Nicole Ball

Nicole Ball
School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Field of Research:
Chemical Sciences; Environmental Sciences; Studies in Human Society
Dr Shaneel Chandra; Dr James Chapman; Dr Wei-Peng Teo
Student Type:
Masters by Research

Contact Details


Research Details

Thesis Name

Parkinson's Disease: Shifting the focus off genetics onto environmental factors

Thesis Abstract

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is the second most common movement disorder worldwide. The incidence of PD within Australia continues to rise at approximately 32 new cases daily. Prevalence rates within rural communities compared to urban environments is an especially concerning figure, 1.3-1.5% and 0.8-1.0% respectively. Many studies conclude PD is a multi-factorial combination of genetic and environmental factors. Three target environmental factors implicated in PD have been identified for this proposal; heavy metals, pesticides and illicit drugs. Chemical analysis of rural and urban water and sediment samples will be used to determine elevated target environmental species.

Why my research is important/Impacts

By the time a patient is diagnosed with PD, substantial and widespread neurological damage has occurred, leading to cardinal clinical symptoms. Currently, PD has no known cause or cure, thus, the discovery of a novel, pre-clinical (before the on-set of symptoms) diagnostic PD bio-marker is essential. The importance of the research is to advance the current knowledge base of environmental factors and PD. The expected outcome of this is the possible application of results in the development of a definitive clinical detection method for PD.


CQUniversity-Funded Stipend Scholarship