19 December 2018

Perron Institute awards prestigious research scholarships

The effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) on sleep and respiratory function in people living with Parkinson’s disease is the focus of one of two scholarships awarded recently by the Perron Institute in Nedlands.

DBS is a surgical procedure used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms — most commonly the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as tremor, rigidity, stiffness, slowed movement, and walking problems. 

It uses a surgically implanted, battery-operated medical device similar to a heart pacemaker to deliver electrical stimulation to targeted areas in the brain that control movement, blocking the abnormal nerve signals that cause tremor and Parkinson’s symptoms.

The DBS study will be undertaken by Dr Srimathy Vijayan (pictured left), a medical graduate from the UK who holds a Masters in Research degree and is a Member of both the Royal College of Physicians (London) and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. 

Dr Vijayan is currently an Advanced Trainee in Neurology at Royal Perth Hospital and is scheduled to commence her PhD at the Perron Institute with Professors Frank Mastaglia and Rick Stell in January.

The second awardee, Dr Shereen Paramalingam (pictured right), also a medical graduate, is currently a Rheumatology Fellow at the Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Her scholarship will support her studies on shear wave elastography in muscle disease. This is a type of ultrasound medical imaging that is used to assess muscle stiffness.

Shereen holds dual Fellowships from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology. She has recently embarked on a PhD at Notre Dame University supervised by the head of the Perron Institute’s Myositis Research, Professor Merrilee Needham, and Dr Helen Keen.

The two scholarships are named in honour of the Perron Institute’s Founding Director, Emeritus Professor Byron Kakulas AO, whose contribution to medical and scientific knowledge has changed the landscape of neurology and neuroscience in Western Australia and internationally.

They were announced at a Perron Institute event hosted by the Hon Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia, and his wife Susie Annus at Government House in Perth on 29 November.

Two more Byron Kakulas Prestige Scholarships will be awarded in the coming weeks.