures brain activity. He also received a summer studentship grant to study brain damage in infants with congenital brain disease.

Funding was also awarded to research projects looking at developing a genetic model of Huntington's disease, using antibodies to limit damage from stroke, investigating molecules with brain protective properties, regulation of chemical processes to treat Parkinson's disease, and therapies to treat multiple sclerosis fatigue.

The Foundation's Executive Director Max Ritchie said that it was pleasing that Foundation had maintained its funding levels despite the difficult economic times. "We wouldn't be able to do this without the support of the many New Zealanders who want to see the end of neurological disease. However, neuroscience funding still lags behind many other areas of research despite brain disorders carrying the greatest disease burden. More investment has to be made in this area if we are to cope with the health challenges of our ageing population."

The Neurological Foundation is a charitable trust that raises money for neurological research in New Zealand. Each year it awards more than $1.6 million in grants to New Zealand's neuroscientists and is the largest non-governmental provider of neurological research funding. The Foundation receives no government assistance and is almost totally funded by the generosity of individual New Zealanders, with more than 98 per cent of contributions coming from donations and bequests.


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