Du Pré Grant recipients
These researchers have received Du Pré Grants to enable them to work in established MS research centres outside their own country
Last updated: 2nd February 2023
Dr Enkhzaya Chuluunbaatar from Mongolia will be working with Professor Helen Tremlett at the University of British Columbia, Canada on a project titled: “A Systematic Review of Comorbidities Associated with Disease outcomes in Multiple Sclerosis”.
Dr Gabriela Girafa from Brazil will be working with Prof Axel Petzold at the Moorfields eye hospital in London, United Kingdom on a project titled “Early treatment in Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein antibody associated Optic Neuritis”.
Dr Mariano Marrodan from Argentina will be working with Professor Xavier Montalban to validate treatment response scoring systems in naive patients treated with high-efficacy disease modifying drugs at Cemcat in Barcelona, Spain.
Dr Reza Naemi is a medical intern and researcher from Iran, who will join Dr Jason Plemel at the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, studying Reactive oxygen species as a novel age-associated inhibitor of remyelination.
Dr Amira Souissi is a neurologist from Tunisia, who will join 2019 Charcot Award winner Prof Catherine Lubetzki in Paris, to work on a project titled “Is progressive Multiple Sclerosis more severe among North Africans? Both genetics and environmental factors matter”.
Daissy Liliana Mora Cuervo is a PhD student at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul – Porto Alegre, Brazil, who will go to Berlin, Germany, to join Prof Paul Friedemann at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin to study “RENOVA – REmyelination and Neuro-Ophtalmological Visual Assessments in Multiple Sclerosis”.
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 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 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 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 Yalda Nikanpour from the Isfahan MS Society, Iran, will visit Prof Sean J Pittock and Associate Prof Dr W Oliver Tobin at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, United States. Dr Nikanpour will study novel diagnostic techniques for discrimination of tumefactive MS.
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.
Anibal Chertcoff from Argentina will be spending six months at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, with Professor Helen Tremlett, studying psychiatric morbidity in MS during the ‘prodromal’ period, i.e. before any physical symptoms have appeared. Understanding this process could have implications for diagnosing and treating the disease earlier. We are grateful to the Dutch organisation Stichting MS Research, who made this award possible.
Hajer Derbali from Tunisia will spend six months at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) Pellegrin in Bordeaux, France, with Professor Bruno Brochet, to study the cognitive challenges experienced by French and Tunisian patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in their everyday lives. Individuals with MS often experience non-physical symptoms, such as difficulties concentrating or making decisions, as well as problems remembering – sometimes described as a ‘brain fog’.
Maryam Ghasemi-Kasman from Iran will be undertaking a six-month project at the University of Alberta, Canada, with Associate Professor Dr. Fabrizio Giuliani. She will use genetic techniques to reprogram fibroblasts in order to investigate their effect on myelin repair in an experimental model of multiple sclerosis. Fibroblasts are cells that form a large portion of the body’s connective tissue, and in the lab, they can be reprogrammed to become other cell types, such as nerve cells.
Evelyn Heck from Argentina was awarded the Du Pré grant to spend six months at Harvard Medical School, US, in the lab of Associate Professor Francisco Quintana, on a project studying the relationship between the Epstein-Barr virus and MS. There is no single cause of MS, and instead the risk of developing MS may be related to a range of environmental and genetic factors. One of these factors is the exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus. With this Du Pré grant, Evelyn will study the molecular mechanism of how the virus might cause MS to develop. We are grateful to the Dutch organisation Stichting MS Research, who made this award possible.
Nasrin Jangjoo from Iran will join Professor Wolfram Tetzlaff and his team at the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries at the University of British Columbia (ICORD-UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. Her project title is “the role of p-tau in demyelination induced axonopathy”. In brief, demyelination is what occurs when the protective sheath (myelin) is stripped from the nerves. This is one of the defining features of multiple sclerosis. When the myelin is damaged, brain cells communicate more slowly with each other, which can damage brain function and control of muscles. This disruption of the normal function of nerves is called axonopathy, i.e. it is a disease (pathology) of the axons or nerves. Nasrin’s project will look at one of the molecular mechanisms believed to be responsible for demyelination.
