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ECU mentored student to present Alzheimer’s research on the world stage

Monday, 04 April 2011

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Congratulations to Perth Modern School student Ailsa Brown, who has been selected to present her research into Alzheimer's disease to a panel of American Science experts at the International BioGENEius Challenge, held in Washington later this year.

The BioGENEius Challenge of WA is a unique opportunity for WA's top science students, providing the chance to work alongside experienced scientists to complete their own biotechnology research projects.

The research projects are then judged by a panel of experts, with two WA winners selected to compete against students from Canada and the United States in the international competition.

Paired with ECU's Chair in Aging and Alzheimer's disease, Professor Ralph Martins and Research Fellow, Dr Simon Laws, Ailsa's research will aim to explain why some carriers of the major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's still seem to escape the disease, while others don't.

Her research also provides further evidence in support of testosterone for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Dr Laws congratulates Ailsa on her being selected to present in front of such an esteemed international audience.

"This is excellent news and an absolute honour for both ECU and Perth Modern," said Dr Laws.

"It was definitely a rewarding experience to be able to work with such a passionate and down-to-earth person as Ailsa, whose work and communication skills is of the highest standard and I wish her all the best in the upcoming competition."

Professor Martins recognised Ailsa as an outstanding scientist in the making after his first meeting with her and her mother.

"Ailsa exhibited a strong desire for undertaking medical research from the very first time I met with her. It was also apparent to me that Ailsa had considerable support from her family which is another essential ingredient in nurturing her interest in medical science"

"I too would like to congratulate Ailsa for this excellent outcome and also her primary mentor, Dr Simon Laws who played a key role in advancing her understanding of the role of genetic factors and testosterone in Alzheimer’s disease," said Professor Martins.

Ailsa will be joined by St Hilda's student, Clare Moran, who was mentored with Dr Archa Fox, Head of the Cancer Gene Expression Laboratory at the WA Institute of Medical Research.

Ailsa and Clare will head to Washington at the end of June to be a part of the International BioGENEius Challenge, held from Sunday, 26 to Wednesday, 29 June, which is part of the world's biggest biotechnology conference, BIO 2011

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