Established in 1999, the Du Pré Grant is an initiative that supports research into MS. The Grants are offered to young MS researchers to enable them to undertake short visits to other MS research centres, either to learn more from each other or to carry out parts of joint research projects.
Dr Olga Ciccarelli
The First Du Pré Grant was awarded in 2000 to Dr Olga Ciccarelli, who had been studying in the Department of Neurological Sciences at the University of Rome. The grant enabled Dr Ciccarelli to spend six months working on two different projects with Professor David Miller in the NMR Unit at the Royal Institute of Neurology, London.
The Du Pré Grant offered me a great opportunity. I had the possibility to work on new fields in MS in a very prestigious centre. I was very lucky. After these months with the Du Pré Grant I had the possibility to stay here longer, working as a clinical research fellow in the National Hospital... and six months have become four years.
Ciccarelli O, Wheeler-Kingshott CA, McLean MA, Cercignani M, Wimpey K, Miller DH, Thompson AJ. Spinal cord spectroscopy and diffusion-based tractography to assess acute disability in multiple sclerosis Brain. 2007 Aug;130(Pt 8):2220-31
An Goris, Belgium
An has been involved with MS research since 1998. She initially started working on a research project on polymorphisms in the interferon genes in MS at the Laboratory of Immunobiology at the Rega Institute, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, where she was as an undergraduate pharmacy student.
There she became fascinated by the issue of multiple sclerosis, the pathogenesis of which is, like other autoimmune diseases, still largely unresolved.
An Goris was awarded an MSIF Du Pré Grant in November 2000 to develop her existing research into the role of the interferon-gamma chromosomal region 12q15 in MS genetic susceptibility.
The research was undertaken at the Queen’s University of Belfast School of Pharmacy and Department of Medical Genetics, using a new high-tech multi-capillary sequencer, for high-throughput screening, a piece of equipment unavailable to her in her home laboratory.
This project in Belfast will not only be very important for my work on chromosome 12q MS susceptibility but it also gives me the opportunity to learn from researchers working in another group and to exchange information and skills. This will certainly be a unique opportunity for me as a researcher and could elucidate mechanisms of MS a bit more through concerted actions of several laboratories.
A paper on part of An’s work in Belfast, covered by the Du Pré Grant, has been published in the August issue of the journal "Genes & Immunity". The exact reference is: Goris A., Marrosu M.G. and Vandenbroeck K.: Novel polymorphisms in the IL-10 related AK155 gene (chromosome 12q15). Genes and Immunity (2001) 2, 284-286.