2017 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.

Izanne Roos, 2017 McDonald Fellowship recipient

Maria José Ullova Navas, 2017 ECTRIMS-MSIF Fellowship recipient

Izanne Roos from South Africa has been awarded an ARSEP-MSIF McDonald Fellowship to undertake a project with Professor Tomas Kalincik at the University of Melbourne. Prior to this award, Izanne was working as a specialist neurologist at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban, South Africa. She graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree from the Mandela School of Medicine as the top student in her 4th and 5th years, with a range of awards. Following this, Izanne gained experience in a range of disciplines as an Intern, Medical Officer, and Internal Medicine Registrar, eventually specialising in Neurology at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital and Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine. Here she was responsible for the comprehensive care, and diagnosis and management of both inpatients and outpatients throughout the spectrum of neurological disorders at a quaternary level of care, including outreach at peripheral hospitals. Her project, Treatment Lag in Progressive and Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Forms, aims to characterise therapeutic drugs for progressive MS, investigating a potential lag between the start of treatment and beneficial consequences. Following this project, Izanne hopes to implement newly-learned techniques in her position as a consultant neurologist. Alongside patient care, she hopes to set up Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital as an MSBase cohort, coordinating with other academic units in the country and promoting international collaborative research.

Maria Jose Ulloa Navas from Ecuador has been awarded an ECTRIMS-MSIF McDonald Fellowship to undertake a project with Dr. Vicente Harranz Perez at the University of Valencia. Maria has a master’s degree in Basic and Applied Neurosciences from the University of Valencia. She has undertaken training courses in genomics, microbiology and neurology at the Universidad de Las Américas, University of Texas at Austin and San Francisco de Qui to University. In preparation for her project, Maria successfully developed protocols to isolate oligodendrocyte progenitors. These cell lines were genomically edited using CRISPR/Cas9 and biologically characterised using transmission electron microscopy and chemotaxis migration. This project aims to investigate whether genomic editing of oligodendrocytes can improve their ability to remyelinate injured axons. Success in this project could be translated into the development of new treatments. Following this work, Maria hopes to start a neurobiology research group in Ecuador, continuing research and promoting the teaching of neurobiology at an undergraduate level. One of her key goals is the advocacy of MS, through patient support groups in Ecuador, spreading awareness, and improving diagnosis and treatment.

2017 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.

2017 Du Pré grantee Pratiti Banerjee

2017 Du Pré grantee Nathalie Meneguette

2017 Du Pré grantee Ameneh Shahabadi

Pratiti Banerjee from India will travel to the Institute for Translational Neurology and Neurology Clinic at the University of Munster, Germany, to work with Prof. Dr. Dr. Sven Meuth. Pratiti aims to compare blood factors between methylprednisolone and immunoadsorption, in the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

Nathalie Meneguette from Brazil will travel to University College London, UK, to work with Dr. Axel Petzold. The project aims to trace the first steps of the neuronal death cascade in multiple sclerosis using novel multimodal retinal imaging techniques. This grant is supported by Stichting MS Research.

Ameneh Zare Shahabadi from Iran will travel to the Mayo Clinic, USA, to work in the Multiple Sclerosis Laboratory of Moses Rodriguez (MD). Ameneh will study the implementation of a protein free DNA aptamer in the cuprizone model as a potential remyelinating strategy. This grant is supported by Stichting MS Research.