4 November 2013

The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Dr Jian Yang has been awarded $1.225 million to unlock the genetic underpinning of thousands of diseases including schizophrenia, obesity and cancer at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI).

The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Dr Jian Yang has been awarded $1.225 million to unlock the genetic underpinning of thousands of diseases including schizophrenia, obesity and cancer at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI).

As one of two recipients of the highly prestigious Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation’s Senior Medical Research Fellowship, Dr Yang will receive $245,000 per annum for five years.

“Dr Yang will apply his background in genetics and statistics along with his outstanding skills in computational biology to answer fundamental questions about the genetics of common disease and to develop software tools that will analyse millions of DNA markers,” says Professor Peter Visscher, who recruited Dr Yang to Australia in 2008.

“This will give us a better understanding of why some people are more susceptible to disease than others.”

In what has been a very successful year for Dr Yang, he recently attained a UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award for to work on identifying genetic markers for motor neuron disease (MND). He also won the prestigious 2012 Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize in biomedical research.

“This is a wonderful achievement and recipients of this prestigious Fellowship have historically become leaders in their field of science,” says QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett.

QBI’s Deputy Director (Research), Professor Pankaj Sah, was the first recipient of the Viertel Charitable Foundation’s Senior Medical Research Fellowship when it was launched in 1995.