Our Vision is to:
- support neurological disease research and novel therapy clinical trials;
- provide Brisbane’s research institutions with a central co-ordination point for the ground breaking clinical trials and research which are being undertaken here in Queensland;
- effectively support expert researchers in the field through grant funding, cooperative institutions and clinical trial opportunities.
Just like the nervous system, it’s all about the connections.
of all stakeholders is essential including patients, clinical carers, donors and the research community.
in funding, research outcomes, reporting and communication.
Commitment & Resilience
There is no easy answer in research. We are willing to undertake the hard yards.
Nerve Connection Foundation was established in 2021 to address the gaps in knowledge between MND and its close relatives, and coordinated multi-institutional investigations.
It is the aim of the Foundation to create opportunities for connections between patients, research mechanisms, virtual and physical institutions and the next generation of medical minds.
The Nerve Connection Foundation’s activities will be targeted, specific and in face-to-face and virtual environments. All funds raised will be used specifically for neurological disease research. What’s more, with our research headquarters based in Brisbane, the Foundation is perfectly positioned for connection both here and abroad.
Dr Robert Henderson is the instigator of the Foundation. He is a Brisbane neurologist with over 25 years’ experience in his chosen field and a special interest in that bundle of rare neurological diseases, in particular Motor Neurone Disease.
Time in Northern America early in Rob’s career saw him working alongside brilliant minds – mentors who gave him the strongly held belief that diseases of the brain and nerves were medicine’s last frontier. Two decades later that frontier has been broached, and these once mysterious illnesses are far better understood.
It’s now a case of connections. Not just with nerves, but with wonderful people who are willing to support Nerve Connection Foundation.
Nerve Connection Foundation is run by volunteers, each with a specific area of expertise, ranging from neurology and research to finance, law, media and education. This keeps administrative and compliance costs to a minimum, which means the very best outcome for the valuable funding raised.
The People Behind the Nerve Connection Foundation
Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO
Dame Quentin Bryce AD, CVO is a Queensland lawyer, academic and human rights advocate. She holds degrees in Arts and Law from The University of Queensland and was admitted to the Queensland Bar in 1965. Dame Quentin has held many positions of service, including Director of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Queensland and the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner. In 2003 Dame Quentin was appointed Governor of Queensland, and later became the first female Governor-General of Australia, a role which she held from 2008 – 2014. A life of service has seen Dame Quentin awarded many honours, including Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Companion of the Order of Australia and most notably Dame of the Order of Australia in 2014. Nerve Connection Foundation appreciates greatly the support of this accomplished woman and wonderful Australian.
Associate Professor Robert Henderson MBBS (Hons), PhD, FRACP
Director and Advisory Board Chair
A graduate of The University of Queensland, Dr Henderson undertook his neurology traineeship at the RBWH. After attaining his fellowship in Neurology from the Royal Australian College of Physicians, he continued his studies at the Robart’s Research Institute in Canada and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA, becoming a Senior Neurophysiology Fellow.
He is a member of the Australian Medical Association, the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists (currently national secretary), and Co-Director of the RBWH Motor Neurone Disease Multi-Disciplinary Clinic.
Rob is very involved in clinical neuromuscular research, and the driving force behind the establishment of Nerve Connection Foundation. Rob’s passion for research and results makes him an excellent chair of the advisory board. His expertise, connections and dedication are an asset to the Foundation and its aims.
Wendy Blucher LLB, GAICD, AGIA
Managing Director and Company Secretary, Advisory Board Member
Wendy Blucher was appointed managing director of Nerve Connection Foundation in 2024. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and is admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Courts of Queensland and Victoria and the High Court of Australia. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Associate of the Governance Institute of Australia.
Wendy has 25 years’ experience as a commercial solicitor. She has worked in private practice and in-house, most recently in the tertiary education and not-for-profit sector. She was instrumental in establishing Nerve Connection Foundation and has served on the Queensland Advisory Board of Starlight Children’s Foundation. In addition to her role as managing director, Wendy contributes significantly to the legal, governance and compliance aspects of the work of Nerve Connection Foundation.
Professor Pamela McCombe MBBS, BSc, FRACP, PhD
Director and Advisory Board Member
Dr McCombe graduated in Medicine from The University of Queensland before training as a neurologist at Sydney’s Prince Henry and Prince of Wales Hospitals. She went on to obtain a PhD from The University of Sydney before gaining extensive experience in Neurophysiology in Cleveland, USA. Pam is former Head of the Royal Brisbane Clinical School in the School of Medicine and Co-head of the Brain and Mental Health Theme at the UQ Centre for Clinical Research. She currently has research interests in multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and other neuromuscular diseases. Pam is the past president of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists. She is the first female and Queenslander to hold the position.
Pam’s dedication to and operational understanding of the study of neurology and clinical trials make her a very welcome contributor to Nerve Connection Foundation.
Michael Williams B.Com, Dip FC, CA
Advisory Board Member
Michael has four decades of experience in accounting and finance, including the areas of audit, tax and business services. He is a Director of Hall Chadwick Qld, Chartered Accountants, an independent member of the national Hall Chadwick Group, Australia and New Zealand.
Michael has previously worked with not-for-profit organisations, has been on Assurance and Audit Committees, and now provides professional advice across a broad range of industries and business structures. His financial acumen, pragmatic approach and commercial nous, are assets well utilised on the advisory board. Michael also brings a considerate and caring approach to his work with Nerve Connection Foundation.
Advisory Board Member
Kylie Blucher is the Managing Director of Nine Queensland and NBN Television in NSW. She has spent more than 25 years working in the television and radio industry, and has extensive knowledge of the Australian media landscape. Kylie contributes immense understanding of marketing, communication and commercial strategy to the advisory board.
Kylie has held several board positions over the past 10 years, including Major Brisbane Festival (Deputy Chair), Surf Lifesaving Queensland Foundation, the Queensland Eye Institute Foundation, Youngcare, the Queensland Performing Arts Trust and currently sits on the Tourism & Events Queensland Board and the Committee for Brisbane.
Kylie brings to the advisory board a wealth of executive and business experience, and a real dedication to assisting others.
Melissa Watter BA (Journalism & Government)
Advisory Board Member
Melissa is a highly skilled strategic communications professional, passionate about the power of compelling organisational storytelling. Her journalism career included working as a senior political reporter, and reporting and producing roles in news and current affairs with the Seven and Ten networks. In 2000 Melissa co-founded a successful consultancy, Sequel PR, which for over two decades delivered strategic marketing, crisis management, and public awareness communications advice to private and public sector clients nationally.
Melissa has extensive experience working with scientists, clinicians and researchers to translate complex information to a broad audience and is currently the Director of Corporate Affairs and Marketing at the Translational Research Institute Australia.
Melissa is a trusted advisor of Nerve Connection Foundation, contributing enormous communication and commercial expertise to the advisory board.
Dr Helen Brown MB, BCh, BAO, FRACP, MPhil
Dr Helen Brown graduated in Medicine from the National University of Ireland, Galway. She relocated to Queensland in 2001 and attained her neurology fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. She was awarded a Master of Philosophy from Griffith University in 2011.
Helen is the Deputy Director-General of Clinical Director of Clinical Excellence Queensland. She is passionate about ongoing education and is the Queensland Chair for the Australian and New Zealand Association for Neurologists Education Committee and a Senior Lecturer with The University of Queensland.
Helen brings to her role as Vice Patron of Nerve Connection Foundation a drive to re-imagine how neuroscience care is delivered in the future by aligning a research program to a clinical innovation agenda.