Madison Paton

Madison Paton


PhD student

Research Centre

The Ritchie Centre

Area of study

Neuroscience and stem cells

Year of enrolment


Why did you choose Hudson Institute and your research group?

I chose the Miller/Jenkin lab group because of the focus on babies, brain injury and stem cell therapies. This was a theme that interested me and working in a supportive and collaborative group was essential to conducting my PhD. I am very lucky to be surrounded by successful and inspiring scientists and clinicians.

What is your research about and what do you hope to achieve?

The aim of my research is to explore stem cell therapies as a treatment for babies born preterm after exposure to inflammation. Many preterm babies are delivered after exposure to a damaging inflammatory condition of the placenta referred to as chorioamnionitis. This condition can cause long-term motor impairment and poor neurological outcome. At the moment, there are no therapies available to protect the vulnerable brain after delivery. The potential clinical benefit of my research would be to provide a new stem cell therapy that could protect the brain soon after birth and prevent against life-long disability.

I hope that over the course of my PhD I progress the knowledge of stem cell therapies. As a researcher, I want to educate as many people as I can about research and share my passion for science.

What is it like being a student at Hudson Institute?

Student life at Hudson Institute is exciting and challenging. I feel like I have learnt so many new skills and continue to expand my knowledge and experience in my field every day. Completing a PhD involves a lot of discipline and determination; you have to consistently put in hard work and stay focused for a long period of time. This long-term motivation is made possible by the dedication of the scientists around me as well as the incredible support I receive from other students.

What opportunities have you had at Hudson Institute?

Studying at the Hudson Institute means I always have new opportunities to communicate my research to the public and peers. I have presented at numerous local, national and international conferences. From these conferences I have published abstracts and met with many important scientists in my research field from around the world.

I regularly present and compete in student competitions based around the progress and results from my lab work. From this research, I have received project grants from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Kahli Sargent Studentship.

I was recently selected to participate in a Novartis exchange program so I can explore the field of pharmaceuticals and commercialisation. Following on from this I have presented at 'The Next Big Idea' competition to progress patentable commercial ideas. The opportunities as a student at the Hudson Institute are endless.

How will your research help others?

My research into treatment for babies born too soon with brain inflammation, could prevent the diagnosis of life-long neurological complications like cerebral palsy. Every result I uncover, helps contribute to answering the question of how stem cell therapies could change the way we treat neonates in the future.