SOBR Co-Founder – Christina Mo

Christina is a 3rd year PhD student investigating the effects of stress on the onset of Huntington’s disease in mice. After a successful Honours year at the University of WA, she made the move from Perth to embark on her PhD at Florey Neuroscience Institutes at the Melbourne Brain Centre. “I see Melbourne as a neuroscience hub. That’s why we need to develop a more collaborative and research-savvy next generation of neuro researchers – hence SOBR.”

Christina has always been drawn to the study of gene-environment interactions in addition to the higher cognition of humans. With a solid background in neuroscience and pathology, she also has experience investigating cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, comparative neurology and neural plasticity.

Christina has published in a high-ranking journal (FASEB), won a prize at the Florey’s annual student presentations and also obtained various travel awards for national and international conferences. She has also visited and presented her work to reknowned laboratories in the UK.

Along-side academic acheivements, Christina had a very busy 2011 Presidency in the Florey’s student society (SOFI), leading the committee through inter-departmental amazing races, careers forums, mentor schemes, networking nights and raised funds for the Red Cross and for other PhD students in need. She is also active in the community and helped mould Melbourne University’s new PhD Course in Neuroscience through her position on the Neuroscience Steering Committee. Her involvement in SOBR was natural: “This is something i really believe in and it’s awesome when others get it as well.” Christina hopes to continue contributing to the exciting world of neuroscience – both here and overseas.

SOBR Co-Founder – Jo Stratton

Jo Stratton is currently completing her PhD at the Florey Neurosciences Institutes under Dr Tobias Merson and Prof Trevor Kilpatrick. Using a novel mouse model, she is attempting to understand the complex relationship between function, pathology, plasticity and regeneration initiated following myelinating glia death. Jo has been awarded several best oral and/or poster presentation prizes at international and national conferences for this work.

In addition to her academic success, Jo has excelled at leading the young generation of medical researchers in Melbourne. She was elected as president of the student society at her institute, and cofounded the Melbourne-wide medical research network for young researchers, SOBR. She has represented the student’s of Melbourne on several committees, including the Society for Neuroscience Melbourne Chapter and the Melbourne Neuroscience Graduate Research Course steering committee.

Jo believes it to be important to bridge the gap between the community at large and scientists. She has been an invited speaker to present to lay communities, including high schools and Rotary Clubs across Australia. Jo also leads a team of medical researchers at an annual fun run to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. To date, her team has fundraised over $15,000 towards Multiple Sclerosis research. Jo’s dedication to contribute meaningful scientific advances that will impact the lives of disease sufferers, as well as her passion to support and mentor current and future young medical researchers, makes her a valuable asset to the scientific community, and the community at large.

SOBR Co-Founder & Events Co-Manager – Lizzie Manning

Lizzie Manning completed her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Melbourne and is currently completing her PhD at the Mental Health Research Institute (MHRI), under the supervision of Assoc Prof Maarten van den Buuse in the Behavioural Neuroscience Laboratory. Her project aims to examine the effects of methamphetamine abuse in a rodent model, with a focus on the development of behavioural abnormalities that are relevant to schizophrenia and psychosis. Lizzie has presented oral and poster presentations of this work at local and national medical research conferences. During her studies Lizzie has been involved in a number of student societies, including roles as the honours representative for the Students of the Florey Institutes (SOFI), president of the Mental health research Institute Student Organization (MISO), and co-founder of Students of Brain Research (SOBR). Lizzie has also acted as the MHRI student representative on the Melbourne Neuroscience Graduate Research Course steering committee, and participated in secondary school outreach programs with the MHRI/Dax gallery and Australian Neuroscience Society. This year Lizzie was also involved in establishing a Mental Health Journal club, with the aiming of increasing discussion and interaction between mental health researchers in the Melbourne Brain Centre.