Scholarship inspires young researcher

3 Dec 2014

A second-year Bachelor of Science student at The University of Queensland (UQ) has been awarded the 2014/15 Aleks Brumby Summer Research Scholarship for her academic merit and research potential.

Sophie Hudson will spend 10 weeks at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), working in the laboratory of Professor Stephen Williams on a project examining characteristics of neurons subjected to neurodegeneration.

Miss Hudson will observe electrical changes in the neurons of animal models with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease developed in the laboratory of Professor Jürgen Götz.

The project is part of the UQ Summer Research Program, which allows undergraduate students the invaluable opportunity to gain experience in a laboratory setting undertaking real-world research.

“I hope that my research may someday contribute to understanding the finer mechanisms of this disease, and to improving the quality of life of people who are afflicted with it,” Miss Sophie Hudson said.

“Moreover, I hope to learn as much as I can retain while working with world-leading scientists,” she said.

Miss Hudson will examine whether the electrical properties of dopaminergic neurons taken from the animal models are different to those in healthy samples.

“Dopaminergic neurons and their death are a hallmark of Parkinson’s,” she said.

Miss Hudson said she has always been intrigued about the concept of what makes us ‘us’, which drives her interest in neuroscience.

“I believe that neuroscience is the forefront of biological science,” she said.

“Despite all that has been achieved thus far, there is still so much left to realise in neuroscience, and I want to be there when that happens.”

The Aleks Brumby Summer Research Scholarship was established by Aija and Glen Brumby in 2011 following the death of their son.

Aleks Brumby had completed a chemistry degree at UQ and his father said they wanted to support others who had the same hopes as their son.

“We thought that if we were to do something; we wanted it to help another young person, like Aleks, with similar interests to him, and help to encourage them in their studies,” Mr Brumby said.

“His death has been an unbelievably awful experience, so hopefully we can play some small part in encouraging people to undertake brain research and help us understand the mind,” he said.

Previous recipients of the Aleks Brumby Summer Research Scholarship were Clara Tang (2011/12) Daniel Czech (2012/13) and Luke Sartor (2013/14).

Media: Darius Koreis, +61 7 3346 6353,