Identifying brain targets of immune activation in MS

May Wong

The University of Sydney, NSW

| Causes and Prevention | Immunology | Neurobiology | Scholarship | 2012 | Investigator Led Research |


Ms Wong will be studying in the laboratory of Dr John Parratt, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney and recipient of the MS Research Australia Neil & Norma Hill MS Clinical Research Fellowship. He is one of Australia’s finest young MS researchers and clinicians, with expertise in studying the pathology of MS in post mortem human brain tissue.

Over the course of the past ten years, Dr Parratt and his colleagues at the University of Sydney have sought to identify abnormalities in post-mortem tissue from people with MS that might be specific for the disease. To date, one abnormality unique to MS has been found and is characterised by deposits of a special immune protein called complement at the edge of developing areas of inflammation and myelin destruction.

Complement is a protein that assists the immune system to recognise and trigger a response to remove and clear ‘foreign’ cells and debris.

The arrangement of the complement in MS tissue suggests that it is deposited upon a linear structure which could be myelin itself or the associated nerve fibre (axon). Ms Wong will investigate the complement is binding to special parts of the axon called nodes, which are vital for rapid conduction of electrical signals in the human nervous system. By carefully studying the distribution of complement the team hope to identify which part of the nervous system is being ‘attacked’ in areas of developing MS injury.

In this project, Ms Wong will receive expert training in MS research and specialised microscopy techniques and will contribute to improving our understanding of the MS disease process.

Updated: 30 June 2013

Updated: 02 January, 2012


  • May Wong, The University of Sydney, NSW


  • Dr John Parratt, The University of Sydney, NSW

Grant Awarded

  • Vacation Scholarship

Total Funding

  • $10,000


  • 1 year over 2012

Read More

Newsletter subscription

  • Enter your details

Identifying brain targets of immune activation in MS