Meet The Researcher

Dr Simranjit Sidhu

Adelaide University

Let's get started! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
At the moment, I am learning pottery to train my “artistic” brain!
What inspired you to get involved in MS research?
I am an exercise neurophysiologist and over the last 10 years, I have been passionate about unravelling the neural mechanisms of exercise induced fatigue in health and disease. Compared to healthy individuals, we know that people with MS fatigue much quicker during every day physical activities such as climbing stairs or even shopping for groceries. Using my background and expertise in exercise related fatigue, I hope to be able to provide some answers that may help to advance the understanding, treatment, and management of MS fatigue.
What do you think has been the most exciting development in MS research?
The development of newer and improved therapies for better patient outcomes, and the improved characterisation of the genes that underlie MS to help with even better future development of preventative and therapeutic interventions.
Tell us about your current research project...
The aim of the project is to provide a characterisation of the neurophysiology accounting for MS patients’ heightened susceptibility to fatigue by measuring cortical excitability using non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation. The application of transcranial direct current stimulation to cause neuroplastic modulations in the brain will expand our understanding of the neuromodulatory role of this particular paradigm on MS fatigue.
Why is your research important and how will it influence the understanding and treatment of MS?
The project will significantly increase our knowledge regarding the mechanistic role of the central nervous system in determining functional capacity by identifying and characterising the neural responses associated with MS fatigue. Using an exercise-related fatigue model to explore the neural underpinnings of motor performance in MS may be used to inform our understanding of the neural abnormalities of the disease. The outcomes hold the key to minimising MS fatigue through the development of guidelines and apps for the treatment and management of MS symptoms.
What do you enjoy most about working in the lab and what are some of the challenges you face?
In addition to the excitement of discovering and characterising new outcomes from the data collected, I love the interaction I have with the amazing participants who contribute to our research. I enjoy hearing all about their life journeys and there is so much more you can learn about the disease by hearing from someone who goes through it every day. One challenge we often face is the inter-subject variability in brain responses, however this challenge often becomes a research question that we endeavour to address!
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Dr Simranjit Sidhu