Honorary Professor Kathryn North AM

Honorary Professor
Paediatrics & Child Health, Children's Hospital, Westmead

C29 - Children's Hospital Westmead
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

T: +61 2 9845 1906
F: +61 2 9845 3389

Biographical details

Professor Kathryn North will be the Director of Murdoch Childrens Institute as of February 2013.

Research interests

Professor Kathryn North - Head, Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research

Neuromuscular disorders constitute one of the major causes of ongoing disability in childhood. Children with neuromuscular disorders have significant and worsening disabilities; many children are unable to walk and, in severe cases, the weakness impairs the muscles of breathing resulting in death at an early age. The Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research was established to study inherited neuromuscular disorders such as the muscular dystrophies and staff work closely with the doctors and therapists of the Neurogenetics Clinics to ensure the laboratory discoveries today are translated into real answers for affected children and their families tomorrow.

The Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research (INMR) has seven teams working on various aspects of bain, nerve and muscle disorders.

* Skeletal Muscle and Athletic Performance

* Disease Mechanism in Muscular Dystrophies and Membrane Repair for Therapy

* Gene Discovery in Inherited Myopathies

* Neurofibromatosis (NF): Education and Learning/Clinical Trials (Tumours of NF1 and NF2)

* Clinical Trials and Quality of Life

* Neuroimmunology

* Neurosurgery

The INMR is a multi-disciplinary team involving over 40 clinicians, research scientists, genetic counsellors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists who care for over 1800 patients and their families.

The questions we seek to answer are directly relevant to our patients - our clinical trials can be immediately incorporated into treatments and therapies and our diagnostic service provides families with accurate diagnosis and disease specific treatment.

The integration of our clinical and laboratory research and the clinical interface with patients within a Hospital setting makes us unique.

Scientists within the laboratory continue to excel, with many junior researchers receiving awards for their presentations at national and international conferences.

Current national competitive grants*


Approaches to therapy for the skeletal muscle actin diseases
North K
NHMRC Project Grant ($293,430 over 3 years)

Molecular dissection of the functional regions of ACTN2 and ACTN3 and their contribution to normal variation in skeletal muscle function
North K
ARC Discovery Projects ($300,000 over 3 years)

Neuromuscular Disorders: Gene Discovery and Disease Mechanism
North K, Laing N, Nowak K, Clarke N, Buckley M
NHMRC Project Grants ($772,350 over 3 years)

Transforming the management of neuromuscular disorders from compassionate assistance to targeted therapy and prevention
North K, Laing N, Burns J, Clarke N, Corbett A, Refshauge K, Buckley M, McLean C, Kornberg A, Ryan M
NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence ($2,496,650 over 5 years)

* Grants administered through the University of Sydney

International links

United States. (University of Washington, Seattle - Department of Physiology and Biophysics) Investigating the role of the syntrophin complex in human muscle.
United States. (Children''s National Medical Centre, Washington) Investigating cognitive deficits in Neurofibromatosis type 1.
United States. (Harvard Medical School, Boston) Investigating the molecular pathogenesis of muscular dystrophies.
United States. (Harvard Medical School, Boston) Investigating the role of the alpha-actinins in skeletal muscle and the molecular pathogenesis of nemaline myopathy.
United Kingdom. (TREAT-NMD) Member of an international network relating to patient diagnosis and care of those affected by neuromuscular disorders, the establishment and linkage of patient registries and participation in multi-centre clinical trials.
France. (Institute de Myologie, Paris) Investigating the molecular pathogenesis of muscular dystrophies.