Sean Hegarty

In 2011 MSIF awarded 15 Du Pré Grants to enable young researchers from Canada, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Sweden and the UK to travel to work on short term MS research projects in Canada, France, Italy, UK and USA.

Marina Sonkin, Canada

The £3,300 grant will enable Marina, a graduate student at the Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, to spend six months at the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan where she will work with Professor Massimo Filippi and Dr. Mara Rocca to use diffusion tensor imaging to interrogate brain tissue integrity in pre-pubertal pediatric MS patients.

Javad Rasouli, Iran

The £5,000 grant will enable Javad, a graduate student at Tarbiat Moalem University, Tehran, to spend six months at Jefferson Medical College, USA, where he will work with Professor A.M. Rostami to study the immunoregulatory role of Bowman-Birk protease inhibitor on T cells in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

Stephanie Kürten, Germany

Stephanie, an MD/PhD scientist at the University of Cologne, will use the £3,500 grant to spend three months at working with Professor Nancy H. Ruddle at Yale University, USA, to study the role of tertiary lymphoid tissue development in MP4-induced experimenatl autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

Mohammad Amin Sherafat, Iran

The £5,000 grant will enable Mohammad Amin, a graduate research student at Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, to spend six months at the University of Wisconsin, USA, where he will work with Professor Su-Chun Zhang to study the induced differentiation of iPS cells to produce oligodentrocytes and their therapeutic potential in animal models of brain demyelination.

Giuseppe Chiapetta, Italy

Giuseppe, an MSc research student at the Instito Superiore di Sanità in Rome, will use the £5,000 to spend four months working with Prof. Richard Reynolds at Imperial College London to undertake the immunohistochemical analysis of post-mortem MS brain tissues to examine the possible interaction between the Epstein-Barr virus and the MS retrovirus in inducing chronic brain inflammation.

Ylva Nilsagård, Sweden

The £1,740 grant will enable Ylva, a registered physiotherapist and research supervisor at Örebro University Hospital, to spend two weeks at Oregon Health and Science University, USA, to study the use of the Balance Evaluation Systems Test to quantify and assess balance in order to develop effective therapeutic interventions.

Arash Nazeri and Tina Roostaei, Iran

Arash and Tina, medical students at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, will use the £2,700 grant to spend 3 weeks working with Professor Douglas Arnold of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University, Canada, to learn advanced neuroimaging techniques to quantify injury and repair of myelin sheaths, so that they can use them to study the effects of the remyelination-inducing agent 9-cis retinoic acid on exacerbation recovery in a randomized clinical and imaging controlled trial in patients with relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis.

Hasti Atashi Shirazi, Iran

The £5,000 grant will enable Hasti Atashi, a graduate researcher investigator at the Neuroscience Research Center of the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, to spend six months working under the supervision of Professor Guang-Xian Zhang at Jefferson Medical College, USA, in order to generate oligodendrocyte precursor cells from iPS cells and subsequently evaluate their remyelination potential in vivo in an EAE model of MS.

Darshpreet Kaur, India

 Dr. Kaur, a senior consultant physiotherapist at Bihar Neurodiagnostic Centre, Mangal Market, Patna, will use the £5,000 grant to spend 4 months undergoing advanced training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in MS while assisting with a randomised controlled clinical trial of cognitive rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis and assessment by clinical testing, cognitive test battery, cognitive ecological evaluation and neuroimaging (fMRI and MRI). This training will take place at INSERM U 1049, University Victor Segalen, Bordeaux, France, under the supervision of Professor Bruno Brochet.

Maria Podbielska, Poland

Dr. Podbielska, an adjunct professor at the Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Department of Immunochemistry in Wroclaw, will use the £5,000 to examine the role of ceramide in the pathophysiology of MS, and evaluate drugs that reduce cerimide levels and may prevent or ameliorate cell death in vitro, under the supervision of Professor Narayan R. Bhat at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, USA.

Arman Eshaghi, Iran

The £3,000 will enable Arman Eshaghi, a research assistant at the Multiple Sclerosis Research Center, Sina Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, to use fMRI and dynamic causal modeling to study changes in effective connectivity in the brain after cognitive rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis, under the supervision of Dr. Olga Ciccarelli at the Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK.

Doreen McClurg, UK

Dr. McClurg, a Reader at the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, will use the £2,520 grant to spend two weeks at the St. Michael’s MS Centre, Toronto, Canada, where she will receive specialist training from Dr. Paul O’Connor in order to conduct a research project to investigate continence practice and treatment for continence problems in MS, specifically the use of intermittent self-catheterisation, upon her return to Glasgow.

Lara Pilutti, Canada

The £1,481 will enable Lara Pilutti, a PhD candidate at the Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, to undertake an evaluation of the effectiveness of a community-based intervention using social-cognitive theory principles to increase physical activity levels in ambulatory patients with RRMS, and the effects of this intervention on disability, mobility and quality of life, at the Exercise Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, under the supervision of Professor Robert W. Motl.

Ricardo Josué Romero Moreno, Mexico

The £5,000 grant will make a contribution to the costs of a 12-month undergraduate internship at the Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, USA. Ricardo Romero, an undergraduate student at the Centre for Genomic Sciences, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Cuernavaca Morelos, will undertake a project to expand the functionality of the bioinformatics tool iCTNet to include new publically available information from a selection of bioinformatics resources, in order to create and analyse complex human traits networks in multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders, under the supervision of Professor Sergio E. Baranzini.

Valentina Tomassini, Italy

Dr. Tomassini, a post-doctoral clinical research fellow at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, will use the £4,680 grant to spend 3 months at the MS Centre, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, where she will assess, using clinical measures and fMRI, the effect of pharmacological modulation of inflammation with IFN beta therapy on brain plasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis, under the supervision of Professor Carlo Pozzilli.