Meet the Researcher

Ms Megan Monaghan

The University of Adelaide, SA

Ms Megan Monaghan is an MS researcher at The University of Adelaide.

Ms Monaghan was inspired to get involved in MS research through a love for the immune system and understanding how it works.

Ms Monaghan enjoys the environment of working in a lab because every day is so different and she has the opportunity to learn so many new skills and apply them in her work.

About Ms Megan Monaghan

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
I’m from Aberdeenshire in Scotland, but have lived in Adelaide for quite a while now. I’m a bit of an avid baker, I have a small obsession with the Great British Bake-off, and I think my laboratory training really pays off in the kitchen!
What inspired you to get involved in MS research?
I have always had a love for the immune system and understanding how it works. Working in MS research provided an opportunity to explore more about the immune system whilst increasing the understanding of a disease with such a high burden in society, to hopefully help the many people living with MS by developing better treatments.
What do you think has been the most exciting development in MS research?
The current research into the environmental causes of MS are really interesting, particularly the potential causative role of Epstein-Barr virus in the development of MS. This research has the potential to prevent many causes of MS in the future, and is opening new discussions as to the role of other viruses in the development of autoimmune diseases.
Tell us about your current research project
The currently available therapeutics for MS are effective to a degree, but can have serious side effects that impact patients’ quality of life. By understanding the specific migration of immune cells to the central nervous system in MS, we hope to develop more targeted and precise medications that will reduce symptoms of MS with fewer side effects.
Why is your research important and how will it influence the understanding and treatment of MS?
Our research aims to enhance the efficacy of MS treatments. This is highly relevant for people under treatment who have to endure severe side effects. Mitoxantrone for example can only be given for a lifetime total of two years due to its negative effects on the heart. Being able to lower the effective dose will allow people to use this drug for longer. Further, while we are currently working with mitoxantrone as an example and proof of principle, I believe that our work will be able to enhance the delivery of other drugs as well. We are investigating the effects of our nanosized vehicles not only in context of drug efficacy but to further understand how interaction between these particles and the immune system can be exploited to improve patient outcome. Understanding these interactions will further allow us to fine tune these delivery methods.
What do you enjoy most about working in the lab and what are some of the challenges you face?
I enjoy the environment of working in a lab every day is so different and I have the opportunity to learn so many new skills and apply them in my work. I am very appreciative of the fact that my passion for science allows me to research and produce findings that help society, and have a positive impact on the world around me. Unfortunately in science, experiments don’t always go to plan and results can be challenging to interpret and form conclusions from. At the same time, this challenge is what drives us to do the best research we can.
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Megan Monaghan