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Incubator Grant

The Foundation is pleased to announce, with very generous support from guests at The Trish MS Ball 2014 who are making generous contributions, the following Incubator Grant has been approved for funding:

Do MS associated genetic changes in vitamin D metabolism genes affect the function of T-cells? 


Professor Heinrich Körner, Menzies Research Institute Tasmania
Professor Bruce Taylor, Menzies Research Institute Tasmania

Professor Heinrich Körner and Professor Bruce Taylor at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania will investigate whether known MS risk genes involved in the Vitamin D pathway may be able to influence the function of T cells in the immune system.

It is well recognised that the risk of developing MS is determined by a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors. Genes within the vitamin D pathway have been implicated in MS risk, and many people with MS have been shown to have vitamin D deficiency. However, the mechanisms by which vitamin D may affect the immune system are not clear.

Professor Körner’s project will look at the effects of variations in the genetic code of MS risk genes in the vitamin D pathway, and how these changes might alter the function of T lymphocytes, the immune cells thought to play a major role in the inflammation that is characteristic of MS.  The researchers hope to identify key mechanisms that could help to explain the important role that Vitamin D plays in modulating immune system function to cause MS.  

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