We research the underlying mechanisms behind neurodegenerative disorders such as motor neuron disease, frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as well as neuromuscular diseases like multiple sclerosis.

A key issue for many patients is that treatment is delayed due to the lack of reliable diagnostic tests.

Our aim is to develop biomarkers that can be translated into clinical trials and diagnostics. This work will give patients certainty at an earlier stage of the disease process so their condition can be managed better and their quality of life improved.

Research directions

  • In collaboration with the Brain and Mind Centre (Professor Matthew C Kiernan) at the University of Sydney, we are commercialising our novel threshold tracking transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) technique, which has been shown to be sensitive in diagnosing motor neuron disease and has the potential to be used as a biomarker in multiple sclerosis and other degenerative disorders.

  • We are researching other neurophysiological techniques to measure cortical and axonal excitability.

  • We are studying neuroradiological biomarkers and clinical phenotyping.

  • We combine this research with genetic/molecular and immunological assessments via a collaborative approach with centres within and outside of the Westmead Institute.