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Mater Researcher given $1.25 million boost

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Mater Researcher given $1.25 million boost

Ground-breaking research into Alzheimer’s has earned Mater Researcher Professor Geoff Faulkner a $1.25 million, five year, CSL Centenary Fellowship.

Professor Faulkner, from Mater Research and Queensland Brain Institute is studying whether long-term memory is stored in the brain’s DNA and will test his theory in brains affected by Alzheimer’s.

Geoff has already shown that the DNA in our brains is different to that in the rest of our bodies, and that it changes the most in the brain’s main learning centres.

He’s proposing that these changes are associated with how we store our long-term memories. With the CSL Centenary Fellowship he’ll test the idea on brain tissue donated by Alzheimer’s patients to determine if DNA is involved in memory formation, and what the implications of this might be for how Alzheimer’s develops.

Professor Faulkner said he was surprised and excited to receive the Fellowship.

“The Fellowship will provide great stability for our research over the next five years,” Professor Faulkner said.

“This funding will provide the opportunity and freedom to follow up on ground breaking ideas,” he said.

Dr Faulkner is one of the first two recipients of a $25 million program CSL has established to support the country’s best and brightest biomedical researchers.

“We’re hoping to better explain the genetics of Alzheimer’s and how the brain works,” Professor Faulkner said.

“There are plenty of theories for how we learn, and how memories are stored, but we really don’t know for sure how this aspect of the brain is setup,” he said.

Leukaemia researcher, Associate Professor Steven Lane from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, was the other 2016 winner of the two five-year Fellowships on offer.

Professor Faulkner and Associate Professor Lane are the inaugural Fellows in a $25 million program established by CSL in its Centenary year to support Australia’s best and brightest biomedical researchers—fostering excellence in medical research by supporting mid-career scientists to pursue world-class research at an Australian institution.

CSL Chief Scientific Officer Andrew Cuthbertson says Professor Faulkner and Associate Professor Steven Lane are the embodiment of what these Fellowships are about.

“Growing skills and expertise through well-funded, long-term support is essential in order to help the Australian research community continue to thrive,” Andrew says.

Professor Faulkner and Associate Professor Lane are the inaugural Fellows in a $25 million program established by CSL in its Centenary year to support Australia’s best and brightest biomedical researchers—fostering excellence in medical research by supporting mid-career scientists to pursue world-class research at an Australian institution.

Professor Faulkner’s Fellowship follows on from winning last month’s 2016 Scopus Eureka Prize for Excellence in International Scientific Collaboration for his work on the FANTOM5 project with international colleagues.

The prize was awarded to Prof Faulkner and his partners on the FANTOM5 project for outstanding scientific research as a result of international collaboration. The award recognises the contribution they made to address an area of global importance, and for demonstrating the values of scientific research and worldwide collaboration to promote and further the work of Australian researchers.

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Tags: Alzheimer’s, clinical research, Mater Research, Professor Geoff Faulkner