Professor Robert Fox and Professor Ruth Ann Marrie

After an extensive global search, the International Progressive MS Alliance (Alliance) has named Professor Robert Fox as the incoming Chair and Professor Ruth Ann Marrie as the incoming Vice Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee.

The committee is responsible for setting and implementing a global research strategy for accelerating the development of new, effective treatments for people affected by progressive MS worldwide.

Peer Baneke, CEO of the MS International Federation, says:

‘I am delighted by the appointment of Professor Robert Fox and Professor Ruth Anne Marrie as incoming Chair and Vice Chair of the Alliance’s Scientific Steering Committee. They have both played inspiring roles within the MSIF movement for a number of years and we look forward to their leadership at the heart of the International Progressive MS Alliance.’

Pam Valentine, Chair of the Search Committee, CEO of the MS Society of Canada and a member of the Alliance Executive Committee said:

‘The calibre of candidates was outstanding and included leading MS experts from throughout the world.  We look forward to the leadership and talents of Professors Fox and Marrie in these critically important roles.  Each of them has a distinguished record of accomplishments in MS research and are recognized as effective collaborators.’

Professor Robert Fox

Professor Robert Fox is Staff Neurologist at the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis, Vice-Chair for Research of the Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, and Professor of Neurology at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.

Dr. Fox’s research interests focus on clinical trials in multiple sclerosis, innovative MRI techniques to evaluate tissue recovery after injury and the effects of MS treatments, as well as MS patient decision-making and tolerance to risk. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and books.

Professor Fox has been engaged in the MSIF movement in various ways over the years. He worked closely with MSIF when, at the initiative of the National MS Society (US), we collaborated with several of our key member organisations to set up the Alliance, ten years ago. Around the same time, he supported MSIF’s early research outreach in the Middle East.

More recently, he has been an essential partner in the development of MSIF’s and the MS Data Alliance’s COVID-19 and MS global data sharing initiative. He serves as the Managing Director of the NARCOMS MS Patient Registry and is a current member of the Alliance Scientific Steering Committee.

Professor Fox said:

‘I’m honored to take on this important role with the clearly-defined goal of advancing much needed treatments for progressive MS. Through the crucial work of the International Progressive MS Alliance, the leading experts in MS unite to share their knowledge and stimulate further discovery aimed at improving the lives of the millions of people affected by progressive MS.’

Professor Ruth Ann Marrie

Professor Ruth Ann Marrie is Professor of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba and Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg.

Her research interests focus on the epidemiology of MS including the impact of comorbid conditions on outcomes, etiologic factors for MS, and pediatric MS. She has published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. In addition, she serves as the Scientific Director of the NARCOMS MS Patient Registry and as the Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee for the MS Society of Canada.

Professor Marrie is a highly esteemed clinician and researcher who has played a fundamental role in the work of MSIF, such as by helping to shape the Atlas of MS. As an expert advisor to the project and co-author of the Atlas of MS paper in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal, her knowledge and expertise have been invaluable to the MSIF movement.

Professor Marrie said:

‘As a clinician, I am reminded daily of the challenges faced by people living with progressive MS and the pressing need to develop new means of mitigating those challenges. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to contribute to advancing the mission of the International Progressive MS Alliance.’

Professors Fox and Marrie will begin transitioning to their new roles and officially begin serving in 2022.  The current Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee, Professor Alan Thompson from the United Kingdom (former Chair of MSIF’s International Medical and Scientific Board), and the current Vice Chair, Professor Giancarlo Comi from Italy, will remain engaged until the end of 2021.

The Alliance is an unprecedented global collaboration of MS organisations, researchers, health professionals, the pharmaceutical industry, companies, trusts, foundations, donors and people affected by progressive MS, working together to address the unmet needs of people with progressive MS ─ rallying the global community to find solutions.  The mission is to accelerate the development of effective treatments for people with progressive forms of multiple sclerosis to improve quality of life worldwide. The MS International Federation is a proud founding member of the International Progressive MS Alliance.