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Over $1.1 million committed to neurological research


Over $1.1 million committed to neurological research across New Zealand

The Neurological Foundation is pleased to announce that funding of $1,154,852 for neurological research, two postgraduate scholarships, a postdoctoral fellowship, two summer studentships and travel grants has been approved in its December 2014 grant round. The Neurological Foundation is the primary non-government sponsor of neurological research in New Zealand.

Neurological Foundation Executive Director Max Ritchie says “This grant round illustrates the depth of brain research in New Zealand as it continues to build momentum on the world stage. Many of the projects in this round involve collaborations with leading international research institutions, exemplifying the talent and expertise of our researchers here. Being able to fund highly impactful research is both pleasing and exciting, and we thank our donors for their continued commitment as we work towards improving outcomes for the hundreds of thousands of people living with neurological disease in New Zealand”.

The December grants will fund research projects at the University of Auckland, AUT University, Auckland City Hospital, Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Otago and Stanford University.

Neurobiologist Dr Robert Munn has been awarded the 2014 Neurological Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. This award will enable Dr Munn to continue his memory research at Stanford University under the supervision of a leading learning and memory researcher, Assistant Professor Lisa Giacomo. A University of Otago graduate, Dr Munn’s long-term goal is to gain a permanent position as an independent researcher at a university in New Zealand. His doctoral advisor at the University of Otago, Head of Department of Psychology Professor David Bilkey, says “It is wonderful to hear that Rob has received this award. Support from the Neurological Foundation is so important in assisting in the development of our young neuroscientists. Rob has always shown great promise and with the support of the Foundation he will be able to develop new skills that will further his career in neuroscience.”

Professor Bilkey says the project that Dr Munn is working on will provide important new information about how the brain represents the spatial environment and stores this information in memory. “This is basic research aimed at developing knowledge about brain function, but it is also relevant to a number of disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, where one of the symptoms is spatial disorientation. Rob’s work is using cutting edge techniques and the Neurological Foundation’s support will allow him to develop these skills fully such that he can continue to advance and apply them to neurological disorders.”

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