Identifying the missing link between myelin loss and nerve cell death

kalina makowiecki

Dr Kalina Makowiecki

University of Tasmania

| A cure via repair and regeneration | Neurobiology | Project | 2022 | Investigator Led Research |


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease with no clear cause and no cure. To improve the lives of people with MS, treatments must stop the disease from progressing, protect nerve cells in the brain and restore brain function.  

Myelin is the insulating sheath that that wraps around nerve cells in the brain. In MS, the cells that produce the myelin die, leading to myelin loss in the brain. Myelin loss slows or stops nerve cells from sending the electrical signals that they use to communicate in networks within the brain. Currently, we do not know how myelin loss then leads to the underlying nerve cells dying and worsening symptoms in people with MS over time.  

However, we suspect that myelin loss is not only associated with a slowing of the electrical signal, but with other changes to nerve cell communication which causes nerve cells to respond more strongly to chemical signals. When this response goes too far, nerve cells can die, which leads to progression of the disease.  

This project aims to understand how nerve cell communication changes, starting from the earliest stages of myelin loss, and how this could lead to nerve cells dying. We will identify how treatments could target nerve cell communication to protect nerve cells, halt disease progression and restore brain function to overcome debilitating symptoms in people with MS. 

Updated: 14 February, 2022

Stages of the research process

Fundamental laboratory

Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 10+ years

Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.

Lab to clinic timeline: 5+ years
Clinical Studies
and Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 1-5 years


  • Dr Kalina Makowiecki 


  • Associate Professor Kaylene Young

Grant Awarded

  • Targeted Call Project Grant (Repair)

Total Funding

  • $428,231


  • 3 years

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Professor Kilpatrick and Professor KalincikDr Yvonne Learmonth

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Identifying the missing link between myelin loss and nerve cell death