Developing new technologies to help monitor movement disorders
A ‘quiet achiever’ who ‘gets things done’ is having a big impact developing new technology to make a difference in the lives of people affected by movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.
In recognition of this ground-breaking work, Dr Thushara Perera has been recognised as a Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award finalist.
Dr Perera was nominated by Professor Hugh McDermott (Neurobionics Research Program Leader, Chief Technology Officer, Bionics Institute) for his research into new methods to monitor movement in those living with disabling neurological disorders. The research includes people living with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and multiple sclerosis.
Dr Perera, an engineer who completed his PhD in 2014, works closely with neurologists, neurosurgeons, physiotherapists and other engineers to develop clinical tools to help optimise and guide treatment for patients.
“In collaboration with clinicians and other researches, I have developed many technologies to monitor symptoms such as tremor, rigidity, postural instability, and walking problems,” said Dr Perera.
“When patients come into the clinic, we’re only able to get a snapshot of their condition, so this makes it very difficult to provide adequate therapy for them. The technologies I am developing are going to help quantify and track the health of these patients. Eventually, we hope that it will lead to better therapeutic strategies and improve patient outcomes,” adds Dr Perera.
Described as someone who gets things done without any fuss, Dr Perera has had a major impact in movement disorder research both nationally and internationally.
“I would describe Thushara as a quiet achiever who really delivers the outcomes but does so with a minimum of fuss or difficulty and he does that through working directly with clinicians and with patients as well,” said Professor McDermott.
“As an engineer, I like to solve challenging problems but if I can use my talents to help those suffering from chronic illnesses then that makes me happy and it motivates me to work even harder,” said Dr Perera.
With over 75,000 Australians living with Parkinson’s disease, Dr Perera’s research has tremendous potential to improve clinical practice and health outcomes nationwide.
The winner of the 2017 Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award will be announced on 16 March 2018, at a breakfast event in Sydney.
The winner will be awarded $25,000 to help further their research career, while the other five finalists will each receive $5,000.
More information on the Bupa Health Foundation and Emerging Researcher Awards
The Bupa Health Foundation is one of Australia’s leading corporate foundations dedicated to health. They are committed to improving the health of the Australian community and ensuring the sustainability of affordable healthcare through collaborative partnerships.
The Bupa Health Foundation was established in 2005 and has invested more than $30million to support over 120 projects in real health and care improvements.
The Emerging Health Researcher Awards is celebrating its sixth anniversary after being established in 2012.