Travel Story: Dr Clare van Eyk

Dr Clare van Eyk from the Robinson Research Institute’s Neurogenetics and Australian Collaborative Cerebral Palsy Research Group attended the International Conference on Cerebral Palsy and other Childhood-onset disabilities in Stockholm, Sweden in June 2016.

Clare was invited to give a talk on her research When is a mutation pathogenic? Functional studies on candidate cerebral palsy genes.

This is what Clare had to say about her experience:

 What was a highlight of the conference?

The presentation by Dr Michael Kruer on genetics of Cerebral Palsy was a highlight of the conference.

Did you meet any researchers or collaborators of significance? Why are they important to your work?

  • Dr Michael Kruer (USA), current collaborator on whole exome sequencing of cerebral palsy patients – Discussed further collaboration on additional cases and this has been actioned since my return from Stockholm.
  • Professor Nadia Badawi AM, Macquarie Group Foundation Chair of Cerebral Palsy – Opportunity to discuss our research and future possible directions in light of findings from other Australian CP researchers.
  • Rob White, CEO of CP Alliance Australia – Opportunity to discuss our research directions and possible future funding sources.
  • Dr James Rice, President Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AusACPDM) – Set up renewed collaboration with the Paediatric Rehabilitation Unit at the WCH which has led to further discussion of how we work together to improve clinical and genetic data linkage.

Did you visit any other labs or research facilities? How these visits will be useful to your work and/or career development?

I toured and visited the facilities at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm.

How will the experience support you and your research going forward?

Several new connections were made with international CP researchers. Conversations with key members of the CP Alliance Australia have cemented our ongoing relationship with them and led to an arrangement to report to one of our current financial supporters, the Tenix Foundation.

What was the most exciting thing you learned/experienced at the Conference?

Several informal discussions with other conference attendees following my presentation confirmed the involvement of some of our key genes in other neurodevelopmental disabilities (unpublished data).

What was the most interesting or unexpected moment of your travel?

Visiting the Stockholm town hall where the Nobel Prize for Medicine is awarded as part of the conference events.

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