Australian PhD candidate is developing next generation deep brain stimulation (DBS) devices to treat Parkinson’s disease.
Nicholas Sinclair, a biomedical engineer working in neuroprosthetics and neurostimulation therapies, has been awarded the 2020 CSL Florey Next Generation Award for top PhD candidate in health and biomedical sciences.
Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurological disorders. Approximately 12,000 new cases are reported in Australia each year, increasing the healthcare burden.
With wide and varied symptoms alongside differing degrees of severity, Parkinson’s disease is often difficult to treat.
Nicholas discovered a new brain signal which could dramatically improve treatment of Parkinson’s disease with enhanced deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy.
This brain signal can guide next-generation DBS devices to be implanted in the brain with pinpoint accuracy and will automatically adapt to the patient’s needs.
There is also potential to improve treatment of other conditions, such as epilepsy and depression.
The CSL Florey Next Generation Award recognises a current PhD candidate who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and potential in biomedical sciences, health and medical research. It is an initiative of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS), supported by CSL, to encourage the growth of up-and-coming researchers.
It carries a $20,000 cash prize and trophy, and was awarded virtually as part of the annual Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) Convention.
“Nicholas’ research at the Bionics Institute has already discovered a new brain signal which could radically improve treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. The work that researchers such as Nicholas are able to carry out is an important part of translating research knowledge and expertise into best practice medical care,” says Dr Andrew Nash, CSL’s Chief Scientific Officer. “CSL is proud to support this award for promising young Australian researchers. We congratulate Nicholas for his outstanding achievements and wish him every success in his research career.”
“A more scientifically engaged society is what every scientist should aspire to,” says Prof Maria Kavallaris, Co-Chair of AIPS. “These researchers are shaping the future of health care and our way of life in ways we can’t even begin to imagine”.
Nicholas Sinclair is a Senior Research Engineer and doctoral candidate at the Bionics Institute.
Three runner-up prizes of $2,500 were also awarded to three finalists, selected from 48 applications.
Priscila Oliveira de Lima, University of Queensland – for demonstrating targeted monoclonal antibody therapies completely destroying tumours and causing the immune response to develop a memory against future tumours.
Victoria Kerrigan, Menzies School of Health Research – for improving Aboriginal health outcomes in the Northern Territory by reimagining how the cultural education can be delivered for healthcare providers.
Xikun Han, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute – for developing genetic “scores” to allow for early detection of glaucoma, enabling early intervention for high-risk patients and less invasive monitoring for low-risk patients.
About the CSL Florey Next Generation Award and the CSL Florey Medal
The CSL Florey Next Generation Award is a new biennial award conferred to a current PhD candidate who has demonstrated outstanding capability, creativity and potential in the biomedical sciences and/or health and medical research.
It has been developed to encourage and support promising health and medical researchers early in their careers, and to complement the CSL Florey Medal. This medal is awarded biennially to an Australian biomedical researcher for significant achievements in biomedical science or human health advancement, and is supported by CSL Limited.
The Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS)
The Australian Institute of Policy and Science is an independent and non-partisan not-for-profit organisation founded in 1932. They have grown with Australia's public policy history and work to:
- Increase public engagement in science
- Promote excellence in research and innovation, and the promotion and communication of science
- Inform and influence policy and policymaking
- Invest in a scientifically inspired, literate and skilled Australia that contributes to local and global social challenges
AIPS achieves its objectives through an extensive network of partners spanning university, government, industry and community actors.