Scholarship in Drug Development for Therapeutic Application in MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the commonest neurodegenerative disease affecting young Caucasian adults. A scholarship is available in Drug Development for Therapeutic Application in MS.

Applications

Applications will be evaluated on the following:

  • Academic Record
  • Scientific excellence of the application that the candidate proposes within the scope of the available project.


Information for Applicant:

  • It is intended that the applicant will be provided with a stipend of $29,000 per annum for three years in order to undertake full-time research
  • Applicants must be an Australian citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or New Zealand citizen and not be under bond to any foreign government in order to be eligible. Evidence of citizenship (citizenship certificate, birth certificate, passport) or residential status must accompany this application
  • Only applicants about to commence a PhD within the next three months should apply
  • Applicants enrolled in a combined degree are not eligible to apply
  • Applicants receiving additional stipend funding are not eligible to apply.
  • Applicants for this scholarship must be eligible to undertake a PhD program at the University of Melbourne.

Background
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the commonest neurodegenerative disease affecting young Caucasian adults.


The consensus is that MS is an autoimmune disease in which the adaptive immune system targets the central nervous system (CNS) to cause inflammatory demyelination. Whilst over the last 20 years a number of immunomodulatory therapies have been developed that target the adaptive immune system and which reduce the activity of early stage MS, the risk of long-term disability remains. The emerging consensus is that this long-term disability, characterized as progressive MS, is caused by ongoing inappropriate activity of the innate immune system which continues to attack nerve cells and fails to assist repair, even when the activity of the adaptive immune system is being adequately controlled.


We have recently discovered that the TAM (Tyro3, Axl, Mertk) family of receptor tyrosine kinases are crucially important in reconfiguring the activity of innate immune cells from a pathogenic to a reparative phenotype in animal models of MS. The TAM receptors are activated by two ligands, Gas6 and ProS and it would be ideal to provide one or both of these molecules as therapeutic agents. However, these molecules have short half lives and will not cross the blood brain barrier. One way to redress this issue is to generate variants of the TAM ligands with increased half-life that could be delivered by infrequent injection directly into the cerebrospinal

Co-supervisors:


Professor Trevor Kilpatrick
Professor of Neurology, Melbourne Neuroscience Institute
University of Melbourne and
Head, MS Division,
Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Professor Jonathan Baell
Larkins Fellow, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Monash University

Further information: Scholarship Guidelines