Flinders University PhD student Megan Dubowsky recently undertook a student exchange at the Perron Institute, working with the Motor Neurone Disease Genetics and Therapeutics Research team, headed by Professor Anthony Akkari.

Megan is in the third year of her PhD and is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship and a MND Research Australia PhD Top-up Scholarship. Her research is investigating the cause of MND and if a drug called Triumeq could potentially be used to treat MND, a fatal disease for which there is no cure.

“Our lab at Flinders University in Adelaide has previously collaborated with the MND group at the Perron Institute in Perth,” she said. “For the last few weeks, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to undertake work at the Institute, building on the connection between our two labs.

“During this time, I’ve worked with the MND research team to develop new hypotheses that will involve both our labs. I have also learnt new techniques, including cell culture and gained a greater understanding of the genetics of MND.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the Perron Institute and hope to return in the future to expand on the connections made and continue with the projects that have been set up in this brief time.

“I’d like to thank Professor Akkari for the opportunity and his hospitality, and I’d like to acknowledge Brad Roberts, Robert Smith, Nik Gavriel and Larissa Dill, who have been helpful during my visit.”

Megan’s PhD supervisor is Associate Professor Mary-Louise Rogers, an internationally recognised MND researcher. A/Professor Rogers has extensive national and international collaborations investigating the underlying causes of MND and associated biomarkers.

A/Professor Rogers leads the national MND research collective and is supported by Professor Akkari’s lab. Both Professor Akkari and Associate Professor Rogers are passionate about training opportunities for outstanding early career researchers, and keen to enrich the experience of the next generation of scientists with national and international assignments for MND researchers and collaborators.

Professor Akkari said: “It’s a privilege to have Megan spend time at the Perron Institute for an academic development program that fosters growing connections between our group and Associate Professor Rogers’ group.”


Image credit: Nik Gavriel.