A University of Birmingham student who began research in motor neurone disease (MND) after seeing her father loose a four year battle with the condition will graduate with a PHD in neuroscience on the 16th July.

Emily Goodall joined Professor Karen Morrison’s laboratory as a PHD student in 2003 to study the biology of MND. Emily’s work focused on understanding the role that genetic risk factors and excess glutamate play in the development of the disease.

The cause of MND in the vast majority of cases remains unknown and there are no truly effective treatments.  This work has contributed to the basic understanding of the mechanisms involved and could have future benefits in the treatment of the condition.

Emily’s decision to take up research into MND was strongly influenced by seeing her father’s battle with the condition. He was diagnosed with MND in 1995 and after a long illness died peacefully at home in November 1998.

As well as completing her PHD, Emily has also fronted a major fundraising campaign for the Motor Neurone Disease Association during her time in Birmingham

Emily comments: “Working in MND research has helped me come to terms with what happened to my father and given me immense hope that the mystery of MND can be solved and treatments found.

I think for anyone wanting to become a researcher working on something you feel passionate about, as I’ve been able to do in Birmingham, will help give you that extra bit of motivation needed when things get tough.

I will miss Birmingham, but am looking forward to new challenges and continuing research into MND.”

Professor Karen Morrison adds: “It has been a pleasure having Emily as a PhD student in our lab over the last few years.

I'm sure that her personal experience of seeing someone close to her battle with MND has given her added commitment and passion for her work to help her produce such  an excellent thesis.

I am delighted that Emily has chosen to continue researching MND and hope that we can entice her back to Birmingham to undertake further studies in the future.”

Click here to read Emily’s full story

For further information or request images of Emily contact Ben Hill, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, Tel 0121 4145134, Mob 07789 921163


Notes to Editors

Emily will graduate from Birmingham on 16 July at 4.30pm – media interested in filming during the ceremony should contact the press office. Photography can be arranged before or after the ceremony.