Affiliation(s): St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto
Dr. Kristen Krysko, St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Kristen Krysko is a neurologist specializing in multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuroimmunology at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. She is an Assistant Professor and Clinician Investigator at the University of Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology and Psychology at McMaster University and her medical degree from the University of Toronto. She completed her neurology residency at the University of Toronto. She then completed a Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Research Fellowship and Master's degree in clinical research at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in 2020, supported by a Sylvia Lawry Physician Fellowship Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She has clinical and research interests in women's health and pregnancy in women with MS. She has established a women's health and pregnancy MS clinical and research program at the BARLO MS Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital. Her research aims to improve the understanding of effects of pregnancy on multiple sclerosis, including optimizing treatment strategies around pregnancy and understanding the safety of MS treatments before/during pregnancy and postpartum while breastfeeding.
What is the focus of your research? How did you become interested in MS research?
My research focuses on women’s health in MS. This includes understanding the effects of pregnancy on MS, including how to optimize treatment strategies around pregnancy, as well as understanding the safety of MS treatments before/during pregnancy and postpartum while breastfeeding. I became interested in MS research during medical school when I spent a summer doing research projects in the MS clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital. These studies included evaluating the effects of treatments on MS course, and effects of pediatric onset MS on cognition and mood in young adults. These projects made me interested in continuing research in MS.
What inspires you to continue advancing research in this field?
As a MS neurologist with a clinic focusing on women’s health and pregnancy, clinical issues often arise where critical information is missing to optimize monitoring, counseling, and treatment of women with MS. This is especially important around pregnancy. These clinical challenges inspire me to do research in this area so we can better monitor and treat our patients.
How do you hope to change the lives of people living with MS through your research?
I hope that my research will help improve our understanding of how to monitor and treat women with MS before, during, and after pregnancies. I hope this will improve the health and quality of life for women with MS who have children.
What do you enjoy most about your research? What are some of the challenges you face?
I enjoy the direct connection between my research and treating women with MS. When I see challenges in the clinic, I enjoy designing research studies to help answer the questions raised. I also enjoy applying the results of my research when counseling and treating people with MS, as well as educating other neurologists about treating women with MS around pregnancy. There are challenges in doing research in pregnant women given this involves researching both the woman and her fetus/infant. However, this is important so we can appropriately treat MS around pregnancy, as well as ensure safety of the fetus/infant.
How important is the support from the MS Society of Canada in your research?
The support from the MS Society of Canada is critical for my research, as I would not be able to perform this work without the financial support from the MS Society of Canada.