Wayne State University

University of Sydney faculty member to join Wayne State University as Fulbright Scholar - International collaboration aims to establish international research program focused on CMT, one of the most common inherited neurological disorders

DETROIT— Wayne State University is pleased to welcome Dr. Joshua Burns who will spend three months at in the School of Medicine as a 2009 Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar.

Burns is a faculty member of the University of Sydney, Australia, and an NHMRC Australian Clinical Research Fellow at the Institute for Neuromuscular Research (Children's Hospital Westmead). He will work with Dr. Michael Shy and other researchers in the Department of Neurology and the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics to undertake research on Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT).

CMT is the most common genetic nerve diseases that causes progressive muscle weakness, painful foot deformities and walking difficulty. He will use his Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship to initiate long-term collaboration between a unique group of experts who are world leaders in many aspects of clinical and laboratory CMT research.

"Between the Institute for Neuromuscular Research and the Department of Neurology and Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics at Wayne State University, we care for thousands of children and adults with CMT,” said Burns. “We are dedicated to improving diagnosis, evaluating state-of-the-art therapies and establishing an internationally recognized research program to achieve coordinated excellence of care throughout Australia and the U.S." The ultimate goal of this international collaboration is to dedicate clinical research focus on alleviating the burden of CMT, for both patients and society.

 “We are extremely happy to have Dr. Burns working with us this summer and fall,” said Shy.  “One of the major challenges in developing treatments for patients with inherited neuropathies is that many of these diseases significantly affect children and young adults. There are few methods in place to evaluate disease progression in these patients and how impairment from the neuropathies alters their quality of life. Dr. Burns, in his young career, has already achieved an international reputation in these areas and his working with our group will accelerate research in these areas throughout the world. We are proud that he sought out our program at WSU to conduct his Fulbright fellowship and look forward to continued international collaborations between our two universities.”

Burns has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Podiatry) with First Class Honours from the University of Western Sydney and a PhD in Physiotherapy from The University of Sydney. He has won several awards including the University Medal for the Highest Honours Research Result, the Young Tall Poppy Science Award for outstanding achievement in Podiatry and Pediatric Neurology, an NHMRC Australian Clinical Research Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Novel Award for excellence in biomechanical foot pressure research.

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Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting, ranking in the top 50 in R & D expenditures of all public universities by the National Science Foundation. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. (www.research.wayne.edu)

 For more information, contact Julie O'Connor at 313-577-8845 or julie.oconnor@wayne.edu