Research Grant - 2022

Research Category: MND / ALS and other Neurodegenerative Diseases

Dr Frederik Steyn was the recipient of Brain Foundation grant funding in 2022

MND / ALS and other Neurodegenerative Diseases

MND / ALS and other Neurodegenerative Diseases
Mapping nutrient-sensing pathways in the brains of people across the ALS-FTD spectrum of disease
Dr Frederik Steyn
University of QLD
Co-Investigators : A/Prof Shyuan Ngo, A/Prof Rebekah Ahmed, Ms Stephanie Howe, Ms Jeryn Chang

Watch Dr Frederik Steyn accept the research grant award and hear a bit about the project.

Project Summary:

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a group of incurable diseases of the brain and spinal cord that robs the individual from using their muscles. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is the most common form of MND and is generally associated with more rapid disease progression. For most patients with ALS, death occurs within 3 to 5 years following the onset of symptoms. Our research focus is to develop a greater understanding of factors that impact the rate of disease progression in patients with ALS, with the aim of developing therapies to help slow disease progression and improve quality of life.

 Some patients with ALS experience unexplained changes in appetite. In these patients, weight loss due to loss of appetite is associated with faster disease progression and earlier death. There is evidence to suggest that the hypothalamus (a part of the brain that regulates appetite) might be impacted by disease. Using emerging technologies, we will define the impact of disease on cells within brain samples from people with ALS and uncover how ALS impacts hypothalamic cells across different types of ALS. With support from the Brain Foundation, we are now able to conduct the most comprehensive interrogation of this part of the brain – a world first for ALS research and for research in general. Results will improve understanding on how disease might impact areas of the brain that regulate appetite, and with this, provide key insight into how best we can support people living with ALS.

Brain FoundationThe Brain Foundation is the largest, independent funder of brain and spinal injury research in Australia. We believe research is the pathway to recovery.