Support from the philanthropic Sarich family will fund important research at Western Australia’s Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science.

Perron Institute Chief Executive Officer Steve Arnott said the very generous commitment would help to deliver high quality research outcomes, with a focus on translating discoveries into new therapies and clinical processes. 

“The Perron Institute is recognised as a significant international contributor in neurological research and the Sarich family is a wonderful supporter of this collaborative effort,” he said. 

“The funding will enable the Institute to continue its leading-edge research, bringing therapeutic benefits and hope to people with neurological disorders.” 

The main focus of the Sarich family support is the creation of an ongoing fund named in recognition of distinguished neurosurgeon Emeritus Professor Bryant Stokes AO for his contribution to the Perron Institute and advancement of neurosciences research. 

The Bryant Stokes Neurological Research Fund will support seven projects, up to $100,000 each. The projects, mainly focused on assisting early to mid-career level research, will be selected in 2022. 

“Emeritus Professor Stokes, a former Perron Institute Board Director, has championed excellence in clinical practice and medical research and has made an enormous contribution to public health and governance,” Steve Arnott said. 

“It was his vision to bring together key neuroscience research groups, including the Perron Institute, in the Ralph and Patricia Sarich Neuroscience building at the QEII Medical Centre to nurture and foster collaboration. 

“We are grateful for and proud of Professor Stokes’ significant role in the Perron Institute’s story. On behalf of our Board, management and research teams, I thank him for his involvement in our recent discussions with Peter Sarich and family.” 

Two other projects have been earmarked for funding from the Sarich family’s contribution. 

Improving mental health outcomes in youth is one area targeted initially, with projects such as exploring the potential for tailoring antidepressant treatment based on genetic information about an individual’s drug metabolism. 

Knowing an individual’s genetic makeup could assist with understanding why certain drugs are effective and others are not. 

Research to better understand the pathological relationship between bone and brain will also receive support. This project will look at the relationship between bone deterioration and fractures and the progression of dementia. Approximately one million people in Australia are suffering from dementia with a similar number diagnosed with osteoporosis. 

Perron Institute researchers believe this may not be a coincidence.