The 2019 Banting Research Foundation Discovery Award supported by Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) Canada has been awarded to Dr. Nicholas Strzalkowski from the Department of Biology at Mount Royal University. The Banting Research Foundation and DMRF Canada are thrilled to be able to partner to support this outstanding early career investigator whose research focuses on sensory feedback in dystonia.
Muscle sensory feedback is thought to contribute to dystonia, however this has not been investigated directly. Dr. Strzalkowski’s research group believes that abnormal sensory feedback from specialized muscle receptors contributes to the involuntary dystonic muscle contractions and is associated with botulinum toxin treatment outcomes.
Dr. Strzalkowski’s research will use an innovative approach combining microneurography (technique to record from sensory nerves) and a robotic exoskeleton (to control arm position and movement) to provide the first direct measurements of sensory nerve feedback in dystonia. His team will explore the consequences of botulinum toxin treatment on sensory feedback and relationship with therapeutic outcomes. The research team expects to find elevated feedback in dystonic patients, a discovery that would help explain disease symptoms and help inform treatment approach.
The primary research objective is to advance our understanding of sensory dysfunction in dystonia, and to characterize the effects of botulinum toxin treatment on sensory feedback and impact on dystonia symptoms.