What is your expertise and experience?
I'm a Professorial Fellow at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, and the University of Melbourne, and hold an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship. I run the Neural Plasticity lab, where we focus on understanding how genes and the environment work together to contribute to brain function. We know that every person is born with our own "genetic deck of cards", but we also know that environmental factors can combine with these genetic factors in complex ways. My research group studies how genes and environment ('nature and nuture') combine using models of specific neurological and psychiatric disorders, investigating at the behavioural, cellular and molecular levels. Our goal is to understand the disease mechanisms and identify novel therapeutic targets for the development of new treatments.
Why are you involved in the Prader-Willi Research Foundation of Australia?
I was invited to join the inaugural scientific advisory panel of the Prader-Willi Research Foundation of Australia as a Florey Institute neuroscientist with over 25 years research experience, including neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia, Williams syndrome, Rett syndrome and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It has been my pleasure to serve the Foundation, as I realise the great burden that Prader-Willi syndrome, and related disorders, place on the people affected and families. The passion and courage of families living with Prader-Willi syndrome is an inspiration and great motivation for me as a medical researcher.