Ataxia-telangiectasia: Treating mitochondrial dysfunction with a novel form of anaplerosis
Presenter: Dr. Sara Jose
Bio: Dr. Sara Jose recently completed her PhD in neuroscience at the UQ Centre for Clinical Research. Currently, she is working as a post-doctoral research fellow with Emeritus Professor Martin Lavin. Her current research monitors the effect of treatment in Ataxia telangiectasia (AT) patients as part of the clinical trial funded by the NHMRC Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). Her research also focusses in identifying potential novel biomarkers in AT. 
Presentation Overview: Ataxia telangiectasia is a rare inherited disorder characterized by progressive cerebellar ataxia, oculocutaneous telangiectasia, immunodeficiency, progressive respiratory failure and a predisposition to cancer. It is caused by mutations in the ATM gene which is involved in DNA damage response and repair. Currently, the Lavin group is involved in a phase II clinical trial that aims to investigate the benefits of an anaplerotic approach to improve the mitochondrial functioning to boost cellular process in AT patients.

Interventions to Reduce Anxiety in Neurodegenerative Conditions
Presenter: A/Prof Nadeeka Dissanayaka
Bio: A/Prof Nadeeka Dissanayaka is an internationally recognised leader in ageing, mental health and neurodegenerative disease. She holds a NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Leadership Fellowship and is chair of the UQCCR Research Committee. She is founder and director of UQCCR’s Dementia and Neuro Mental Health Research Unit, which is a multidisciplinary clinically focussed translational hub with extensive national and international collaborations. Dissanayaka has attracted >$7M via 24 (19 CIA) grants and 4 fellowships. She currently leads 2 large MRFF translational programs (>$3.6M) focused on remote psychotherapy interventions to reduce anxiety in dementia, and improving dementia diagnosis in Parkinson’s disease. Dissanayaka has an exceptional record of supervision. She has supervised 8 EMCRs, 23 thesis students to completion, and >60 medical and postgraduate psychology students in research. Fostering leadership in early to mid- career researchers, Dissanayaka co-chairs the Australian Dementia Network EMCR Accelerator Group. Dissanayaka was instrumental in establishing the UQCCR Consumer and Community Involvement Committee and the Faculty of Medicine Consumer and Community Involvement in Research Working Group. She directs the UQ Dementia Friendly Initiative, which developed Australia’s first Dementia Friendly Roadmap and Action Framework. Under her leadership UQCCR was recognised as Australia’s first Dementia Friendly Research Centre by Dementia Australia. She is chair of the International Consortium for MRI studies in Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson’s disease. In recognition of her engagement with the community, she received the Lions Medical Research Foundation Prof Ian Frazer Humanitarian Award in 2019. Her outstanding leadership is recognised by several awards including UQCCR Outstanding Mid-Career Researcher Awards 2023, Outstanding PhD supervisor award in 2020 and UQ Faculty of Medicine Future Leaders Award in 2021.
Presentation Overview: In this talk I will discuss the phenomenology of anxiety, how to recognise clinical anxiety and new interventions developed by our group to manage anxiety disorders in progressive neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease. I will focus on a new technology assisted and remotely delivered intervention, My Anxiety Care, currently tested in a Hybrid II effectiveness implementation trial nationwide. This MRFF funded trial examines the efficacy of the My Anxiety Care program and platform that connects to a new Quiet Mind voice APP in Alexa devices to reduce anxiety in people living with cognitive impairment or dementia. Simultaneously, a process and an economic evaluation are conducted to develop future implementation roadmaps for community, health services and aged care providers.

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.



UQCCR Auditorium and Zoom (