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.
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.
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.
Andreea Lupu from Romania will travel to the Institute of Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis (INIMS) at the University of Hamburg, Germany to work with Dr Stefan Gold studying immunoregulation during pregnancy in MS: study of NK cell subtypes. This grant is supported by Stichting MS Research.
Federico Giovannoni from Argentina with travel to Harvard Medical School, USA to work with Dr Francisco Quintana (who has recently been awarded funding from the International Progressive MS Alliance). They will be looking at repurposing Miglustat to treat secondary progressive MS.
Reza Rahmanzadeh from Iran will travel to the University of Gottingen in Germany to work alongside Prof Wolfgang Bruch. The project focuses on a comparison of oligodendroglial expression level of enzymes involved in detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and kinases contributing to mTOR- signaling pathway between oligodendrocytes located in MS lesions, MS normal-appearing white matter, white matter of other neurological diseases and white matter of normal subjects. This grant is supported by Stichting MS Research.
Sadegh Modaresi from Iran with travel to Harvard Medical School, USA to work with Dr Francisco Quintana to study positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of astrocyte (characteristic star-shaped glial cells in the brain and spinal cord) activity in MS.
Zhuoqiong Ren from China will travel to École Polytechnique Montreal in Canada to work with Dr Julien Cohen-Adad looking at structural and functional alterations of cervical spinal cord in patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO)
Ali Afrasiabi, a Masters student from Iran, travelled to the University of Sydney in Australia to work with Professor David Booth, investigating the role of Epstein-Barr virus encoded microRNAs (miRNAs) in B cells, NK cells and T cells (types of white blood cells) for conferring risk in developing multiple sclerosis.
Manmeet Singh, a PhD student from India, travelled to University of Pennsylvania, USA, to work with Dr Kenneth Shindler looking at major determinants of the fusogenic properties of Mouse Hepatitis Virus.
Maryam Sadat Seyedsadr, a PhD student from Iran, used her grant to travel to the University of Zurich in Switzerland to work with Professor Martin Schwab, looking at the role of sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 2 in lysolecithin induced demyelination in mouse optic chiasm.
Sabah Mozafari, a PhD student from Iran used her grant to extend her stay at INSERM, Paris with with Professor Anne van Evercooren validating new tools to evaluate repair potential of human neural stem/ precursor cells in the adult demyelinated CNS.
Su-Chun Huang, a Phd student from Taiwan, travelled to the University hospital of Zurich in Switzerland, to work with Dr Sven Schippling on the functional and structural in vivo assessment of demyelination, remyelination and axonal loss in MS and rodent EAE models.
Zahra Nasr, a medical student from Iran, spent six months at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA, working with Professor Brian Weinshenker looking at prognostic factors and disease course in 600 patients with Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder.
Nadine Akbar, a PhD student from Canada, travelled to the University of Florence in Italy to work with Professor Maria Pia Amato, examining resiliency factors for cognitive decline in pediatric-onset MS.
Dr. Mauricio Farez, a neurology resident from Argentina travelled to Harvard Medical School to work with Dr. Francisco Quintana on the role of melatonin in MS pathogenesis.
Mahboobeh Fereidan-Esfahani, a medical student from Isfahan University of Medical Science, Iran, used her grant to travel to the University of Göttingen in Germany to work with Professor Wolfgang Bruck, looking at the differential role of B cell subsets in the central nervous system in EAE.
Dr Yael Hacohen, a pediatric registrar from the UK, used her grant to travel to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, USA, to work with Professor Brenda Banwell on defining brain directed autoantibodies in childhood relapsing demyelination syndromes.
Jibin Sadasivan, an Integrated BS MS student from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata, India. Jibin travelled to the University of Colorado, USA, to work with Professor Randall Cohrs on the dynamic regulation of host immune mediators in the central nervous system during mouse hepatitis virus-induced acute and chronic inflammation.
Richard Yates, a PhD student from the UK, spent three months at the University of British Columbia in Canada, working with Dr Wayne Moore on high-resolution myelin water imaging in post-mortem MS spinal cord and correlations with histopathology.