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Intellectual disability and Down Syndrome – common genetics?

An investigation which aimed to understand the genetic basis for Down Syndrome has led to the identification of a gene which controls the formation of neural circuits in the brain. Read more.

A new genetic player in autism

A study aimed at detecting the genetic triggers of autism spectrum disorder has uncovered a new gene mutation, which could lead to better diagnosis and treatment outcomes. Read more.

New research on childhood brain disorders

A team of researchers from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, headed by Associate Professor Julian Heng, has been awarded a grant to investigate the role of genetic mutations in childhood brain disorders. Read more.

Tracking the development of nerve cells within the fetal brain on The Science Show

The hope is to develop treatments which could stimulate the crucial early steps which when absent, can leave a young child impaired with physical or intellectual disability. Listen to the interview with Robyn Williams on ABC Radio National.

Merit Grants awarded to Perkins researchers

Four researchers from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research have won competitive Project Grant Merit Awards from the WA Department of Health, including Associate Professor Julian HengRead more.

Postdoctoral researcher wins research grant

Hannah Vanyai (postdoctoral researcher in the Heng Laboratory) has won an Ada Bartholomew Medical Research Grant from UWA to pursue her work on a novel preclinical model of childhood brain disorder. Funds from this grant will support Hannah’s leadership in this project, foster an international collaboration and form the basis of on-going studies on the genetics of Brain Growth and Disease.

‘Brain Growth and Disease’ researchers win research trip

Ivan Gladwyn-Ng (a postdoc from the Heng lab) and Linh Ngo (a graduate research assistant from the Heng lab) have both been successful in their application to attend a week long, all expenses paid trip to South Korea to attend the IBRO/ISN/APSN advanced school on Neuroscience in June. Ivan will attend Track 1 of their training program to learn advanced techniques to manipulate neurons in the brain in vivo, while Linh is streamed to Track 2 and will learn ultramicroscopy (TEM and SEM) methods to analyse the connections between nerve cells. It was a competitive application process based on their academic CVs.

Understanding the neurobiology of human brain disorders – the appeal of a scientist

Here in Western Australia lie significant resources and expertise to enable us to be a leading force in understanding the genetics and neurobiology of brain disorders. Read more [Medicus].

Young scientists excited by BioDiscovery Lab

The first students from a metropolitan primary school to visit the Lotterywest BioDiscovery Centre have been introduced to the tools used by medical researchers during a special education session at the Perkins. Read more [Lotterywest BioDiscovery Centre].

Meeting of the minds

Associate Professor Julian Heng was recently invited to present his research at the 12th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific Society for Neurochemistry, held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. In addition to his speaking engagement, A/Professor Heng was invited to the Institute of Brain Science, at the National Yang-Ming University, to visit their laboratories and to interact with local researchers. A/Professor Heng said these interactions were important for establishing collaborative networks across Southeast Asia, and to work with prominent researchers studying the genetic mechanisms which control the growth and function of the brain.

Vital gene in brain puzzle unlocked

Researchers have unlocked the workings of one of the major genes responsible for healthy brain function, which will steer their hunt for ways to repair genetic mutations causing intellectual disabilities in children. Lead researcher, Dr Julian Heng, said they had found that the gene, TUBB5, was vital for the connective wiring between brain cells. Read more [Herald Sun].

Intellectual disability may be caused by prenatal gene mutation

The mutation of a gene vital for foetal brain development could be responsible for impaired mental function in children born with intellectual disabilities, Australian researchers have discovered. The gene, TUBB5, is critical for building connections between nerve cells of the brain involved in speech, sight, co-ordination and higher level cognition said lead researcher Dr Julian HengRead more [The Guardian].