Monthly Archives: December 2014

Putting a face on a new generation of promising MS researchers: Jennifer Ahn and The Lawrason Foundation

The MS Society of Canada is committed to supporting the next generation of talented young researchers who will take on the mantle of advancing MS research in the search for a cure. The annual competition for studentship awards and postdoctoral fellowships is a key plank of the MS Society’s research training program that allows us to build a robust network of bright minds in the field and is essential for attracting and retaining the next generation of MS experts. Once a trainee myself, I know first-hand the importance of receiving invaluable support that allowed me to conduct research and eventually build a career focused on helping people affected by MS.

In this post, I’ll be profiling Jennifer Ahn, one of our up-and-coming young minds in MS research, who, thanks to the generous contributions of our donors and The Lawrason Foundation, is pursuing her doctoral studies with a focus on the early stage of MS. Find out how you can help young MS researchers like Jennifer in their work.

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The phenomenon of remission during pregnancy: what role do hormones play?

Up to 75 % of people affected by MS are women, and MS often strikes during the childbearing years. Many expectant mothers ask me, “what does my MS mean for me and my baby?” and they are often understandably concerned that their symptoms might somehow impact their fertility or pregnancy. In the past, women with MS were generally advised to avoid becoming pregnant altogether, although this advice was based on mostly inconclusive and, as it turns out, erroneous data. Over the past two decades, there has been a great deal of research examining the relationship between MS and pregnancy, and in this post I will parse out some of the scientifically-supported evidence from the misconceptions surrounding pregnancy, hormones and MS.


(photo credit: TipsTimesAdmin / Flickr)

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Peering into the nuts and bolts of the peer review process

Last year, the MS Society dedicated over $6 million towards funding nearly 70 research projects related to MS from across Canada, encompassing the gamut of funding opportunities from operating grants to research studentships. You might be surprised to hear that not every submitted application is approved for funding. As a largely public-funded organization, the MS Society is committed to ensuring that only research of the highest quality and scientific merit is funded to make sure that donor dollars are spent wisely, but who makes that decision, and on what basis?

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Do something great on Giving Tuesday

Many of us are familiar with the big crowds and countless deals associated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but how many of you have heard about Giving Tuesday? Now in its second year in Canada, Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. Today, charities, businesses, and people in the community will come together to celebrate generosity and think of others.

There are many ways to get involved on Giving Tuesday, such as volunteering, donating to a charity, or simply doing a good deed for someone. The MS Society of Canada depends on volunteers, fundraisers, and the overall support of the community in order to carry out its mission to support people living with MS. MS Researchers also share in this commitment, not only by doing the inspiring work they do in the lab, but by taking part in the community.

Just recently, Dr. Jacqueline Quandt from the University of British Columbia and her lab joined others in wrapping Holiday gifts, with donations going to the MS Society, and Dr. Mark Freedman from the Ottawa Hospital Research Insitute has been an avid participant in one of the MS Society’s biggest fundraising events – the MS Bike – for over 20 years, helping raise critical funds for research and services. These are only a few of the many examples of people who contribute in enormous ways to the MS community, and who display real passion for what they do and believe in. My own journey to the MS Society of Canada began with volunteering, where I met many people with MS who inspired me and changed my perspective on what MS is.

I think I speak on behalf of many others when I say that life is busy, and at times we lose sight of important causes and people in need. Today, on Giving Tuesday, let’s reflect on how we can give back to the community and rally for a great cause that’s important to us.

Check out the Giving Tuesday website for more information on how to be part of the movement!

If you would like to make a donation to the MS Society to help those with MS who are in need of support and to fund vital research, you can do so here.