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Research in Action

September 2016
Latest research news and updates from the MS Society of Canada

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Research Profile

endMS Personnel PhD Studentship Awardee, Samuel K. Jensen

Samuel K. Jensen
It was during his undergraduate studies that Samuel Jensen developed an interest in studying multiple sclerosis (MS). Not content to merely read about MS in a classroom, Samuel went on to join the laboratory of Dr. Wee Yong at the University Calgary where, as an endMS Doctoral Studentship awardee, he is immersed in studying the relationship between physical activity and MS.

Samuel’s research focuses on understanding how exercise can influence disease symptoms in animals with an MS-like disease. A growing list of studies have shown that physical activity can improve balance and coordination, as well as help manage fatigue and depression, in people living with MS. How exactly these benefits come about is still a mystery that Samuel hopes to tackle with his research. “We are most interested in whether exercise affects the ability for the body to regenerate myelin after a lesion has formed,” says Samuel. “Ultimately, we hope to show that exercise is as critical a part of the treatment of MS as rehabilitation is for the treatment of spinal cord injury, and provide the motivation and rationale for people with MS to exercise even when they are not feeling well.”

Innovative and exciting studies such as Samuel’s and others’ are being presented this week at the 32nd ECTRIMS Congress in London, United Kingdom. To get the latest updates on the conference, follow along at @Dr_KarenLee and the research blog.

Research Events and Funding Opportunities

Researchers can apply for funding for services offered by Contract Research Organizations (CROs)

The MS Society of Canada launched a new funding competition that invites MS researchers to apply for funding for specialized services and experiments provided by contract research organizations (CROs), with the aim of advancing pre-clinical development of treatments for progressive MS. For more information, consult the CRO Grant Request for Applications.

MS Society to award up to four endMS Research and Training Travel Award for trainees who submit an abstract to ACTRIMS

The Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2017 is taking place on February 23-25, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. The MS Society of Canada (MSSC) will award up to four endMS Research and Training Travel Awards to currently funded MSSC doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows who have submitted a successful abstract to ACTRIMS by Friday, September 30, 2016. For more information, visit Training Program and Networking Activities.

Members of the public are invited to have their say in the research review process

The MS Society’s research department is accepting applications for Community Representatives — members of the public who have a personal connection to MS and are interested in playing an important role in deciding which grant and award applications will be funded. If you are affected by MS, are involved in the MS community, and have a desire to be involved in the research review process, visit Community Representatives for more information and to fill in an application.

Research Spotlight

People living with MS shown to have a unique bacterial signature in their gut

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
A person’s digestive system is home to trillions of bacteria collectively known as the gut microbiome. Changes to the gut’s natural bacterial balance have been linked to a number of different disorders, including multiple sclerosis. Our understanding of the relationship between MS and the gut microbiome comes predominantly from animal studies, and new studies are translating these observations into humans. A new study from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Iowa set out to explore the differences in the gut microbiome between people living with MS and healthy individuals.

To read more about this study and other groundbreaking research, visit the Latest MS Research News on the MS Society website.

Did You Know?

The MS Society and affiliated MS Scientific Research Foundation are funding a collaborative grant, led by Dr. Helen Tremlett at The University of British Columbia, to explore the relationship between the gut microbiome and MS in children and adolescents to shed more light on this important question.

Research Blog

The 32nd European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) Congress is in full swing, from September 14 - 17, 2016 in London, UK. One of the world’s largest forums bringing together scientists and researchers in the MS field, the annual meeting features exciting scientific and teaching programs, poster sessions and special sessions for MS nurses.

The MS Society’s Research Department is in London providing the latest updates from the conference. Follow along at @Dr_KarenLee and research blog, and tune in to the MS Society Facebook page for live video updates.

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. If you are a researcher looking to post a study, or if you are a person affected by MS who would like to take part in a study, visit

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