Meet The Researcher

Dr Jo Lane

Australian National University, ACT

Let's get started! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
My favourite activity outside of work is long-distance trail running and most weekends you will find me out in nature for hours with my running friends.
What inspired you to get involved in MS research?
I am a clinical psychologist who is part of a diverse team of MS researchers who are working together at the Australian National University to develop and implement personalised medicine approaches to care in MS. I have a particular research interest in MS-related fatigue as this symptom is very common and can have a significant negative impact on the life of a person living with MS. I am intrigued by how complex MS is and how it impacts every person differently. I am inspired by the passion of researchers in this field and the diversity and resilience of people living with MS.
What do you think has been the most exciting development in MS research?
One of the exciting developments in MS research is the new technologies that enable researchers to understand MS more including new potential biomarkers that will enable sub-clinical changes in disease to be detected earlier to achieve more effective treatment responses.
Tell us about your current research project...
This project is testing ELEVIDA, an online program for MS-related fatigue which until now, has only been available in German. The German version of ELEVIDA has been tested and shown to significantly reduce self-reported fatigue in participants compared to a waitlist control group. Our study is the first to examine the English version of ELEVIDA and participants will conduct and evaluate the program to determine if it is acceptable, feasible, helpful and recommended by people living with MS in Australia. If the English version of ELEVIDA is acceptable and feasible, this outcome will inform a larger randomised controlled trial of this program.
Why is your research important and how will it influence the understanding and treatment of MS?
One of the most common and disabling symptoms reported by people living with MS is fatigue. MS-related fatigue can negatively impact every aspect of a person’s life, which in-turn can contribute to low mood, social withdrawal and isolation. Many strategies have been used to manage MS-related fatigue, however most have limited effectiveness. Our research is important as we are examining if ELEVIDA is acceptable, feasible, helpful and recommended by people living with MS in Australia. We are also interested to see if fatigue levels improve after participating in the ELEVIDA program. This research will guide ongoing research in finding ways to reduce the symptoms of MS-related fatigue.
What do you enjoy most about working in the lab and what are some of the challenges you face?
It is a privilege to work with a knowledgeable and generous research team and to experience life with people living with MS. The key challenge is not enough time in the day to do all the things in MS research that I would like to do as conducting rigorous research takes time.
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Jo Lane