Dr Didu (Sandi) Kariyawasamn is a paediatric neurologist, and post doctoral researcher at UNSW Sydney. She completed her Masters at the University of Cambridge, UK, subsequently graduating from University College London in 2007. She embarked on her training in Paediatric Neurology at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK, gaining specialist expertise in the management of complex epilepsy (Great Ormond Street Hospital, London), movement disorders (Evelina Children’s Hospital London) and neuroinflammation (John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford). In 2022, Sandi successfully completed a PhD in the investigation of pathways to optimise diagnosis and care for children with Neurogenetic disease.
Sandi currently practices clinically at Sydney Children’s Hospital (Randwick), and as an early career researcher, holds the title of associate lecturer at the University of New South Wales. She recently completed her PhD (2022), evaluating the novel diagnostic and management pathways in paediatric neuromuscular disease (NMD).
Sandi is active in the field of clinical trials and is part of the clinical research team providing access to new genetic therapies in the field of childhood onset neurological disease. Her work has been translational in the domain of paediatric neuromuscular disease where she strives to improve health and psychosocial outcomes for affected children and their families.
Sandi's goal is to provide optimal care and informed choice for families, based on best current evidence, taking into account the values and beliefs of the individual. The ethos that underpins her work is maintaining a child- and family-centred focus to improve the health and well-being of her patients.
UNSW Paediatric Research Week Annual Prize (2019)
ANZCNS Best Research Award (2020)
Brain Foundation Grant (2021).
1. Kariyawasam DST, Russell JS, Wiley V, Alexander IE, Farrar MA. The implementation of newborn screening for spinal muscular atrophy: the Australian experience. Genet Med. 2020;22(3):557-565. doi:10.1038/s41436-019-0673-0
2. Kariyawasam DST, D'Silva A, Lin C, Ryan MM, Farrar MA. Biomarkers and the Development of a Personalized Medicine Approach in Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Front Neurol. 2019;10:898. Published 2019 Aug 19. doi:10.3389/fneur.2019.00898
3. Didu Kariyawasam, Kate A. Carey, Kristi J. Jones, Michelle A. Farrar. New and developing therapies in spinal muscular atrophy. Paediatric Respiratory Reviews. 2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prrv.2018.03.003.
4. Kariyawasam D, Alexander IE, Kurian M, et al. Great expectations: virus-mediated gene therapy in neurological disorders. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 2020;91:849-860.
5. D'Silva AM, Holland S, Kariyawasam D, et al. Onasemnogene abeparvovec in spinal muscular atrophy: an Australian experience of safety and efficacy. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2022;9(3):339-350. doi:10.1002/acn3.51519
6. D'Silva AM, Kariyawasam DST, Best S, Wiley V, Farrar MA; NSW SMA NBS Study Group. Integrating newborn screening for spinal muscular atrophy into health care systems: an Australian pilot programme. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2022;64(5):625-632. doi:10.1111/dmcn.15117
7. Kariyawasam D, D'Silva A, Howells J, et al. Motor unit changes in children with symptomatic spinal muscular atrophy treated with nusinersen [published online ahead of print, 2020 Oct 26]. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2020;92(1):78-85. doi:10.1136/jnnp-2020-324254
8. Kariyawasam, D., D’Silva, A., Mowat, D. et al. Incidence of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the modern era; an Australian study. Eur J Hum Genet 30, 1398–1404 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41431-022-01138-2
9. Kariyawasam DST, D'Silva AM, Vetsch J, Wakefield CE, Wiley V, Farrar MA. "We needed this": perspectives of parents and healthcare professionals involved in a pilot newborn screening program for spinal muscular atrophy. EClinicalMedicine. 2021;33:100742. Published 2021 Feb 19. doi:10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100742
10. Kariyawasam DS, D'Silva AM, Sampaio H, et al. Newborn screening for spinal muscular atrophy in Australia: a non-randomised cohort study [published online ahead of print, 2023 Jan 17]. Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2023;S2352-4642(22)00342-X. doi:10.1016/S2352-4642(22)00342-X
11. Kariyawasam DST, D'Silva AM, Herbert K, et al. Axonal excitability changes in children with spinal muscular atrophy treated with nusinersen. J Physiol. 2022;600(1):95-109. doi:10.1113/JP282249
12. Nguyen CQ, Kariyawasam D, Alba-Concepcion K, et al. 'Advocacy groups are the connectors': Experiences and contributions of rare disease patient organization leaders in advanced neurotherapeutics. Health Expect. 2022;25(6):3175-3191. doi:10.1111/hex.13625
13. D'Silva AM, Kariyawasam D, Venkat P, Mayoh C, Farrar MA. Identification of Novel CSF-Derived miRNAs in Treated Paediatric Onset Spinal Muscular Atrophy: An Exploratory Study. Pharmaceutics. 2023;15(1):170. Published 2023 Jan 3. doi:10.3390/pharmaceutics15010170
14. Farrar MA, Kariyawasam D, Grattan S, et al. Newborn Screening for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. J Neuromuscul Dis. 2023;10(1):15-28. doi:10.3233/JND-221535
15. Kariyawasam DS, McShane T. Brain tumours in paediatrics: when should they be suspected?. Arch Dis Child. 2015;100(12):1102-1103. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2015-308729
16. Kariyawasam DS, Samapio H, Mowat D, et al. Genetic carrier screening for duchenne muscular dystrophy: the outcome of over twenty years of genetic counselling on disease epidemiology in a single-centre cohort study in new south wales (NSW), Australia. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 2019;90:A8-A9.
17. Anand G, Vasallo G, Spanou M,..., Kariyawasam DS, et al. Diagnosis of sporadic neurofibromatosis type 2 in the paediatric population. Archives of Disease in Childhood 2018;103:463-469.
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