December 1, 2015
Dr Grant Parnell, a young medical researcher at The Westmead Institute for Medical Research, has been awarded the one year Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship to investigate the gaps in existing research beteen multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes.
MS Research Australia and JDRF Australia have co-awarded an innovative research fellowship for a new study looking for overlaps between two autoimmune diseases - multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes (T1D), thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Macquarie Group Foundation.
Dr Grant Parnell, a young medical researcher at The Westmead Institute for Medical Research, has been awarded the one year Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship to investigate the gaps in existing research regarding the similarities of these two diseases.
Dr Parnell said “Both are autoimmune diseases which are a result of complex genetic and environmental interactions. My investigations will look for patterns in immune cells that are similar for both type 1 diabetes and MS, and identify relevant shared interactions between genes, and between genes and the environment.”
“My goal with this fellowship is to uncover promising new research pathways and unlock new knowledge of autoimmunity,” he said.
Dr Parnell will be mentored through this project by two internationally renowned researchers from the fields of MS and T1D, Professor Graeme Stewart, from the Westmead Institute and Professor Chris Goodnow, Garvan Institute of Medical Research; and will be supervised by Associate Professor David Booth from the Westmead Institute, an expert in the functional genetics of autoimmune diseases.
JDRF CEO, Mike Wilson said of this project: “This is an exciting partnership established between MS Research Australia and JDRF and it wouldn’t be possible without the funding support from the Macquarie Group Foundation.”
“By working closely in alliance with a like-minded organisation such as MS Research Australia, with a focus on accelerating life-changing breakthroughs in autoimmune disease research, our impact is multiplied through shared expertise, resources and passion. I am excited by what we can learn from investigating the common grounds between these two autoimmune diseases.”
Dr Matthew Miles, CEO MS Research Australia said, “The fields of both disease states have much to learn from each other and we are thrilled that this unique fellowship will allow us to formally recognise and build this area of research.”
“This funding partnership with JDRF Australia is unique for both NFP organisations. It has allowed us to partner with another high-impact charitable research organisation working in another disease. I believe this cross-disciplinary approach is critically important”.
“The Macquarie Group Foundation is pleased to support this partnership between MS Research Australia and JDRF Australia. This is an innovative and collaborative research project and we look forward to great outcomes for many people,” said Shemara Wikramanayake, Chair of the Macquarie Group Foundation.
“This type of collaboration is a novel way to address research questions that apply to more than one disease and we think it is an important way to accelerate outcomes for both MS and type 1 diabetes, and, possibly, hundreds of thousands of people in Australia with autoimmune diseases,” she added.