MS Research Australia’s International Research Review Board helps guide the strategy that leverages Australia’s strengths, to best contribute to the global effort in MS research. Chaired by Australia’s Professor Bill Carroll, it has three other members- Professor Gavin Giovannoni (London, UK), Professor Richard Ransohoff (Boston, US) and Professor Trevor Kilpatrick (Australia).
All four members are extremely well known in their respective fields of MS research and treatment and they bring critical oversight and an important sounding board to our MS research funding initiatives. Professor Simon Broadley, Chair of our Research Management Council (RMC) which oversees our grant giving processes says that ‘it is important and advantageous to ensure MS Research Australia has rigorous and experienced oversight, so that unbiased advice can be given on which areas we should concentrate our hard earned funds.’
The first meeting of our refreshed review Board recently took place in Washington to take advantage of all four members being present for the recent American Academy of Neurology meeting which was taking place in the capital.
A number of important items were discussed but one of the themes was the importance of international collaborations. It was noted the importance of collaborations to be initiated and/or monitored for a range of fields including MS in young children and adolescents and, of course for progressive MS. The global Board also noted the important role that MS Research Australia should play in the Asia-Pacific region via the Pan-Asian Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (PACTRIMS).
One of the key goals of MS Research Australia is to always play on the strengths of Australian MS research. The Board has identified some of the following areas of research that could be further leveraged with additional funding – this includes the genomic study of MS, the role of the Epstein – Barr virus (EBV) in MS, photo-immunology, creating uniform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) metrics and the role of large data sets and how we get the most information out of this data to benefit people with MS.