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Monday, 13 April 2015

Rising star in HD research

Dr Govinda Poudel is an ECR and an up-and-coming rising star within the School of Psychological Sciences and his recent achievements are a testament to this. For example, in 2015 he was awarded the only Faculty of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Sciences Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship and just recently he was awarded a very prestigious research fellowship for 2 years by the Hereditary Disease Foundation in the USA. In addition, he was awarded a NSW Huntington's Disease association research grant.

The Hereditary Disease Foundation aims to cure genetic illness by supporting basic biomedical research and has identified Dr. Poudel as the next generation rising star in HD research. Dr Poudel has a multidisciplinary background in Engineering and Neurosciences.

His research at Monash on the IMAGE-HD study (funded by the CHDI Foundation Inc. USA and NHMRC, mentored by Professor Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis, has made some significant breakthroughs, for example: (i) discovery of specific structural and functional neural pathways disrupted in the early stage of the disease (Poudel et al., 2014 Neurobiology of Disease; Poudel et al., 2014, Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience) and (ii) identification of neural processes that provide compensatory benefits prior to the development of symptoms (Poudel et al., 2014, Brain Structure and Function).

These findings have major implications for the future development of non-pharmacological interventions that aim to slow down the progression of atrophy in HD. The recent research fellowship awarded by the Hereditary Disease Foundation in the USA will allow Dr. Poudel to focus more on developing novel models of how atrophy spreads in the HD brain and how this relates to the development of overt symptoms.

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