Towards a world free from Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

The Ngo Group, led by Group Leader Dr Shyuan Ngo, is interested in understanding how metabolic homeostasis at the systemic and cellular level can impact upon neurodegenerative processes. The Metabolic Exploration in Neurodegenerative Disease (MEND) research program centres on Motor Neurone Disease (MND), a fatal neurological condition in which the average life expectancy is 27 months following diagnosis. In MND, the irreversible degeneration of neurones in the central nervous system leads to progressive paralysis and eventually death. There is no effective treatment for MND, and hence no cure.

The Group works very closely with people who are living with MND, their families, caregivers and friends. The patient-directed research is based at clinical sites around Brisbane. The Group is assessing body composition and metabolic rate, as well as dietary intake, appetite regulation, and gut dynamics to understand the impact of altered whole body metabolism and human physiology on the clinical features of disease and patient outcome.

The Group is also using mouse models of MND, and human myosatellite cell-derived muscle fibres and human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurones to not only understand the mechanistic nature of MND, but to also conduct pre-clinical testing of potential therapeutic compounds. The combined use of mouse and human-derived models are integral to the goal of translating research findings into clinical trials for MND.

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As scientists, we are obligated to share our research discoveries and to contribute to the communities we serve. Those who form part of our MEND research program are actively involved in events that are aimed at raising funding and awareness for MND. We work closely with the MND and Me Foundation and with the State MND Associations that form part of MND Australia. We are passionate about our community, and we are proud and humbled to serve the wider MND community.