Meet The Researcher

Dr Izanne Roos

The University of Melbourne, VIC

Let’s get started! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself...
I completed my medical and specialty neurology training in South Africa, before moving to Melbourne to pursue a PhD in MS research.
What inspired you to get involved in MS research?
Multiple sclerosis is a potentially debilitating disease, and a major source of non-traumatic disability. The MS treatment landscape has undergone a massive transformation over the past 20 years. I wanted to be a part of this change!
What do you think has been the most exciting development in MS research?
Each person with MS has a unique personal and social circumstance, and a unique MS experience. There are currently 15 licensed therapies for the treatment of relapsing MS. Clinicians therefore now have the opportunity to personalise treatment decisions so we can use the right drug, for the right patient, at the right time.
Tell us about your current research project...
6% of patients have an aggressive form of MS, and accumulate disability at an accelerated rate. The best treatment approach in these patients is however uncertain. In my project, I aim to validate a statistical model that can predict an individual’s risk of developing aggressive MS at the earliest stages of MS. I will also establish whether early use of highly potent therapies can prevent aggressive disease in those patients at high risk.
Why is your research important and how will it influence the understanding and treatment of MS?
This research will enable neurologists and people with MS to tailor the choice of treatment strategy to the predicted MS severity as early as the first year of MS symptoms. This will ensure that all people with MS receive treatment that will maximise their chance of a life without disability, while maintaining quality of life and employability.
What do you enjoy most about working in the lab and what are some of the challenges you face?
As both a clinician and a researcher, I have the privilege of both researching a disease and managing the people affected by it. While it is a balance to ensure that both roles are given the attention they deserve, being able to work in both the clinical and research areas gives me a unique perspective about the issues important to people with MS, and unmet research needs.
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Izanne Roos