CERA student receives prestigious scholarship

09 April 2013
Duncan Crombie in the lab (image courtesy of CERA)

CERA student Duncan Crombie has been awarded the prestigious Gustav Nossal Scholarship for his critical research into the genetic disease Friedreich Ataxia (FRDA).

Duncan is a PhD student in CERA’s Neuroregeneration Research Unit and is supervised by Stem Cells Australia's Alice Pebay and Martin Pera, as well as Martin Delatycki from Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

In late 2012, Duncan received a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Postgraduate Scholarship to research FRDA, a devastating disease of the nervous system and the heart characterised by a loss of balance, coordination and muscular control, and heart disease. FRDA  also impacts vision.

Duncan uses stem cells generated in the laboratory from FRDA patients’ own skin, to grow certain types of cells found in the heart and eye. These cells will be used to better understand the pathology of FRDA, to conduct basic research on the disease and to test new drugs, prior to conducting clinical trials.

Duncan’s scholarship application to the NHMRC was the top ranked successful Biomedical application. As a result, Duncan was awarded, the NHMRC Gustav Nossal Postgraduate Scholarship, sponsored by Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL) Ltd.

This award is the result of a joint initiative between the NHMRC and CSL and is named after Sir Gustav Nossal, one of Australia’s Living National treasures, and recipient of the Albert Einstein World Award of Science for contributions to the fields of antibody formation and immunological tolerance.

Duncan said he was extremely honoured to receive the Gustav Nossal Scholarship. “This award will both kick-start my career and more importantly, support my research aimed at understanding the pathology behind heart and eye dysfunction in Friedreich Ataxia. I would not have had this opportunity without the support of the Centre for Eye Research Australia, the quality expertise found within the research teams and excellent guidance from my supervisors.” 

Congratulations Duncan!

Click here for more information about CERA’s Neuroregeneration Research Unit.