Dr Bieke Broux, a postdoctoral research fellow at Hasselt University in Belgium, is the winner of the 2020 Global MS Research Booster Award.

The Global MS Research Booster Award – which was established by the MS International Federation, Stichting MS and MoveS – is a € 180,000 grant for researchers who aim to identify the causes of MS.

Dr Broux’s research investigates the behaviour of damaged immune cells which attack the brain in the development of MS. Immune cells are normally blocked from reaching the brain by the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer of cells that line the blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord. For people with MS, though, this blood-brain barrier can be weakened, which means immune cells are able to cross the barrier and cause damage to the brain.

‘To develop treatments for MS, it is important to understand this mechanism very precisely’ says Dr Broux.

Dr Broux’s research aims to detect these immune cells at an earlier stage and prevent them spreading to the brain.

Dr Broux is the second recipient of the Global MS Research Booster Award. Her commitment to international collaboration in research was one of the key reasons she was short-listed. Broux studied immune interactions in MS for two years at the Centre de Recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) in Canada.

The global MS Research Booster award is funded by the proceeds of ‘Climbing to MS 2019’, an annual sporting event organised by MoveS.

Find out more here.