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A Royal Veterinary College (RVC) doctoral researcher working on a fatal childhood neurological disease has won an oral presentation award at a European conference.

Photo of embryonic zebrafish

Kim Wager, who is jointly supervised by Dr Claire Russell at the RVC and Professor Robert Harvey of University College London's School of Pharmacy, won the award at the 2nd International Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (JNCL) PhD Symposium. The event took place in Frankfurt on March 7 and 8. As a result, Kim was asked to present his talk, entitled: ‘A Novel Zebrafish Model of JNCL’ at the 7th European ‘Brains for Brain’ meeting in Frankfurt on March 9.

Commenting on the achievement, Dr Russell, Lecturer in Comparative Biomedical Sciences, said: “It's no surprise to me that Kim won this award - he knows exactly how to craft and pitch a story to his audience. In fact, the Batten Disease Family Association (BDFA), who funded this study, has frequently elicited his help to explain the science to families affected by the disease. Indeed, he has been asked to do just that at our lab open day for the BDFA.

“Kim's work is really important too - he is developing a disease model that will be used for drug discovery and could open the door to a treatment for JNCL (Batten Disease) patients. It's such a rare disease that it lacks decent levels of funding, so cheap and novel methods to search for therapies are crucial if we are ever going to be able to treat this debilitating, fatal childhood disease.”


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