Research we fund

The MND New Zealand Research Fund was established in 2015, following the first nationwide Walks 2 D’Feet MND. We are indebted to Dr Claire Reilly for her passion and vision in creating the fund. The goal of the fund is to encourage, support and generate interest in the creation of New Zealand-based MND research. We will only support quality research that has ethical approval.

The MND Research Strategy 2019-22 document is available to download here.

CURRENT PROJECTS

Dr Emma Scotter

Dr Emma Scotter

New Genetics Study

MND New Zealand is proud to co-fund Genetics Study - April 2019:
Participants needed in new genetics study. MND New Zealand proudly helps fund vital research at the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland and supports the latest genetics study.
Dr. Emma Scotter (Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland), Dr. Richard Roxburgh (Neurogenetics Clinic, Auckland City Hospital), and collaborators are now recruiting for a study of the genetics of Motor Neurone Disease in New Zealand. Dr. Scotter says, “We invite people with MND (familial or sporadic, total 300 people) and people without MND and no family history of MND (total 30 people) to participate.”

To participate contact Emma: emma.scotter@auckland.ac.nz
Find out more info here:
https://mnd.org.nz/participants-needed-in-new-genetic-study/

MND Research Network

MND New Zealand provided funding to establish a nationwide MND Research Network to facilitate and disseminate MND research in New Zealand. The MND Research Network connects MND researchers and works to attract new researchers to the field.

Dr Emma Scotter says: "With a cohort of only ~300+ MND patients in NZ it is critical that research groups interact with one another to make best use of data and/or samples collected. A Research Network will facilitate interaction among and between researchers and the public.”

MND Registry

MND New Zealand has developed and funded an MND Registry for New Zealanders. The MND Registry is compatible with international registers, so that the data collected may be used internationally. The MND Registry will allow us a more accurate understanding of the incidence and prevalence of MND in New Zealand, by demographics and region. We also believe that having New Zealand cohorts readily available will encourage NZ based research.

FUTURE PROJECTS

Depending on funds available after the above projects are running, the MND NZ Research Fund will consider offering financial assistance for a Masters or PhD student doing approved MND research. Further advice will be forthcoming when the extent of current commitments are known.

PAST PROJECTS

Bridging Salary Grant

We approved funding for a bridging salary of three months (1 February to 30 April 2017) for a technical assistant to support the MND research activities and enhance the productivity of the Scotter Lab at the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland. Andrew Siemens graduated Summa Cum Laude (with highest honour), as co-valedictorian and with an A+ average from the University of Oregon. From 1 May 2017 to February 2019, Andrew’s salary was fully funded by Rutherford Discovery and Marsden FastStart grants. The bridging grant from MND New Zealand enabled Andrew to take up the technical assistant role immediately after his arrival in New Zealand.

Andrew’s role involved conducting experiments, ordering and preparing reagents, and performing administrative tasks. He was assigned a small study characterising human brain cells grown from MND patients with the C9ORF72 gene mutation. In addition he supported the following studies by the Scotter Lab:

  • comparing cells grown from different brain regions of MND patient brains;
  • measuring degradation of toxic proteins by cells grown from MND patient brains; and
  • screening for therapeutic drugs which can rescue cells grown from MND patient brains.
medic-RESEARCH