Meet The Researcher

Associate Professor Anneke Van Der Walt

Monash University

Let's get started! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I was born in South Africa and did my undergraduate training there. I also lived in Canada prior to migrating permanently to Australia, where I completed my specialist training in neurology and my PhD.
What inspired you to get involved in MS research?
Being a researcher allows a clinician to help people in a different way from pure clinical practice. Seeing people with MS and the struggles they face, as well as noticing the ways we can improve our practice and treatment is an itch that is hard not to scratch! Clinical research allows me to explore all of these issues while continuing to help people with MS.
What do you think has been the most exciting development in MS research?
The development of effective therapies for relapsing MS has been the one of the most exciting things to happen in MS research and also in neurology for decades. New technology has allowed for bigger scale international collaborations such as the MSBase registry.
Why is your research important and how will it influence the understanding and treatment of MS?
This project has the potential to change our understanding of how people with MS function on a day to day basis. We aim to find subtle signs of the disease changing in a person before there are actually any clinical findings. This will help us to better target treatments and improve outcomes.
What do you enjoy most about working in the lab and what are some of the challenges you face?
I love working in a team with other neurologists, scientists, nurses and allied health professionals. Most of all, I love my patients and am always astonished at how generous, and interested, people with MS are in the work we do. Seeing a large project come together and proving a new theory to be true is of course part of the thrill of it all!
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Associate Professor Anneke Van Der Walt