Friedreich Ataxia (FA) is a progressive neurodegenerative genetic disorder that results in a range of symptoms including incoordination, muscle weakness, speech problems and heart disease. There is currently an international push to identify treatments that could halt or cure this life shortening condition. As part of this push, comprehensive natural history neuroimaging studies of FA are urgently needed. Monash University is leading TRACK-FA, a global natural history study that tracks the neurobiological changes underlying FA. TRACK-FA is a collaboration between seven international universities, and is sponsored by the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance in the USA as well as leading industry partners. TRACK-FA aims to improve understanding of the natural history of FA, validate neuroimaging markers in FA to deliver a set of trial-ready biomarkers, and to develop a comprehensive database to facilitate ongoing community research and discovery. This project involves mapping FA disease progression by analysing pre-existing TRACK-FA neuroimaging data of the brain and spinal cord acquired using multiple imaging modalities. Findings will provide researchers and pharmacological companies with a suite of neuroimaging tools that will improve the sensitivity of outcome measures in clinical trials and enhance the development of therapeutic interventions. We are seeking a PhD student who is successful at securing a Monash University PhD stipend scholarship who will work on advancing the neuroimaging analysis of this project as part of their research thesis. Some prior knowledge of neuroimaging analyses, computer scripting, and/or statistical methods could be advantageous, but are not mandatory.
Friedreich ataxia, neurodegeneration, neuroimaging, cognitive
The Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health
Top-up scholarship funding available