Congratulations to Viertel scholarship winners Drs Mastura Monif and Andrew Neal

Congratulations to Drs Mastura Monif and Andrew Neal on their award each of an $85,000 one-year clinical investigation scholarship for 2020 from the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation. Both researchers are in Central Clinical School's Department of Neuroscience.

Dr Monif's project is on slowing down gliomas using antagonism of a particular protein and Dr Neal's on accurately locating sources of focal epileptic seizures using artificial intelligence (AI).

Dr Monif's research project funded by her Viertel scholarship is on gliomas, a type of human brain tumour. She is investigating how to slow down their growth. She has previously discovered that a specific protein, called P2X7, can drive brain tumour cell proliferation. The grant will help fund her research into the effect of inhibiting P2X7 on slowing down glioma growth. This project is a collaborative effort involving Monash University, Alfred Health, Melbourne Health and Melbourne University.

Dr Neal is a consultant neurologist who works with patients with epilepsy. His Viertel scholarship will fund the use of artificial intelligence (AI) software to develop algorithms to learn from data recorded in patients to accurately predict where a focal epileptic seizure starts in the brain. This is intended to boost the number of patients who currently can't control their epilepsy with medication, but can be cured with surgical intervention.

Professor Peter Leedman, Chairman of the Viertel Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board, said that the 2019 applications for the Fellowships were of an extremely high standard.

“Each year we are impressed by the quality of the candidates and the incredible work they are doing in pursuit of new diagnostics, treatments and preventive strategies for some of our most intractable medical problems,” said Professor Leedman.