The Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) are delighted to establish the inaugural MDA Research Fellowship, to be awarded to Dr Chantal Coles for 2019. 

Chantal began her research career in the primary industries, completing a PhD focusing on muscle and fat in developing cows. Chantal's current research focus is creating muscle cells out of stem cells. While these cells are currently 2D, the goal is to develop them into 3D to create an organoid (a 'mini-organ'). Organoids are valuable tools in medical research, enabling researchers to better study organ development, disease, and potential treatments.

For Chantal, the MDA Fellowship is 'pivotal' in enabling her stem cell research, which will take an estimated 5-6 years to undertake. "I'm incredibly grateful to be the inaugural MDA Research Fellow, and I hope that my research can lead to meaningful outcomes for families in the future."

MDA have been a significant and longstanding supporter of MCRI and have previously funded researcher salaries, scholarships, conference attendance and the purchase of important lab equipment. "We are extremely grateful for the longstanding and significant support of MDA," said Professor John Bateman, Head of MCRI's Office of Research. "Hopefully the establishment of a named fellowship marks the next chapter in our shared journey."

"MDA is passionate about research and the potential research has to influence the outcome for people affected by the devastating muscle destroying disorder - Muscular Dystrophy," said Boris M Struk, Executive Director Muscular Dystrophy Australia.

"The creation of the first MDA Fellowship for Dr Chantal Coles further reinforces MDA's commitment to MD research. Being a part of the solution is both exciting and personally gratifying."