The Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia (MNDRIA) has awarded $2.57 million to new MND research projects commencing in 2015.The announcement follows the annual MND Australia Grants Allocation Meeting held at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne on Sunday 26 October.This round of funding has attracted a record 92 grant applications from researchers across Australia. The MND Australia Research Committee of 11 eminent clinicians and scientists painstakingly reviewed each application before deciding on the successful projects to receive funding in 2015.

“This year we have added several new grants to the MNDRIA suite, which we hope will expedite research breakthroughs with the ultimate aim of realising a world without MND,” says newly elected Chairman of the MND Australia Research Committee, Professor Matthew Kiernan; Bushell Chair of Neurology, Brain & Mind Research Institute, The University of Sydney.

Donations from the recent MND Ice Bucket Challenge are providing an immediate boost to Australian MND research. Associate Professor Ian Blair from the Australian School of Advanced Medicine at Macquarie University has been awarded the MND Ice Bucket Challenge Grant-in-aid as start-up funding for Australia’s participation in the largest international collaborative genetic study of MND ever conducted.

“We are heartened and inspired by the many individuals who choose to fundraise for MNDRIA. This support attests the massive impact that MND has on the lives of those with the disease as well as their loved ones,” says Ms Janet Nash, Executive Director Research at MND Australia.

New to the suite of MNDRIA grants are the Cunningham Collaboration Grant and Angie Cunningham Laugh to Cure MND Research Grant. Both these grants are the result of the tenacious efforts of Patrick and Angie Cunningham who conceptualised and implemented the very successful Laugh to Cure MND fundraising campaign.

The Cunningham Collaboration Grant has been awarded to Professor Pamela McCombe and her team at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research. The researchers will work with Professor Leonard van den Berg from the University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands on investigating the effect of metabolism and diet on the progression of MND.
MNDRIA plays a vital role in supporting early career researchers who want to commit to MND research but find it difficult to get started as they have no established track record. MNDRIA has awarded two fellowships commencing in 2015.

The Beryl Bayley MND Postdoctoral Research Fellowship is funded by a bequest of $2.3 million that will support research fellows in 2015 and beyond. The long-established and highly-prized Bill Gole MND Postdoctoral Research Fellowship will again be awarded in 2015 thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor.

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