Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Cause and Risk Factors

Despite decades of research, the cause of MS is still a mystery. Researchers are pointing to a combination of biological, environmental and lifestyle triggers that contribute to risk for MS. Knowing what these triggers are and how they influence one another is a critical step towards understanding and developing a cure for this perplexing and often unpredictable disease.


Project Title
Funding Term
Progressive degeneration from onset in pediatric multiple sclerosis: Evaluation of clinical and health-related quality of life, early loss of brain integrity and accelerated immunological senescence Dr. Brenda Banwell Multiple 2015-2020 $3 200 000
Sex and Central Nervous System Autoimmunity Dr. Shannon Dunn Toronto General Research Institute 2016-2019 $346 896
The Role of EBV, B cells and NKT cells in MS Dr. Peter van den Elzen The University of British Columbia 2018-2021 $316 500
Elucidating the mechanistic role of latent EBV infection in the etiology of MS Dr. Marc Horwitz University of British Columbia 2017-2020 $354 048
Immigration and the risk of multiple sclerosis Dr. Dalia Rotstein University of Toronto 2017-2019 $102 774.64
Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination and multiple sclerosis: a population-based study in Quebec Dr. Marie-Claude Rousseau Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) 2015-2019 $290 234
From bugs to brains: the gut microbiome in paediatric multiple sclerosis Dr. Helen Tremlett Multiple 2015-2019 $500 013.84
Human immunodeficiency virus, antiretroviral drugs and multiple sclerosis risk (HIV-MS) Dr. Helen Tremlett University of British Columbia 2018-2021 $299 979
It’s a fungal world: the mycobiome in pediatric MS Dr. Helen Tremlett University of British Columbia 2018-2021 $50 000


Project Title
Project Description

A humanized mouse model of MS to study EBV infection in


Jessica Allanach

The University of British Columbia

Studentship PhD

The aim of the research is to create and characterize mouse

models of MS that incorporate infection with Epstein-Barr

Virus (EBV), which is heavily implicated as an

environmental cofactor in disease but challenging to study


Evaluation of the role of peroxisome-proliferator activated

receptor delta (PPARd) in microglial responses during

experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE)

Paulina Drohomyrecky

University of Toronto

Studentship PhD

This project will evalaute the role of a protein, called

PPARδ, which is known to be involved in immune regulation.

Specifically, the aim is to determine if PPARδ alters the

function of immune cells of the brain, called microglia.

Host genetic influence on humoral immunity to viral

infections and its role in multiple sclerosis and

progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy

Jesse Huang

Karolinska Institute

Studentship PhD

The project aims to determine how genetics effect immune

response against MS-associated viruses. This includes

numerous herpes viruses particularly Epstein-Barr virus

along with opportunistic infections that may occur during

MS treatment.

Relationship Between Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Latency and

the onset of Multiple Sclerosis

Ana Citlali Márquez

The University of British Columbia

Studentship PhD

The study investigates how Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) can

lead to the development of MS using a mouse model of MS

that is infected with a similar virus to EBV. The project

will explore how the virus changes the mice’s immune system

before and during a disease progression.

Assessing the functional capacity of the Gut Microbiome in

Pediatric MS

Ali Mirza

Vancouver Hospital & Health Sciences Centre

Studentship PhD

The project will invvestigate how the gut bacteria’s

functional capacity (actions) differ between children with

and without multiple sclerosis.

Examining sex differences in central nervous system

plasticity and pain in a mouse model of Multiple Sclerosis

Ana Catuneanu

University of Alberta

Studentship Msc

The goal of the research is to better understand how nerve

cells in the pain processing areas of the spinal cord

change during chronic pain development in an animal model

of multiple sclerosis and how these changes differ between

males and females.

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