Meet The Researcher

Dr Wei Yeh

Alfred Health and Monash University

Let's get started! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
For fun, I enjoy the casual hit of badminton and table tennis and also some karaoke.
What inspired you to get involved in MS research?
Coming from a clinical neurology background, I have seen the ways that MS can affect people with MS and their families. There are still many unknowns, including around how MS develops in people who are at risk. I hope to further our knowledge through the research I will be conducting.
What do you think has been the most exciting development in MS research?
There have been many exciting and important developments. From the clinical standpoint, the development of disease-modifying treatments for MS and the evidence demonstrating their effectiveness at preventing further disability and disease progression has been very important. The identification of genetic variants and genes which increase MS risk, and which implicate both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system, are of great interest in furthering our understanding of how MS develops.
Tell us about your current research project...
Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with the risk of developing MS and also the severity of disease in those with MS. Vitamin D is known to have many effects including on cells of the immune system. The way that vitamin D acts on the immune cells in people with MS, and how this may be different to those without MS, is not yet well understood. Our aim is to examine this in both people with and without MS, with a focus on which genes are turned on or off depending on someone’s vitamin D status. As another arm of my research, we also aim to investigate what factors may influence someone’s risk of having a relapse during pregnancy, particularly in today’s setting of having multiple effective MS treatments available.
Why is your research important and how will it influence the understanding and treatment of MS?
Our research will help to inform our understanding of how vitamin D acts on the immune system in people with MS. This will potentially help us to learn more about how vitamin D deficiency leads to increased risk of developing MS, and help inform the role of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention of MS. Our investigation into what factors increase the risk of relapse in pregnancy will help to guide strategies to avoid relapses occurring in pregnancy, and in the period soon after delivery.
What do you enjoy most about working in the lab and what are some of the challenges you face?
I enjoy working together with, and learning from, my experienced and knowledgeable colleagues. There are many skills to learn and problems to solve, which can be challenging, but also very rewarding!
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Dr Wei Yeh