Meet The Researcher

Dr Vivien Li

Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Let's get started! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I ran my first ever half and full marathons last year and am hoping to do more in the future!
What inspired you to get involved in MS research?
I became interested in neurology as a medical student, when I did my first small research project in MS and since then I have been continued working both clinically and through research in MS. Throughout the past year I have been involved in several clinical trials and particularly enjoyed meeting, working with and learning from the participants who have all been affected by MS in different ways. While it has been encouraging seeing the progress that has been made in developing treatments for relapsing MS, I have been particularly inspired by the drive and motivation of mentors, fellow colleagues and people with MS to find treatments that will slow, down and ultimately stop or even reverse the accumulation of disability in progressive MS.
What do you think has been the most exciting development in MS research?
There has been a lot of progress in the last decade in developing new highly effective disease-modifying therapies to reduce inflammatory disease activity in relapsing remitting MS. This is great for patients and clinicians as there are now many more options available and treatments can be tailored to each individual.
Why is your research important and how will it influence the understanding and treatment of MS?
This is an innovative approach to manipulate the immune system and may lead to new treatments for MS, in particular progressive forms of MS for which there are currently few effective disease-modifying therapies. It will also improve our understanding of the complex immune pathways involved in MS.
What do you enjoy most about working in the lab and what are some of the challenges you face?
I enjoy the varied nature of the work, from seeing people affected by MS in research studies to collaborating with other colleagues from different fields to learning new clinical and research skills and techniques. Making progress is a gradual process and challenges come in various forms, such as when a study’s recruitment takes longer than expected or technical difficulties occur. For example while working in the UK these past two years, on one particularly hot summer’s day, the MRI scanner stopped working as the machine’s cooling system was not able to cope with the unexpected heat!
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Dr Vivien Li