The first ever NRMA Insurance/SpinalCure Australia Senior Research Fellowship has been awarded to Dr David Brown from the Centre of Immunology, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney.
The award will be presented by the CEO of NRMA Insurance, David Issa at Re:Connections, a conference on spinal injury and related conditions, organised by the NSW Ministry of Science & Medical Research (MSMR).
The Fellowship, which is funded by NRMA Insurance, was developed to support Australian research into spinal cord repair, and will provide Dr Brown with $300,000 over three years to continue his research.
Dr Brown has recently returned from the prestigious Salk Institute in the USA, where he has carried out post doctoral research, on the structure and function of the central nervous system. For this project, Dr Brown hopes to develop a further understanding of inflammation that occurs in the spinal cord after injury.
This project was ranked as “outstanding” at peer review and fulfils one of the key criteria of the Fellowship by bringing a new approach to spinal cord injury which could be highly relevant in the search for new therapies.
According to Mr Issa, Dr Brown is a very deserving recipient, “NRMA Insurance congratulates Dr Brown on receiving the inaugural award. We are delighted that the Senior Research Fellowship has made it possible for a top scientist to return to Australia to continue his contribution to spinal cord injury research,’’ he said.
NRMA Insurance joined with SpinalCure Australia to make a practical contribution to scientific research aimed at finding therapies and a cure for spinal cord injuries.
“We are committed to working with expert groups and the community to understand more about spinal cord injury and assist injured people get on with their lives,’’ added Mr Issa.
“Motor vehicle crashes are the most frequent cause of spinal cord injuries so partnering with groups like SpinalCure Australia is important for NRMA Insurance because it gives us the opportunity to help reduce the number of spinal injuries sustained on roads, and more importantly better understand ways to improve the recovery outcomes for our customers.”
NB: Inflammation occurs in the spinal cord after injury. By helping to identify the process that leads to the death of non-injured neurons after an injury, and the emergence of what are called ‘glial scars’ (scarring), a major blockage to neuronal regeneration could be removed.