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Research in Action

January 2017
Latest research news and updates from the MS Society of Canada

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Research Profile

2017 Biomedical Research Operating Grants Community Representative: Lynda Gregson


Community Representative Lynda Gregson (left) and MS Society-funded doctoral student Karissa Canning (right)
As part of a continuing series that puts the spotlight on this year’s Community Representatives, we caught up with Lynda Gregson. Lynda, who has been selected to review the Operating Grant applications focused on biomedical research, told us her story of living with MS and what motivates her to be involved in the research process.

Lynda was formally diagnosed with relapsing- remitting MS in 1996 after many years living with symptoms of the disease. MS took a toll on Lynda’s ability to maintain her physical functioning and independence, but with the support of her family she learned to turn to community resources and the research community for help. Two years ago, Lynda enrolled in an MS research study at McMaster University on exercise rehabilitation, conducted by MS Society-funded doctoral student Karissa Canning. “I was in the study for four months and was inspired by Karissa, the other study participants, and the amazing staff and volunteers at McMaster to continue attending the exercise programs offered by the university,” says Lynda. “Thanks to the program’s physical benefits and social support … I can honestly say that it has improved my life”.

A newcomer to the review committee, Lynda is excited to bring her continued interest in MS research and thirst for knowledge to the table. “As a Community Representative I hope to offer some insights from my own experience of living with MS for twenty years,” she says. “I am particularly concerned with the importance of presenting medical information to a lay audience in plain language.” Capturing the voice of the MS community in an effort to maximize the impact of funded research and make research more accessible to people living with MS is a top priority for the MS Society, and we thank Lynda and the other Community Representatives for their dedication towards achieving this goal.

If you are interested in joining Karissa Canning’s physical activity study, check out Get Involved in a Research Study below, or visit the MS Research Portal.

Research Events and Opportunities

Scientists, clinicians and community members come together to review research funding applications for MS Society grants and award

From January 23 to 27, scientific and clinical experts in the field of MS, as well as people from the community who are affected by MS, will convene in Toronto to evaluate research grant and award applications that have been submitted to the MS Society. Three review committees will meet to discuss operating grant applications in the biomedical and clinical and population health streams, as well as personnel award applications which support Master’s and Doctoral candidates as well as Postdoctoral Fellows. To learn more about this process check out the Dr. Karen Lee’s research blog.

University of Calgary seeking Assistant Professor with experience in Neuroimmunology

The University of Calgary’s Department of Clinical Neurosciences and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute are accepting applications for a tenure track position at the Assistant Professor level, specifically in the area of neuroimmunology. Qualified candidates must have a PhD, MD or MD/PhD, with at least three years of postdoctoral training and a strong publication record. They must show evidence of the ability to develop an independent research program. For more information visit the University of Calgary’s careers page.

The MS Society’s endMS National Training Program to host webinar on the endMS Scholar Program for Researchers IN Training (SPRINT)

An important arm of the MS Society’s research program, the endMS National Training Program (NTP) hosts a number of important initiatives that promote education and scientific training among junior MS researchers. One of those initiatives is SPRINT, which is designed for the elite MS trainee who wants to enhance their knowledge and skills in MS research. The endMS NTP will hold a webinar on Monday January 30 from 2:00-3:00pm EST to answer any questions and provide further information on SPRINT. Click here to register for the webinar.

Research Spotlight

Results of phase III trial investigating ocrelizumab published in peer-reviewed journal


Credits: Multiple Sclerosis News Today
The results of the phase III trial investigating the efficacy and safety of the experimental B-cell depleting drug Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) in people living with primary progressive MS was published in December 2016 in New England Journal of Medicine. Publication of the results in a prominent, peer-reviewed journal is a critical step towards ensuring that the scientific community and regulatory bodies recognize the validity of the results, which will aid in the approval process for the potential drug for progressive MS. For more information about ocrelizumab, visit our Treatments in Development site.

Did You Know?

The immune system is a complex network of cells, proteins, chemical signals, and barriers that help us fight disease. In general, the immune system is divided into two parts: the innate system and adaptive system. The latter involves lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that is also a main player in MS disease. But not all lymphocytes or other immune cells are bad in the context of MS. Research tells us that, while some lymphocytes enhance inflammation during an attack, others are responsible for dampening inflammation. Researchers are exploring MS treatments that not only block the activity of inflammatory immune cells, but treatments that can also stimulate the activity of immune cells that counter inflammation.

Research Online


Before 2016 came to an end, Dr. Karen Lee recapped the year’s most memorable research highlights, such as the publication of the Canadian Bone Marrow Transplantation clinical trial results and new funding for three multi-disciplinary research studies focused on wellness. She touched on the MS Society’s investments in translational research to accelerate the development of progressive MS treatments, as well as the success of the endMS Conference — an event which brought together over 200 people from across Canada to discuss the latest research in MS. These and numerous other research advancements set the stage for ongoing progress, especially in the area of progressive MS. They set a pace and make a bold statement about the dedication of the Canadian research community to ending MS. See the full post here.

Get Involved in a Research Study

The MS Research Portal is a resource provided by the MS Society of Canada that aims to connect Canadian researchers seeking participants for studies with people affected by MS who want to get involved in research. Each month, this section will highlight a select study hosted on the Portal. This month’s feature study is:

  • The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with Multiple Sclerosis are a physical activity resource developed by Dr. Amy Latimer-Cheung (Queen’s University) based on an extensive review of scientific data on the effects of exercise in MS. She is working with a team at McMaster University, including MS Society-funded doctoral student Karissa Canning, to determine the best way to implement these new guidelines in the MS community. The study team is looking for volunteers to participate in the study. For more information, visit the study page on the MS Research Portal.
Interested in a research topic or event that was not covered? Submit your feedback to msresearchgrants@mssociety.ca.

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