Professor Jozef Gécz has been named South Australian Scientist of the Year at the 2019 Science Excellence Awards.

Jozef is a global leader in the genetics and biology of childhood onset neurodevelopment disability, including epilepsy, autism and cerebral palsy, is Head of the Neurogenetics Research Program at The University of Adelaide and is the inaugural Chair for the Prevention of Childhood Disability – a joint initiative of the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation, SAHMRI and the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute (launched 2016).

Upon receiving this accolade at an Awards dinner in Adelaide on Friday, August 9, Jozef said “my work has changed the understanding of the causes of neurodevelopmental disability, for early diagnosis and personalised interventions.

“These things can be diagnosed early, technically they can be prevented and some of these disorders are treatable, a small number of them but I am sure that number will continue to grow.

“My research focus is to find the causes, understand the mechanisms and go into finding the drugs which are going to help these individuals.”

Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni said Professor Gécz was a research pioneer with an enviable track record in gene discovery in intellectual disability, epilepsy, autism and more recently, cerebral palsy.

“Congratulations to Professor Gécz, whose work has helped to establish South Australia as an international leader in the field of gene disease discovery,” Mr Pisoni said.

“His research has had worldwide impact and his work has transformed the understanding of causes and underlying mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disability, leading to clinical trials, informed national and international policy, and improved health care delivery.”

In his role as Chair for the Prevention of Childhood Disability, Jozef leads a comprehensive multi-disciplinary research program focused on defining the origins and early diagnosis of childhood disability.

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