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In addition to this medal the Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation awarded the 2023 Emerging Researcher of the Year to Dr Carolina Gubert, who is part of a team researching the impact of treating gut microbiota in Huntington’s disease (HD) at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. This award recognises our best and brightest young researchers destined to be future leaders in medical research.

Presenting the award on behalf of the Foundation, Florey team leader Professor Anthony Hannan, said that Dr Gubert has demonstrated remarkable leadership, innovation and independence and is still less than five years from completing her PhD. ‘Carolina has already secured over $300,000 in research funding and received many awards and recognition here and overseas. She is now using her unique skill set to explore an entirely new approach to treating HD. This includes novel applications of environmental and microbiome interventions, as well as state-of-the-art approaches to behavioural, cellular and molecular analyses. These translatable approaches of microbiome-modulating interventions have never been attempted before in a preclinical model of HD.’

Professor Hannan went on to say that: ‘The findings at the Florey have the potential to identify mechanisms and therapeutic targets to prevent and treat the cognitive, psychiatric and motor deficits associated with HD, with implications for similar interventions in other brain diseases’.

The Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation was established in 1994 through a generous bequest from the estate of the late Mr Glen W A Griffiths, in appreciation for the care he received at Calvary Health Care Bethlehem. His will provided for the establishment of a foundation, independent of the hospital, to fund Victorians researching life-threatening neurological illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and MND as well as palliative care and stroke. New methods of treatment resulting from the nearly $7 million provided since it commenced are now used routinely to alleviate suffering.

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