The Cowled Postgraduate Scholarship in Brain Research

Rachel McBain has been awarded the Cowled Postgraduate Scholarship in Brain Research.

Rachel, who has a Bachelor of Medical Science with Honours from Sydney University, commenced her PhD studies after working as a Research Assistant at NeuRA for three years.

Laurie Cowled established the Cowled Foundation to foster the careers of young women from rural Australia who will make an outstanding difference to the future of the nation.

Rachel’s project is investigating the control of the muscles that regulate breathing in individuals with spinal cord injury.

In such patients, respiratory illness is high due to the loss or impairment of voluntary control of the muscles required for inhalation, exhalation and for coughing. This leads to sleep-disordered breathing and higher levels of respiratory infection and mortality.

“Rachel’s project is one that has a great deal of fundamental investigation, but is directed to a very real and practical outcome,” said Prof Peter Schofield.

“Her work has great promise for improving quality of life for spinal patients by reducing the disease burden imposed by lung infections.”