2020 McDonald Fellowship recipients

The McDonald Fellowships enable young researchers from low- and middle-income countries to work in a research institution outside their own country, with a view to returning to their country to establish an MS research program involving the application of their newly learned techniques.

Dr Maryam Ghasemi-Kasman from Iran has been awarded the McDonald Fellowship for a project titled “Targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome in microglia cells: potentiation of the myelin repair properties of iPSC-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells from patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis”. She will carry out this project at the Division of Neuroscience of San Raffaele Hospital in Milan with Professor Gianvito Martino.

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 immensely grateful for their support.

Dr Amin Ziaei’s has been awarded the McDonald Fellowship for a project studying environmental factors and its interactions with genetics to affect disease course in pediatric multiple sclerosis. He will carry out this project in Professor Emmanuelle Waubant’s lab at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in the United States. The topic is of importance to people affected by MS and Amin has a clear plan on returning to Iran. Prof Waubant is also the President of the International Women in MS Network (iWiMS).

Dr Maryam Ghasemi-Kasman

Dr Amin Ziaei

This fellowship was made possible thanks to the financial support of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS). We are truly grateful for their support.


2020 Du Pré Grant recipients

Dr Mashina Chomba is a neurologist from Zambia and will conduct a project with Dr Deanna Saylor in Zambia on The Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in Zambia. The diagnosis of MS is rare in Zambia due to under-recognition, and this situation cannot change without capacity building activities around the country as proposed through this work. With the support provided through this award, five centers around Zambia will be reached as part of the project.

Dr Majid Pahlevan Kakhki is a post-doctoral researcher from Iran who will do a project with Dr Thomas M Durcan at McGill University, studying the mechanisms underlying MS progression using epigenome-editing tools and mini-brain organoids.

Dr Mashina Chomba

Dr Majid Pahlevan Kakhki

Dr Milena Pitombeira is a neurologist and PhD student from Brazil, who will conduct a project with Prof Bruno Stankoff at the ICM, Paris Brain Institute, France. Her project is titled “Defining lesion-specific signature in relapsing-remitting and progressive forms of multiple sclerosis: a multi-tracer PET/MRI”.

Dr Özgür Albayrak from Turkey is a post-doctoral scientists who will conduct a project with Prof Atay Vural at the Koç University Research Center for Translational Medicine studying the features of human CD56+CD20+ cells and their clinical relevance to MS.

Dr Milena Pitombeira

Dr Özgür Albayrak

Dr Guido David Vazquez is a medical doctor from Argentina will conduct a project with Prof Adriana Carrá at the British Hospital from Buenos Aires in Argentina. Guido’s project is titled: “Wellness and multiple sclerosis: Multidisciplinary online program to improve anxiety, depression, stressful and fatigue in relapsing remitting and progressive forms in an underdevelopment country.”


Dr Guido David Vazquez