Meet the Researcher - Rare and Genetic Disease Research

Sunday, 29 March 2020 - 4:05pm

Meet Dr Mathew Wallis, who happens to be the first clinical geneticist to be employed in a full-time capacity in Tasmania.

Mathew joined the Tasmanian Clinical Genetics Service (TCGS) in December 2018 and has several research interests, including identifying and addressing specific needs for patients with rare and genetic diseases.

Mathew started his university training in biochemistry and bioinformatics before going on to study medicine and then later qualifying as a clinical geneticist.

He is Clinical Director of the TCGS, which is a statewide service providing assessment, diagnosis, genetic testing, management advice, counselling and support for individuals and families who have, or are at risk of having, a genetic condition. The TCGS sees people across the life course including preconception counselling, antenatal counselling, paediatrics, adult-onset conditions and cancer genetics.

It’s important to note that new genomic technologies are providing greater opportunities to diagnose more conditions, while also enabling improved evidence-driven care and access to the benefits that arise from precision medicine.

Dr Wallis said he is excited and honoured to be able to apply these technologies in his clinical practice and research, benefiting many across our state. “I have a strong commitment to supporting equitable access to genetic services and testing. This involves collaboration with clinicians and the community to increase knowledge and skills and provide effective services,” he said.

The RHH Research Foundation awarded Mathew and his team an Incubator Grant for 2020 to assist in establishing a better understanding of the extent of genetic kidney diseases in Tasmania – this will be vital for our community.

Generously funded by Blundstone Australia, the overall aim of the project is to collect data to determine the extent to which Genetic Renal Disease (GRD) may contribute to Chronic Kidney Disease and End Stage Kidney Disease in Tasmania, with a view to improving service delivery through a multidisciplinary clinic and generating a critical dataset to inform future research priorities.

Dr Wallis and his team aim to find and provide more effective health services in Tasmania, and will be sure to keep you up-to-date as the project moves forward.

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