25 February 2021

Leanne Jiang off to UQ

Leanne Jiang, a member of the Perron Institute’s Motor Neurone Disease and Genetic Therapeutics Research group is moving to Brisbane to continue her PhD studies.

Leanne was voted unanimously to receive The University of Western Australia Ken and Julie Michael Convocation Postgraduate Research Travel Award. She received $3,000 which she’ll put towards her travels to attend University of Queensland in 2021.

The UWA convocation awards are designed to ease some of the financial burden for PhD students who intend to travel, present their research, or expand their studies outside Western Australia.

“I feel incredibly privileged and grateful to the UWA convocation and the Michael family. This is a high distinction to achieve and I have no doubt the award will be a tremendous aid to my studies in Brisbane.”

“The award has given me the opportunity to pursue endeavours towards achieving higher goals

“I would like to acknowledge Dr Shyuan Ngo at UQ for inviting me to be a visiting researcher in her lab at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and for giving me opportunities to succeed.

“A huge thank you is due, of course, to my supervisors, Associate Professor Jenny Rodger, Professor Anthony Akkari, Emeritus Professor Alan Harvey, and Professor Merrilee Needham for supporting me as a student, my research and my goals. I would also like to thank Professor Norman Palmer for his support.”

In 2020, Leanne won the Australasian Neuroscience Society national 3-Minute Thesis competition. Her prize money will also go towards her travels to Brisbane.

Motor neurone disease initially affects the central nervous system and skeletal muscles.

Leanne’s PhD thesis mainly involves identifying pathways which damage and destroy mitochondria, the vital organelles that aid the production of energy in cells.

Her work is split into three investigations. The first focuses on the genetics/DNA of patients with MND. The second investigation is to understand how mitochondria react with each other. The third involves identifying how mitochondria interact with proteins that fold incorrectly causing ‘clogging’ in the body.

We wish you all the best, Leanne!