Life’s work to fight MND supports lab opening

Flinders University has honoured esteemed medical graduate and FightMND co-founder, the late Dr Ian Davis, at the naming of a new robotics lab.

The MND research laboratory, or Ian Davis Flinders University Biomarker Facilityat the College of Medicine and Public Health has been dedicated to the significant contribution made by Dr Davis in global research into the quest for more effective treatments or a cure for the disease.

Dr Davis co-founded FightMND in 2014 with AFL legend and MND sufferer Neale Daniher and Pat Cunningham, who lost his wife to MND in 2016.

He was the MND foundation’s inaugural chairman and courageously fought MND for seven years after being diagnosed with the terminal disease at 33, eventually succumbing to the terminal disease on November 1 last year.

Once diagnosed with MND in 2011, Dr Davis committed the remainder of his life to the development and progression of MND research around the world.

FightMND provided a funding grant of $318,500 to Flinders University to purchase the state-of-the-art robotics equipment to scale up a biomarker test in urine developed at Flinders University that can help to determine if drugs are working in clinical trials of MND patients.

The facility will test samples from Australian and international trials.

Flinders Senior Research Fellow and MND and Neurotrophic Research Laboratory leader Dr Mary-Louise Rogers says naming the facility for Dr Davis is a “privilege”.

“Dr Davis provided pivotal support for translation of Flinders University MND biomarker research to use in clinical trials,” Dr Rogers says.

Flinders Health and Medical Institute director Professor Ross McKinnon and Dr Mary-Louise Rogers with Dr Davis’s wife Dr Melissa Yang, middle, at the official laboratory launch.

“We also extend our thanks to FightMND for contributing funding to enable the purchase of cutting-edge robotics to fast-track the assessment of MND biomarkers in patient samples from both Australian and international MND clinical trials.”

The official opening was attended by Dr Davis’s wife Melissa and his family.  Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute director Professor Ross McKinnon also thanked FightMND and the Davis family.

FightMND CEO Jamie Howden says the facility is a fitting acknowledgment for Dr Davis’s tireless work.

“Ian will forever be remembered for his lasting contribution to MND research in Australia and globally,” Mr Howden says.

“This honour is a deserved acknowledgement of the commitment Ian gave to finding effective treatments and a cure for MND, especially while he was dealing with his own personal battle with MND.”

FightMND (originally founded as Cure for MND) is a not-for-profit registered charity, founded in 2014.

It was established to raise the awareness of Motor Neurone Disease in Australia, to increase funding for research to find an effective treatment and cure and to provide care equipment for MND patients. We have a clear objective – to a have a world free from MND.

FightMND is Australia’s largest independent MND foundation focused on funding large-scale, collaborative research and clinical trials.

The generous donations contributed by everyday Australians, right across the country, has enabled FightMND to raise and commit millions to cure and care initiatives.

Flinders Health and Medical Institute director Professor Ross McKinnon and Dr Mary-Louise Rogers with Dr Davis’s wife Dr Melissa Yang at the official laboratory launch.
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College of Medicine and Public Health College of Science and Engineering

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