2019 McDonald Fellowship recipients

The 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.

Dr Zahra Nasr from Iran has been awarded the McDonald Fellowship for a project titled ‘Gene-environment interactions: Pesticide Exposure and Risk of Developing Pediatric Onset Multiple Sclerosis’. This project ‘seek[s] to explore the effect of pesticide exposure in the context of genetic variants located in biological pathways leading to immune changes or neurological injury from pesticide exposures that may contribute to increase MS risk.’ It will take place in Dr Emmanuelle Waubant’s lab at the University of California, San Francisco. This fellowship has been made available through the financial support of Fondation d’Aide pour la Recherche sur la Sclerose en Plaques (ARSEP). We are very grateful for this support.

Dr Reza Rahmanzadeh from Iran was awarded the McDonald Fellowship for a project called ‘Myelin/Axonal brain damage and genetic susceptibility in multiple sclerosis: A GWAS-advanced MRI Coupled study’. Dr Rahmanzadeh aims to explore the relationship between genetic risk factors for MS patients and the extent of myelin and axonal damage as measured by advanced MRI techniques. This project will take place in Professor Cristina Granziera’s lab at the University of Basel, Switzerland. This fellowship was possible thanks to the financial support of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS).

Dr Zahra Nasr

Dr Reza Rahmanzadeh

2019 Du Pré grant recipients

Dr Bruna Klein da Costa from the University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil received the Du Pré grant to undertake clinical training in the field of pediatric MS. She will visit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the US under supervision of Prof Brenda Banwell.  Dr Klein da Costa will learn more about pediatric MS and other diseases with similar clinical features, including; neuroinflammatory pathways, potential therapeutic targets and current strategies in the management of newly discovered conditions such as anti-myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (anti-MOG) disorders, which are immune-mediated inflammatory conditions of the central nervous system.

Dr Sruthi Nair from the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology Thiruvananthapuram, India, will visit Dr Saiju Jacob at the University Hospitals Birmingham for a project on biomarkers. Specifically, Dr Nair will study the correlation of cerebrospinal fluid and blood neurofilament light chains in MS subtypes.

María José Ulloa Navas from Ecuador is currently at the University of Valencia, Spain. To complete her PhD she will undertake a training internship at the University of California, San Francisco, studying under Professor Stephen Fancy. There she will employ new techniques to investigate intraventricular viral CRISPR-Cas9 injections to modify migration of oligodendrocyte progenitor migration in murine demyelination models.

Dr Bruna Klein da Costa

Dr Sruthi Nair

María José Ulloa Navas

Dr Yalda Nikanpour from the Isfahan MS Society, Iran, will visit Professor Aly H. Abayazeed at the UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, US. Dr Nikanpour will study the accuracy and reproducibility of manual volumetric MS plaque burden measurement on synthetic MRI versus fully automated machine learning FDA approved software on standard MRI.

Dr Marco Aurelio de Caneda working at the Hospital Moinhos de Vento in Porto Alegre,  Brazil, will visit Professor Bruno Brochet at the Université Bordeaux-Segalen in France. His project is titled: ‘Early Detection and Prognosis of Cognitive Decline in Multiple sclerosis by Phase Sensitive Inversion Recovery (PSIR) in MRI’. These findings may feed into the development of preventative strategies in MS.

Dr Yalda Nikanpour

Dr Marco Aurelio de Caneda

We are immensely grateful to Stichting MS Research in the Netherlands for sponsoring the Du Pré awards.