You are here

Impact of pregnancy on long-term outcomes in women with multiple sclerosis – assessment of mechanism

Data suggests that pregnancy in women with multiple sclerosis (MS) may exert long-term health benefits. Comparisons of women with and without pregnancy (but otherwise equivalent disease at a baseline time point) has shown less accumulation of disability in those who have had pregnancies. Further it has been shown that the risk of developing MS diminishes with increasing parity. The mechanism by which pregnancy protects against MS, and the accumulation of disability has not been established. This project will investigate the biological mechanism by which pregnancy exerts protection against the accumulation of disability. We are undertaking a prospective, investigator-initiated cohort study in which the neuroimmunological changes that occur as a consequence of pregnancy in health, and in women with MS will be investigated. We are looking for talented PhD students with an interest in clinical research in the Neuroimmunology field. This project has scope for both wet lab and dry lab research and involves both genomic and cell-based analyses including: immunophenotyping by spectral cytometry, FACS, epigenetic and genomic analyses, including RNAseq. This project will also utilise clinical outcomes data derived from the international MSBase Registry, and environmental data obtained though participant surveys. Outcomes and impact: Determination of the mechanism by which pregnancy impacts on long-term outcomes in women with multiple sclerosis will inform our knowledge of the biology underlying MS, and guide new avenues for therapeutic intervention research. Research Environment: This project is set in a multidisciplinary environemnt including neuroscientists, neuroimmunologists, neurologists, obstetricians and midwives, biostatisticians, and bioinformaticians. The proposed project will be undertaken in collaboration with other Victorian, NSW, WA sites who collaborate with the MSBase Registry, an international, prospective, observational MS outcomes registry (
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
Multiple Sclerosis, Neuroimmunology, Immunology, pregnancy, genomics, cell biology, epigenetics, RNAseq, health outcomes, disability, flow cytometry, FACS, bioinformatics, biostatistics
School of Translational Medicine » Neuroscience
Available options 
Time commitment 
Top-up scholarship funding available 
Physical location 
Alfred Research Alliance
Helmut Butzkueven
Assoc Prof 
Anneke van der Walt

Want to apply for this project? Submit an Expression of Interest by clicking on Contact the researcher.