Affiliation(s): Memorial University of Newfoundland
Dr. Moore’s laboratory is located within the Health Sciences Centre in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is currently researching the development of new therapies that halt disease progression in neurodegenerative conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS). His lab hopes to discover new markers in the blood and brain that will help determine how inflammation impacts brain injury and repair. Using blood samples collected from MS patients, the research team isolates plasma and different types of immune cells and measures how immune and inflammatory responses differ between MS patients compared to the general population. With investment from the MS Society of Canada, CIHR, Canada Research Chairs Program, Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Research Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador, his laboratory is equipped with sophisticated microscopes, live-action cameras, and new technologies that have been developed to help researchers understand how specific cells in the brain contribute to injury and repair. He hopes this research leads to the discovery of new drugs that will treat both relapsing and progressive forms of MS.
How did you become interested in MS research? What inspires you to continue advancing research in this field?
My interest in MS research began as a graduate student. My Ph.D. supervisor was a highly energetic mentor with a personal connection to MS. He provided me with an opportunity to conduct MS research in his lab alongside established academics and scientists in the drug industry. I continued to be involved in MS research throughout my postdoctoral studies in the US and Canada and became highly involved in both the MS patient and scientific communities.
What do you enjoy most about doing research and what are some of the challenges you face?
I have two "enjoyable" moments in the lab. The first is analyzing data. There is nothing more rewarding than completing an experiment that conceptually may have been "years in the making" and finally proving or disproving a hypothesis. Secondly, I thoroughly enjoy teaching and training students in techniques and how to apply the scientific method. My trainees are fantastic, and it gives me great pleasure to hear them interacting and their enthusiasm when discussing their projects. It's a proud moment. The greatest challenge is funding.
Describe the importance and level of collaboration in your research?
At Memorial University, I have begun several collaborations with my clinical colleagues to engage in highly relevant basic and clinical MS research. As a trainee, I was fortunate to work alongside neurologists, neuropathologists, and neurosurgeons, and learn how to develop unique research projects that I have now established as an independent investigator. In Canada, we are very fortunate to have a close MS scientific community that values collaboration and trainee education. With a growing emphasis on patient-oriented research, we need to continue engaging our clinical colleagues and patients.
How important is the support from the MS Society in enabling you to conduct research?
In short, absolutely critical. As an early career investigator, I am competing for grants and funds with other more-established laboratories and scientists worldwide. Funding from other granting agencies (e.g. CIHR) is at an all-time low. Support from the MS Society of Canada is enabling me to grow my lab scientifically and increase the opportunities and research projects for future students and trainees.