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Recipients of the 2024 ECTRIMS Fellowships announced

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Seven early-career members of the MS community are about to embark on the professional adventure of a lifetime, having won a 2024 ECTRIMS fellowship award.

The Nurse and Allied Health Professional, Clinical Training, and Research programmes all provide funded placements at a European institution of the applicants’ choice, where they will work under the tutelage of some of the world’s leading experts in multiple sclerosis.

Congratulating the successful applicants, ECTRIMS President, Mar Tintoré, said:

“As an association, we strive to support our members to build their career, for the good of all people living with MS. Our fellowship programmes offer the next generation of MS researchers and healthcare professionals the opportunity to expand their knowledge, their expertise, their network, and their profile within the wider community. As in previous years, all three categories were highly competitive, attracting a high number of high-quality applications from around the world. We would like to congratulate all those who were successful and encourage those who were not to reapply next year.”

Nurse and Allied Health Professional Fellowship

  • Oscar Ayala, from Columbia, will travel to the Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica de Girona Dr. Josep Trueta (IDIBGI) in Spain to work on a randomised controlled clinical trial of MS-line! Cognitive Rehabilitation Program. “The programme incorporates computer-based, written, and manipulative activities. It is among the few cognitive rehabilitation programs available in Spanish, and has empirical evidence supporting its efficacy,” he said. The project, he went on, will enhance his ability to provide improved care and expand his knowledge in the field.

Read more about the Professional Training Fellowship Programme here.

Clinical Training Fellowship

  • Dr Adriana Casallas Vanegas is from Columbia. Her placement will be at Spain’s Cemcat Hospital Vall d’Hebron, where she will evaluate the role of MRI in detecting optic pathway damage in early MS. “It will allow us to better characterise the involvement of the visual pathway beyond the acute phase of optic neuritis, and respond to specific complaints, especially those with MS in which residual visual symptoms have a negative quality of life impact,” she said.
  • Dr Denison Pedrosa, from Brazil, will be working at the Queen Mary University of London, focusing on how to increase access to oral cladribine in resource-poor settings. “Accessing therapies is a significant challenge in Brazil. The high cost of most drugs, a shortage of neurologists, and the limited availability of high-efficacy treatments pose barriers,” he said. He aims to use the experience to lobby for the Brazilian healthcare system to adopt the drug.
  • Dr Maria Melania Martoiu will travel from her native Romania to the John Radcliffe Hospital in the UK to embark on a project entitled iron spinal cord accumulation in MS. “I wish to pursue an ECTRIMS Clinical Training Fellowship at a centre of MS excellence to equip me with the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver the highest standard of care possible in my home country, Romania,” she said, adding that it would expose her to a “world-leading clinical, educational, and research environment”.

Read more about the Clinical Training Fellowship Programme here.

Research Fellowship

  • Dr Estibaliz Maudes, from Spain, will be based at Germany’s University of Göttingen, where she will focus on characterising the role of anti- versus pro-inflammatory B cells in MS. “Embarking on this fellowship is a unique professional opportunity. I understand the enriching impact of international collaboration and diverse research environments,” she said, adding that the project had the potential to make a “significant contribution” to the field.
  • Dr Wei Yeh will travel from Australia to the University of Oxford in the UK, where he will be studying how to optimise treatment strategies in myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease (MOGAD). He said: “Australia has no designated national or state referral clinic for NMOSD or MOGAD. I will be able to bring back skills and help establish specialist NMOSD services, and the clinical insight I gain will help guide future translational research efforts.”
  • Dr Zuhal Abasiyanik, from Turkey, will be based at the University of Hasselt in Belgium, working on a study called Comprehensive multidimensional assessment of gait adaptability as a marker of subtle gait deficits in persons with MS with no to mild disability. She said: “I aim to extend the understanding of walking impairment in MS by exploring the ability to adapt to different environmental conditions and the neural mechanisms underlying behaviour.”

Read more about the Research Fellowship Programme here.

More information on our fellowship programmes can be found here. Applications to the 2025 round will open on 1 July 2024.