Dr Michelle Farrar has been recognised for her work in paediatric neuromuscular disorders with the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists’ Leonard Cox Award.
A senior lecturer in Paediatric Neurology at the UNSW School of Women’s and Children’s Health and Consultant Neurologist at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Dr Farrar and her team are investigating the mechanisms and the possible treatment of neurodegeneration in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
Only one in 10,000 babies is born with SMA each year worldwide, and babies with the severest type of this little-known genetic disorder will usually die before the age of two.
The award recognised Dr Farrar’s progress in improving understanding of disease mechanisms, diagnostic approaches and treatments for children with neuromuscular disorders.
These may cause severe physical disability and have profound implications for the health and wellbeing of patients and their families.
Dr Farrar is the first paediatric neurologist to receive the award in its 17-year history.
“It is an immense honour to receive the Leonard Cox Award and for my contributions in neuromuscular research to be recognised,” she said.
The award was presented at the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists annual conference earlier this month, where Dr Farrar gave a lecture called Findings in Nerve Neverland, using the story of Peter Pan to outline the synergy between child and adult neurology and how this is important in getting insights into disease and developing treatments.
The Leonard Cox Award was established in 2000 to recognise an investigator who has contributed significantly to neuroscience research at an early stage of their career.
Dr Leonard Cox was a leader in the early development of neurology in Australia and the first leader of the Australian Association of Neurologists in 1950.