Title: Clinical trials in dementia at UQCCR

Speaker: Associate Professor Nadeeka Dissanayaka

NadeekaBio: Associate Professor Nadeeka Dissanayaka is a NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Leadership Fellow, and directs the Dementia & Neuro Mental Health Research Unit at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR). She holds an affiliate appointment at UQ Psychology, and an honorary appointment at the Department of Neurology, Royal Brisbane & Woman’s Hospital. She has had a career interruption for maternity leave and has worked part-time since 2016. Within her research focus of ageing, neurodegeneration and mental health, A/Prof Dissanayaka has held three research fellowships, published over 75 journal articles (>80% Q1), and has held 25 grants (>80% CIA). Her current grant income exceeds $4 million. Collaborations, partnerships, and consumer and community involvement are central to A/Prof Dissanayaka’s research. She collaborates with 50+ institutes worldwide, and have established partnerships with software industry, health services, aged care, and community organisations.

A/Prof Dissanayaka established and leads the UQCCR Consumer and Community Involvement committee.  She is also a member of the Faculty of Medicine Consumer and Community Engagement Action Group and Deputy Chair of the UQCCR Research Committee. Nationally she is co-chair of the Australian Dementia Network Early to Mid-career researcher Accelerator group, and internationally, she is chair of the International MRI consortium for cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease. A/Prof Dissanayaka is a recipient of many awards including the Faculty of Medicine Future Leaders Excellence Award 2021, UQCCR Outstanding Mid-career researcher award 2021, UQCCR outstanding PhD supervisor award 2020, and the Lions Medical Research Foundation Prof Ian Frazer Humanitarian Award 2019.

Title: Using latent class mixture modelling to explore cognitive subtypes in Parkinson’s disease

Speaker: Dana Pourzinal

DanaBio: Dana is in the final stages of her PhD in neuroscience within the Dementia and Neuro Mental Health Research Unit at UQCCR. Her research is centred around the cognitive symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), aiming to understand why certain people with PD progress toward dementia more rapidly than others. Dana uses machine learning, high-resolution neuroimaging (MRI) and advanced statistical modelling to explore the diagnosis and prognosis of cognitive subtypes in PD and their application in clinical trial design.

Overview: A subset of people with Parkinson's disease (PD) develop dementia more rapidly than others. Identifying those at risk of dementia prior to severe cognitive decline will facilitate person-centred care and help to target clinical trials and interventions to the appropriate patients. While some predictors of dementia in PD have been established, it is unclear whether the neurocognitive profile at baseline of a patient is related to their rate of cognitive decline. In collaboration with colleagues from Newcastle University (U.K.), we aimed to determine the clinical profile of cognitive subtypes in PD based on their rate of change in global cognitive ability over time using latent class mixture modelling. This talk discusses the findings from this study in the context of subtyping literature in PD.

About UQCCR Seminar Series

UQCCR Seminar Series

The UQ Centre of Clinical Research (UQCCR) Seminars are held fortnightly on Wednesdays from 12 pm - 1 pm (except during school holidays) currently on Zoom. The series features topics in multiple research fields, presented by invited international, interstate and local researchers.