Neuralstem news

I am so excited for this company. I hope their research develops into a treatment for a devastating and frightening disease. I know all too well how awful it is

MND Research Blog

On 22 September 2014 Neuralstem announced the results from their long-term follow up of three participants who were involved in their initial phase I safety trial. Here’s what the news means and what may be next for Neuralstem’s stem cell treatment.

What is Neuralstem?

Neuralstem is the company behind an innovative neural stem cell treatment for MND. Stem cells are immature cells that have the capability to become any cell in the body. By transforming these in to ‘motor neurones’ it is hoped that they could be used to replace the damaged motor neurones in people living with MND.

Stem cells as a treatment for MND are currently unproven. This means that stem cells have not undergone rigorous testing, by means of a clinical trial, to establish if they are both safe and beneficial in MND. You can find out more about unproven treatments here.

Neuralstem’s stem cell treatment for MND…

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The state of the nation

This post see a change of pace. It deals with my other passion, science. I have been studying science in a professional capacity for 9 years now and the times we live in are making that career choice more and more dissatisfying.

I completed my undergrad degree in Biochemistry and followed it up with a PhD in Neuroscience. I went straight to a PhD from my degree because of the recession and the lack of jobs in the market. I had considered taking a year in industry before committing to the doctorate  but this was not possible and I moved forward with what I believed to be the continued career goal.

As anyone who completes a PhD in any discipline can tell you, its not easy, its not always enjoyable, you will feel like a lunatic on a weekly basis and you will be called a student by anyone and everyone. It takes a huge amount to devotion and critical, independent thinking and yet you will feel like a child. Of course lab working is enjoyable. I love benchwork (even if it more often than not doesn’t work) and generally the lab group present such a mixture of nationalities and personalities that it is always an enjoyable environment.

Inevitably towards the end of the PhD one must decide whether to stick with the prestige of academia or to move to more modern pastures. I deliberated long and hard on this, taking 6 months off while I scoured the internet for jobs I wanted. I wrote grants with interested PIs and interviewed all over the world. The world of academia pulled me back and since funding is abysmal in Ireland I found myself stateside in New York. My new job and situation comes with all the prestige and honor I feel my career at this stage should merit and I am throwing myself into the experience wholeheartedly (even when extremely daunted).

Now here comes the tricky part: science is becoming increasingly difficult for women (and somewhat men) to continue to prevail in. Funding is short worldwide so career tracks are being replaced by long research work periods that are not geared towards an end goal. Postdoc research is meant to act as a stepping stone position and instead is becoming a lifetime career. It lacks stability and the respect of a career position and I am finding it difficult to get some real prospective on my options and how to tailor my work to my future plans.

I am enjoying this adventure but I really feel that young career people today are being corralled by the older generations, and this is not just in science. The increasing age of retirement means that there is less and less room in eminent positions for new young minds. While this may be less obvious in technology based jobs (the refuge of our generation), it is especially worrying as a women who would also encounter glass ceilings, maternity discrimination and gender bias.

I don’t have an answer. Im not sure anyone does. I just hope that in two or three years the opportunity to become a fully fledged academic in my own right is afforded to me.

I’d love to hear anyones opinions or experience in similar situations.


New York, New Life <3

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change


So I made a big move in my life. Both in the literal and metaphorical sense. I followed my neuroscience career to the well-respected Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Its certainly been a transition. Talk to anyone who has moved to the big apple and not one will tell you it is an easy transition. The noise, the pests, the attitudes, the change in dynamic…..its all mind-blowing and a little exhausting.

And while I work more hours than there is in the day, I am also in the home of shopping and fashion!Whether its Sunday brunch with some tastefully dressed ladies of the older generations or the eclectic downtown scene, New York is vibrant, fresh and fabulous.

Although Im still low on wages I have wandered into a store or two. And now that the humid heat is subsiding and fall is gracing us with it’s presence I wanted to share with you some of my choice pieces for September in the Upper East Side.

Nanette Lepore…..Making me poor

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This delicious little find is a gorgeous pattern and a very flattering fit. The cinched in waist makes me tiny all over and the “smoking jacket” look is perfect for New York city cocktail hour. Paired with cigarette pants and some heels this is very glam.

Zara Staple Black Blazer

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I miss River Island more than I thought I would but I love a visit to Zara for affordable and fine tailoring. This black man-fit blazer is exceptional quality and looks incredibly neat and sophisticated on. For less than 100$ its both versatile and can be layered with scarfs and hats to bring you through to winter.

Walk a mile (or twelve) in new shoes


I brought enough black boots to New York to fill four suitcases but you can never have enough. And my wardrobe lacked a stylish pair of military boots. Guess had me covered. These boots are super comfortable for pounding the sidewalk (look at me speaking the lingo already) and its a mic splurge piece. I will be rocking these in and out of the lab all fall for sure.

For comedy value here is a picture of me, New York and my new Zara wool scarf that is going to keep me flu free for the whole winter…..(you are welcome)


So while I learn the ropes at work and how to handle the New York pace I’ve also been busy decorating my first ever apartment. Im finally feeling at home here although I haven’t hung all my pictures because well…..They look better on the floor…progress progress progress


Im back on track and ready to post post post