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Research Profiles

MS Society of Canada Research Specialist: Peter Schwarz-Lam, PhD

Peter Schwarz-LamLess than one year ago, Peter joined the MS Society as a contracted research intern through a program offered by the MS Society in partnership with the Ontario Brain Institute. Peter had just completed his Doctorate at the University of Toronto, where he conducted research in sleep neuroscience. His work focused on studying the brain pathways involved in regulating muscle activity during sleep and waking, and looked at what happens to muscle function and repair when we’re sleep deprived. Peter’s strong background and aptitude for research communications, administration, and policy development, quickly made him an integral member of the MS Society’s research team. Peter is now a fulltime Research Specialist, where he provides key scientific support to research operations and communications.

“One of my greatest passions is to make scientific research accessible and interesting to everyone, no matter their background. Complex scientific topics can be quite daunting to wrap your head around, and part of my job is to distill these topics in a clear, approachable way.”

Reflecting on the importance of his role, Peter commented, “Scientific communication and knowledge translation aren’t just trendy buzzwords; often research findings are not shared in a meaningful way with the public. It’s absolutely critical for both researchers and people like myself to help bridge the gap between the science and the people who it will benefit from it.”

Research Events and Funding Opportunities

Calling all people with MS to help shape research in wellness

The MS Society is committed to investing in research that will improve quality of life for people living with MS. This includes research related to nutrition, physical activity and emotional well-being - collectively referred to as “wellness”. Before putting out a call for proposals, we want to hear from those who experience the ups and downs of MS on a daily basis. By completing our Wellness Questionnaire, you are playing an important role in shaping the course of research, by capturing what you are currently doing to improve wellness, as well as identifying some of the gaps and challenges. Your input will be shared with the research community, and help inform objectives of future wellness studies. Click here to access the Wellness Questionnaire.

The MS Society’s 2016-2017 Fall Research Competition is now open

The MS Society is accepting applications for Operating Grants and end MS Research and Training Awards. Interested investigators and trainees must submit their proposals online using the MS Society’s online grant administration system Easygrants. Depending on the type of research being conducted, researchers will be required to apply to either the Biomedical Research stream or Clinical and Population Health Research stream. For details on eligibility, application requirements, and policies, please visit Funding Opportunities.

Researcher studies are looking for people affected by MS to take part

The MS Research Portal was created by the MS Society to connect researchers across the country with potential participants for their research study. By doing so, we hope to raise awareness of MS research efforts in Canada, and improve recruitment and retention to research projects. The information listed for each study will help people with MS decide whether they want to participate, and if they are eligible. If you are interested in participating in a research study, check out the MS Research Portal to see if there are opportunities near you!

Hosting an MS research event in your community? Submit it to msresearchgrants@mssociety.ca to be featured in Research in Action!

MS Updates

MS Scientific Research Foundation funded study boosts efforts in pediatric MS research

(Image credits: woodleywonderworks / Flickr)Most cases of MS begin during adulthood; however, researchers suggest that 2 - 5 % of all cases are diagnosed in individuals under the age of 18. Under the leadership of leading MS pediatric neurologist Dr. Brenda Banwell, the Canadian Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Network, established in 2004, has embarked on a new collaborative study with support from the MS Scientific Research Foundation to assess the progressive burden of disease on children and adolescents living with pediatric MS. Read more…

Researchers describe “remyelination” molecule that could help distinguish between disease stages

A team of researchers from University of Milano in Italy analyzed a molecule in the blood of people living with different types of MS; this molecule, called miRNA-572, plays a crucial role in the body’s ability to repair damaged myelin. The study set out to determine if miRNA-572 can be used to distinguish between different stages of MS and better understand the degree of remyelination across the MS disease spectrum. Read more…

In Other MS News…

Research Blog

(Image credits: TipsTimesAdmin / Flickr)The announcement of the MS Scientific Research Foundation-funded collaborative grant to study the impact of MS in children and adolescents has generated a lot of excitement among people living with MS across all ages. In her research blog, MS Society Vice-President, Research Dr. Karen Lee provides her perspective on this landmark study while emphasizing the importance of the collaborative spirit, which transcends scientific disciplines and local boundaries, that’s an essential ingredient to advancing our knowledge of the earliest events that lead to MS.

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