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It’s official: Sarich Institute open

On Wednesday 26 April, the Ralph and Patricia Sarich Neuroscience Research Institute (SNRI) was opened by Her Excellency, the Hon Kerry Sanderson AC, Governor of Western Australia.

The Ralph and Patricia Sarich Neuroscience Research Institute.
The Ralph and Patricia Sarich Neuroscience Research Institute.

Situated on the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Medical Centre site, the new $37.7 million research facility will accommodate Curtin’s Neuroscience Research Laboratory, the Ear Science Institute of Australia, the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science and the Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.

Professor Melinda Fitzgerald, Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor, in a joint appointment with the Perron Institute and Curtin, is leading a team of researchers, who are studying changes to the structure and biochemistry of nerve and supporting cells following neurotrauma, including concussion, and assessing novel treatment strategies to prevent these changes from happening. Professor Fitzgerald’s research will include pre-clinical and clinical studies, and aims to improve outcomes for patients with neurotrauma.

Associate Professor Julian Heng, Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor, and his team, are investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control the formation of the brain, and how neural circuits remain healthy throughout life. Associate Professor Heng’s research has potential implications for the early diagnosis of, and treatment for, neurodevelopmental disorders, such as epilepsy, intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder, as well as neurodegeneration.

The Sarich family donated $20 million towards the project, Curtin donated $3.5 million, the State Government contributed $5 million, $7.2 million was received in Lotterywest grants and the University of Western Australia and the Wheatley family donated $1 million each.

The construction of the five-level, 8,900 square meter building commenced in February 2015, and includes assessment and treatment rooms, tissue culture laboratories and facilities for neurodiscovery movement analysis, physiology research, experiments and cryogenic archival storage.