Congratulations to Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research (INMR) scientist, Dr. Leigh Waddell, who was recently awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship.
Leigh, who is a senior postdoctoral scientist and the INMR Diagnostic and Laboratory Manager at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, was awarded the prestigious fellowship for her passion and aspirations in providing children and adults with devastating neuromuscular disorders a genetic diagnosis.
The fellowship will see Leigh travel to the USA for eight weeks next year to visit the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, one of the world-leading centres in genomics. During this time, Leigh will have the opportunity to work with A/Prof Daniel MacArthur, A/Prof Monkol Lek and their teams within Medical and Population Genetics; Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit and Centre for Mendelian Genomics.
Under the expert guidance of this world-renowned team, Leigh will learn how to use the latest and most innovative tools and techniques in genomics, with her ultimate goal being to bring knowledge of the latest genomic analytical tools for genetic diagnosis back home to Australia. These innovations will enable increased genetic diagnoses for Australian families with rare neuromuscular diseases of devastating impact and will allow identification of disease-causing genetic variants not previously captured by standard diagnostic techniques.
It is estimated that more than 20,000 Australians have some form of devastating nerve or muscle disorder. Currently, the diagnostic rate for these families is only 60%, but this is what Leigh is dedicating her career, and her fellowship, to improving.
Well done to Leigh on this incredible achievement.