The MND 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 MND NZ Research 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.
MND NZ is providing funding to establish a nationwide MND Research Network that will facilitate and disseminate MND research in New Zealand. The MND Research Network will connect MND researchers, establish an overseeing committee, and intends to attract new researchers to the field. Funding includes the cost of developing and administering a MND Research Network website.
Funding applicant 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 would facilitate interaction among and between researchers and the public.”
We have 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 will be fully funded by Rutherford Discovery and Marsden FastStart grants. The bridging grant from MND NZ will enable Andrew to take up the technical assistant role immediately after his arrival in New Zealand.
Andrew’s role will involve conducting experiments, ordering and preparing reagents, and performing administrative tasks. He will be assigned a small study characterising human brain cells grown from MND patients with the C9ORF72 gene mutation. In addition he will be supporting the following studies by the Scotter Lab:
MND NZ is pursuing the development of an MND Register for New Zealanders. Such a register will complement the MND Research Network and be compatible with international registers, so that the data collected may be used internationally. The MND Register 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.
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.