I am delighted to inform you that Professor John McGrath has been awarded the very prestigious John Cade Fellowship in Mental Health Research in recognition of his ground-breaking research demonstrating that low exposure to vitamin D in early life is a causative factor in schizophrenia. The Fellowship is named after Dr John Cade AM (1912-1980), an Australian psychiatrist working after World War II, who discovered the effectiveness of lithium as a treatment for bipolar disorder. The $3.75 million awarded to Professor McGrath over five years will allow him to continue to build national leadership and capacity in this area and QBI is enormously excited that John and his colleagues have been honoured in this way.
In addition, Associate Professor Naomi Wray’s work into discovering the genetic underpinnings of schizophrenia has been another highlight in this area with the publication of a recent paper in Nature Genetics showing, using a new method of genetic analysis, that a quarter of the risk of developing schizophrenia can be traced to genetic variations that are common in the general population and not due to changes in a single gene.
This edition coincides also with the tenth anniversary of our first philanthropic donation made by the Maclean family to support our research into motor neuron disease. This act of generosity led to the establishment of the Ross Maclean Senior Research Fellowship and the Maclean family has continued to support QBI ever since, pioneering a culture of giving at QBI, that has resulted in over $16 million in philanthropic donations during this time. Jeff Maclean continues to oversee our endeavours as Chairman of the QBI Development Board. I am extremely indebted and thankful to Jeff and his family for their wonderful support and friendship over the past 10 years.
Philanthropy has become even more central to QBI’s success, because competitive grants are increasingly failing to fully fund the costs of the research and the shortfall must be found elsewhere. In essence, every dollar received from the granting bodies requires another dollar in matching funds. Nevertheless, thanks to the generous support of our donors our work continues to flourish, and this month I am delighted to announce two new fellowships funded by philanthropy: the Peter Hilton Research Fellowship in Ageing Dementia and the Queensland Freemasons Senior Research Fellowship in Learning and Memory, supported by UQ’s Endorsment Fund.
The marriage of dedicated researchers with our generous donors continues to power our discoveries and keep QBI at the forefront of brain research.
I thank you for your ongoing support and look forward to sharing our latest research findings with you again soon.
Professor Perry Bartlett FAA