2016 McDonald Fellowship recipients

McDonald Fellowships enable young researchers from emerging countries to work in a research institution outside their own country, with a view to returning to their country to establish a programme of MS research that involves the application of the newly learned techniques.

Sowmya Sekizar, 2016 ECTRIMS-MSIF McDonald Fellowship recipient

Ahmad Bijar, 2016 McDonald Fellowship recipient

Sowmya Sekizar is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh. She received the ECTRIMS-MSIF McDonald fellowship to continue her work in the laboratory of Dr Anna Williams at the Scottish Centre of Regenerative Medicine. She will focus on developing a new mouse model to better understand the process of remyelination. Sowmya hopes to return to India to continue her research in the field of myelin biology and MS research.

Ahmad Bijar was completing his PhD dissertation in engineering and medical image analysis at Universite Joseph Fourier in France when he received a McDonald fellowship to conduct postdoctoral research under the supervision of Prof. Daniel Reich and Prof. Dzung Pham in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). His project will build a publicly available software package that performs automated detection and characterisation of MS lesions. Ahmad hopes one day to be able to establish a non-profit organization serving people with MS in Iran by supporting scientific research and promoting education.

2016 Du Pré grant recipients

Du Pré Grants enable MS researchers from emerging countries to make short visits to established MS research centres outside their own country, either to learn from each other or to carry out parts of joint research projects.

2016 Du Pré grantees Andreea Lupu (Romania), Federico Giovannoni (Argentina), Zhuoqiong Ren (China), Sadegh Modaresi (Iran) and Reza Rahmanzadeh (Iran)

Andreea Lupu from Romania will travel to the Institute of Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis (INIMS) at the University of Hamburg, Germany to work with Dr Stefan Gold studying immunoregulation during pregnancy in MS: study of NK cell (a type of white blood cell) subtypes. This grant is supported by Stichting MS Research.

Federico Giovannoni from Argentina with travel to Harvard Medical School, USA to work with Dr Francisco Quintana (who has recently been awarded funding from the International Progressive MS Alliance). They will be looking at repurposing Miglustat (primarily to treat Gaucher disease) to treat secondary progressive MS.

Zhuoqiong Ren from China will travel to École Polytechnique Montreal in Canada to work with Dr Julien Cohen-Adad looking at structural and functional alterations of cervical spinal cord in patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO)

Sadegh Modaresi from Iran with travel to Harvard Medical School, USA to work with Dr Francisco Quintana to study positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of astrocyte (characteristic star-shaped glial cells in the brain and spinal cord) activity in MS.

Reza Rahmanzadeh from Iran will travel to the University of Gottingen in Germany to work alongside Prof Wolfgang Bruch. The project focuses on  understanding the disease process that causes death of oligodendrocytes (myelin forming cells) leading to lesion formation in the nervous system.. This grant is supported by Stichting MS Research.