Using MRI to measure MS severity and progression - MS Research Australia

Using MRI to measure MS severity and progression

Dr Justin Garber

The University of Sydney, NSW

| Better treatments | Neurobiology | Scholarship | 2019 | Investigator Led Research |


In this PhD project, Dr Justin Garber and colleagues will use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to determine what drives brain cell loss in people with progressive MS. MRI is a powerful technique which can detect subtle changes in the brain and spinal cords of people with MS. Dr Garber will track a group of people with progressive MS over two years and is planning to use advanced MRI techniques to determine whether the majority of brain cell loss occurs within MS lesions in the brain or more generally throughout the brain.

The second part of his study will look at using these MRIs to map the connections in the brain. Comparing changes in these connections over time in people with progressive MS will allow Dr Garber to detect small changes in the brain that occur well before outward signs of disability begin to show. Hopefully, this will provide a simple way of measuring disease activity and could be used in clinical trials to determine whether a treatment is working or not in a shorter timeframe. These markers could provide a framework to help test new myelin repair therapies and ultimately to monitor treatment response in people with MS in clinical practice.

Updated: 23 January 2019

Updated: 03 January, 2019

Stages of the research process

Fundamental laboratory

Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 10+ years

Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.

Lab to clinic timeline: 5+ years
Clinical Studies
and Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 1-5 years


  • Dr Justin Garber


Grant Awarded

  • Postgraduate Scholarship

Total Funding

  • $78,000


  • 3 years - starting 2019

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