Affiliation(s): University of Manitoba
Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie, University of Manitoba
Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie is a Professor of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her medical degree from Dalhousie University, both with Distinction. She completed neurology training at McGill University. This was followed by a fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis at the Cleveland Clinic, supported by a Sylvia Lawry Physician Fellowship Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Subsequently, she obtained a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from Case Western Reserve University. Presently she holds the Waugh Family Chair in Multiple Sclerosis. Her research aims to understand the influence of comorbid factors, such as other chronic diseases, health behaviors, and critical illness on a range of multiple sclerosis (MS)-related health outcomes. Other areas of research interest include etiologic factors for MS, patient-reported outcomes, and pediatric MS.
What is the focus of your research? How did you become interested in MS research?
My research focuses on factors that influence the risk of developing MS, and factors that influence the outcomes of MS. I am particularly interested in how co-existing (comorbid) health conditions affect people with MS. During my neurology residency, I worked on a case-control study that looked at infectious mononucleosis as a risk factor for MS and became really interested in continuing research in this area.
What inspires you to continue advancing research in this field?
Whenever I am working in a clinical setting, there are questions that arise for which we do not have the answers, or issues that arise for which we lack optimal therapies. Research helps me to address these questions.
How do you hope to change the lives of people living with MS through your research?
Ultimately, I hope that the answers from my research will allow me to improve the care that we can deliver to people with MS. In particular, I hope that we can reduce worsening of physical and cognitive impairments and improve quality of life by targeting the care of co-existing health conditions.
What do you enjoy most about your research? What are some of the challenges you face?
Research helps me to address questions that arise during my clinical work, and in turn I hope the outcomes of my research will improve the care that we can deliver to people with MS. Unlike work that takes place in a laboratory, clinical and epidemiological work focuses on people. When we study people there are often a lot of differences between people that are hard to measure but may influence what we are studying. This means we need to take a lot of care when interpreting our results.
How important is the support from the MS Society in enabling you to conduct research?
I would not be able to conduct this work without the financial support from the MSSC.