You are here

Outstanding leadership in advancing childhood speech disorder research

Institute News
Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 8:58am

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) Professor Angela Morgan has been recognised for her outstanding leadership in advancing the diagnosis, prognosis and management of childhood speech disorders.

Professor Morgan, head of speech and language at MCRI, has received the prestigious National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Elizabeth Blackburn Investigator Grant Award (Leadership in Clinical Medicine and Science).

Professor Morgan’s research has contributed to our understanding of childhood speech disorders including discovering new genetic causes for apraxia, and how this condition, which makes it difficult to speak, can occur due to a gene mutation.

Named after the Australian Nobel Laureate Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, a molecular biologist who received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine, the awards are determined by a peer review process of applications to the NHMRC’s highly competitive grant schemes.

The Investigator Grant associated with Professor Morgan’s award saw her team identify new genetic causes for speech disorders, develop a digital speech tool to improve diagnostic accuracy and efficiency and implement a world-first speech disorder genomics clinic.

“For a century we have struggled to understand what causes child speech disorder,” Professor Morgan said. “My team has revealed a genetic basis to severe speech disorders such as apraxia. Our work has also been translated into a world-first speech genomics clinic at The Royal Children’s Hospital, delivering diagnoses directly to families.

“This research, including counselling and clinical management of children with speech disorders, will improve health outcomes for children with speech disorders around the world.”

Professor Morgan said she was honoured to receive the award as it would draw attention to debilitating speech disorders, which despite greatly impacting on an individual and family were critically under-recognised.