Keynote Speaker: Dr. Helen Tremlett
Dr. Helen Tremlett is the Canada Research Chair in Neuroepidemiology and Multiple Sclerosis and Professor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada in the Faculty of Medicine, Division of Neurology. Dr Tremlett’s research program is funded through operating and foundation grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the MS Society of Canada, the MS Scientific Research Foundation, the US National MS Society among others. Trained in pharmacoepidemiology and multiple sclerosis with a PhD from Cardiff University, UK. Heads the Tremlett Lab and the Epidemiology in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research program with the vision of fostering excellence in multi-disciplinary clinical and epidemiological research to advance treatment-related knowledge and improve outcomes in those with MS. Ongoing research studies include: the MS prodrome, safety and effectiveness of the disease-modifying drugs for MS; pharmacogenomics; risk of MS in special populations; impact of comorbidities on MS outcomes; and the gut microbiome and MS.
Over 180 peer-reviewed papers accessible via Pubmed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Tremlett+H%5BAuthor%5D Team website: http://epims.med.ubc.ca/ Email: email@example.com.
Research insights: from the MS prodrome to poop and beyond
This presentation will focus on recent advances in MS research. There will be a brief overview of some of the key findings from Prof. Tremlett’s team at the University of British Columbia. Then a deeper dive into two diverse topics the MS prodrome and the gut microbiome (yes, poop). Recent research has suggested that both the MS prodrome and the gut microbiome may be highly relevant to MS and findings have furthered our understanding of MS.
Dr. Sarah Donkers
Dr. Sarah Donkers is a Physiotherapist and an Assistant Professor of neurology at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research focuses on optimizing physical function and quality of life for persons living with neurodegenerative conditions and includes investigating the role of physiotherapy and physical activity in the management for Multiple Sclerosis.
Novel Approaches to Physical Activity and Physiotherapy in the Management of Multiple Sclerosis
This talk will briefly summarize what we know, and are yet to know, about physical activity in the management of MS. Exciting new findings highlighting the role of physiotherapy in MS will be shared. Our on-going research projects on physiotherapy, physical activity and health service delivery for MS will be introduced. This session will end with some pragmatic recommendations based on clinical experience and current research.
Dr. Bradley Kerr
Dr. Bradley Kerr is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at the University of Alberta. The focus of research in his lab is aimed at addressing the mechanisms of chronic pain after injury or disease with a major focus on chronic pain associated with Multiple Sclerosis.
Are changes in the peripheral nervous system to blame for chronic pain in MS?
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that is associated with significant demyelination of axonal tracts in the central nervous system (CNS). Demyelinating plaques in the CNS underlie the pathological signs of weakness and paralysis that are most commonly associated with the disease. However, a significant proportion of patients with MS also develop sensory disturbances including pain in the distal limbs and/or a form of facial pain called trigeminal neuralgia. In this talk I will present recent data from my laboratory implicating the peripheral nervous system, specifically the sensory neurons that reside outside of the CNS in structures called the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and trigeminal ganglia (TG) that innervate the distal limbs and face respectively, as key drivers of pain in this disease state. I will discuss recent insights into maladaptive changes that occur in the DRG and TG even in the absence of overt demyelination. I will discuss how the plasticity of the sensory neurons in the peripheral nervous system affects pain sensitivity in a specific mouse model used to study MS. Sex differences in these responses will also be discussed.
Dr. Shannon Kolind
Dr. Shannon Kolind earned her PhD in Physics at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, developing ways to measure myelin, the insulating layer that surrounds nerves in the brain and spinal cord, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB) at the University of Oxford as well as the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. While in the UK, she specialized in developing new methods to image myelin in the brain and spinal cord and making these techniques more practical for use in research. She then returned to UBC, this time in the Division of Neurology, to become an Assistant Professor. Dr. Kolind’s lab is focused on developing a toolbox of tissue-specific imaging techniques. Her multi-disciplinary team employs these multi-modal tools to achieving greater sensitivity and specificity in clinical research; particularly for clinical trials of new therapies. This work is largely focused on multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD).
CanProCo: The Canadian prospective cohort to understand progression in multiple sclerosis, and Myelin-specific MRI for MS
Over the past three decades, clinical trials of promising therapies for progressive MS have relied on clinical measures of disease progression to test whether they are effective. Unfortunately, because these clinical measures change slowly and are difficult to measure objectively, clinical trials for progression require a very large number of people and long periods of time. Biomarkers are biological clues from the body that can tell us about the state of a disease or the effect of a treatment. Our research team is exploring the loss of myelin as a potential biomarker. We use advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods that can detect and measure structural changes in myelin, which in turn can provide information about disease progression. This project has the potential to reduce the cost and time required to test therapies in clinical trials for progressive MS and to identify people at risk for progression to that would require more aggressive treatment.
I will also introduce a National MS Society of Canada project called CanProCo: The Canadian Prospective Cohort to Understand Progression in Multiple Sclerosis. This initiative will combine information from MRI, immunology and clinical visits for 1000 people from across Canada living with MS over 5 years to help understand what drives progression in MS and help put an end to it.