Earlier this year, Rick Hamsen visited Australia as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of his ‘Man in Motion’ World Tour. Rick Hansen is a Canadian icon, Paralympic athlete and philanthropist who wheeled more than 40,000 kilometres through 34 countries on his ‘Man in Motion’ World Tour between 1985 and 1987 to raise awareness about accessibility issues and research for a cure.
While in Sydney, Rick presented a Rick Hansen Difference Maker Award to Dr David Brown saying, “Dr David Brown’s innovative research and fruitful collaboration with organisations and individuals – both at home and abroad – promise to power significant improvements in the lives of people with spinal cord injuries.”
SpinalCure Australia knows Dr Brown well. In 2006, he was awarded the first ever NRMA Insurance/SpinalCure Australian Senior Research Fellowship. This Fellowship, funded by NRMA Insurance, was developed to support Australian research into spinal cord repair, and provided Dr Brown with $300,000 over three years to continue his research. As a result, Dr Brown was able to return to Australia from the USA to continue his contribution to spinal cord injury research in this country.
Dr Brown leads the Laboratory of Neuroinflammation at St Vincent’s Centre for Applied Medical Research at the University of NSW. His groundbreaking research studies how inflammation of the central nervous system affects the outcome of SCI. With the findings, he is taking steps to identify new therapeutic approaches to preserve function and improve the outcome of SCI and other neurological diseases.
Dr Brown’s research has led him to be named inventor on several patents registered to St Vincent’s Hospital. The patents – concerning a neuro-protective molecule he studies – are in the final stages of negotiations for licensing to multinational pharmaceutical companies for disease diagnosis and therapy. His work, in the field of neuroinflammation, has the potential to reduce healthcare costs and improve the lives of people with a spinal cord injury.
Dr Brown is also creating lasting legacies by imparting his skill and knowledge to the next generation of scientists by teaching them the novel concepts and methodologies that are being used in his research. This information-sharing will allow the knowledge base in neuroinflammation to broaden, further increasing the profile of Australia in this research field.