Meet the Researcher

Dr Sifat Sharmin

The University of Melbourne, VIC

Dr Sifat Sharmin is a statistician and a research fellow in the Clinical Outcomes Research (CORe) Unit at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Sharmin finds the intricacies of MS captivating and loves to dive deep into the vast realm of data. to reveal breakthroughs that could positively impact the lives of people with MS.

Regarding what she most loves about working in the lab, Dr Sharmin says each day presents a canvas of hope and possibilities, inviting the exploration of novel ideas.

About Dr Sifat Sharmin

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
I survived three freezing (and snowy!) winters in Canberra while pursuing my PhD at the Australian National University – quite an achievement, especially considering my tropical Asian origin! The unexpected quietness of Canberra, even on bustling weekdays, initially made me apprehensive about thriving here without the support of friends and family. Nevertheless, after three years, I bid farewell to Canberra with a wealth of cherished memories shared with newfound friends from various corners of the world, alongside the triumph of a successful PhD journey.
What inspired you to get involved in MS research?
As a statistician researcher, I find the intricacies of MS captivating. This presents a unique opportunity to employ novel statistical methodologies, addressing crucial clinical inquiries. Witnessing how my research contributes to the enhancement of MS management strategies and, ultimately, improves the quality of life for individuals affected by the condition is particularly rewarding.
What do you think has been the most exciting development in MS research?
The advent of disease-modifying therapies has been one of the most exciting developments in MS. It has paved the way for extensive research avenues, particularly in understanding individual responses to various therapeutic approaches.
Tell us about your current research project
Poorly controlled childhood MS often results in early disability, typically manifesting by the third decade of life. The dearth of evidence regarding the utilisation of high-efficacy therapies in children impedes personalised treatment strategies. My current research program seeks to establish comprehensive evidence regarding the effects of choice, timing, and personalised use of high-efficacy disease-modifying therapies on disability in children with MS.
Why is your research important and how will it influence the understanding and treatment of MS?
My research program will generate substantial evidence, not only to facilitate personalised treatment decisions for children with MS but also to contribute to the development of policy recommendations. This endeavour aims to ensure that children have access to the most potent available therapies, thereby advancing the landscape of paediatric MS care.
What do you enjoy most about working in the lab and what are some of the challenges you face?
Each day presents a canvas of hope and possibilities, inviting the exploration of novel ideas. I love to dive deep into the vast realm of data to reveal breakthroughs that could positively impact the lives of individuals grappling with MS. In my role as a statistician, staying abreast of the evolving clinical landscape of MS is a constant challenge. I am grateful for the support of a dedicated team of neurologists and MS experts, and together, we navigate the daily challenges of our research endeavours.
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Sifat Sharmin