Using MRI to measure MS
severity and progression
Postgraduate Scholarship over three years commencing 2019, fully funded by the Trish MS Research Foundation
Investigator: Dr Justin Garber
The University of Sydney, NSW
Co-investigators: Professor Michael Barnett, Dr Chenyu Wang
In this PhD project, Dr Justin Garber and colleagues will use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to determine what drives brain cell loss in people with progressive MS. MRI is a powerful technique which can detect subtle changes in the brain and spinal cords of people with MS. Dr Garber will track a group of people with progressive MS over two years and is planning to use advanced MRI techniques to determine whether the majority of brain cell loss occurs within MS lesions in the brain or more generally throughout the brain.
The second part of his study will look at using these MRIs to map the connections in the brain. Comparing changes in these connections over time in people with progressive MS will allow Dr Garber to detect small changes in the brain that occur well before outward signs of disability begin to show. Hopefully, this will provide a simple way of measuring disease activity and could be used in clinical trials to determine whether a treatment is working or not in a shorter timeframe. These markers could provide a framework to help test new myelin repair therapies and ultimately to monitor treatment response in people with MS in clinical practice.