ARMI would like to congratulate Dr Mirana Ramialison on winning the Thinkable inaugural “Peer Prize for Women in Science”. Here, the Ramialison groups research into hacking the genome for junk DNA to tackle childhood heart disease has been recognised. Dr Ramialison is a thought leader in this area, and provides a fantastic role mode to ARMI’s early career researchers.
Every day in Australia, 8 babies are born with heart defects. Sadly, the only effective treatment available is invasive surgery in the first year of life. Further, the subtler types of heart defects can actually remain undetected until adulthood, conferring a risk of sudden heart failure later in life. In a few cases, the causes of congenital heart disease (CHD) can be attributed to gene mutations and environmental factors, but to date, the majority of cases (80%) are of unknown origin.
Dr Ramialison’s laboratory focuses on understanding the origin of CHD, which is crucial for its early diagnosis, and for the care of patients suffering from it. Using a bioinformatics approach, the group developed Trawler, a software program to identify mutations in the genome that can trigger CHD. The predictions obtained from Trawler are then validated using the Zebrafish, which has a heart very similar to humans.
This prestigious prize was awarded to Dr Ramialison by her peers. Here, Thinkable brings together the wider academic community of peer experts, where they openly vote, giving the prize the prestige of awarding the highest quality research that truly represent the collective consensus amongst thousands of scientists and researchers. This style of ‘Open Peer Prize’ is the first of its kind in the world in showcasing and rewarding the most exciting new research.
To learn more about the research conducted by Dr Ramialison and her team click here.