The Partnership

Firstly, for District Chairmen and Lions generally, it is important to note that Lions Australia Spinal Cord Fellowship and StepAhead Australia are two totally separate entities. The Fellowship is a Traralgon Lions Club project and StepAhead is an outside research organisation. The Fellowship raises funds from Lions Clubs in support of StepAhead activities.

Both Dr George Owen and his wife Barbara are Lions club members and the principals of StepAhead Australia.

There is currently scientist who holds a Lions Spinal Cord Fellowships (LASCF). On request by the scientist for funding to StepAhead Australia, and after review by their Scientific Board, the StepAhead management committee considers the request to ensure it fits the Fellowship guidelines. Once approved, the Lions Fellowship committee receives a written request for the funds. It may be a request for supportive funding for a submission, equipment or research related travel.

Once approved by the Lions Fellowship committee, Lions funds are transferred to StepAhead for payment to, or on behalf of, the Fellowship holders in accordance with the request.

Some examples:

  • $141,000 to purchase a Zeiss Axio Observer microscope, computer and software for use by Fellowship holders to study the use of Decorin.
  • Over $150,000 was provided in 2013 for the purchase of a dotSlide microscope including a dedicated computer and camera to enable analysis of images. This amount included an LCIF Grant of $US75,000. The dotSlide microscope will save weeks of microscopy work with large images being produced in 8 minutes where it previously took up to 2 days.
  • $36,000 to purchase a QuantStudio quantitative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine that allows rapid and precise measurements of changes in the expression of multiple genes simultaneously. An EzHyb hybridization oven was purchased for $6,500 to visualize gene expression in spinal cord tissue sections using a technique called in situ hybridization.