Porter Neuroscience Research Center, Building 35A, Room 620/630
The Fulbright Visiting Scholars Program will host Dr. Melanie Cheung for a lecture about Huntington’s Disease among New Zealand's Maori. Cheung is currently working as a Fulbright New Zealand scholar developing a brain resilience training programme for Huntington’s disease. She is committed to exploring both Indigenous and Western scientific paradigms to help people with neurodegenerative diseases. Consequently, her work integrates experimental neurobiology, bioethics, tikanga (ceremony/customary) and Matauranga Maori (Maori traditional knowledge).
Over the past 6 years Melanie and her research team have worked closely with a large Taranaki Maori family that have Huntington’s disease, a dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disease that affects movement, personality, and higher cognitive functions. Cheung’s research projects include: (1) developing and testing a novel brain resilience training program for Huntington’s disease (with Brain Plasticity Institute, Auckland District Health Board and Taranaki/Auckland families); (2) developing a model of mutually beneficial partnership between Maori families and biomedical scientists/clinicians; (3) clinical and translational Huntington’s disease research (with Auckland District Health Board); and (4) Mahina International biomedical and behavioral health research training for Indigenous students.