One of the daily tasks of a scientist you might not have considered: keeping up with the constantly growing body of research in not just your field, but throughout many related fields. Every week, around 80-100 papers with the key phrase “multiple sclerosis” are added to the list of papers that pop up in PubMed, the search engine we use to find published biology abstracts and papers. As researchers, we continually scan through the latest titles, consider abstracts, pull papers for closer reads, and send off references to colleagues that might find them of interest.
While the constant scramble to keep up on the latest research is sometimes daunting, it is also exciting. It sparks new ideas, new perspectives, new ways of approaching challenges.
This same kind of excitement is kindled at the Annual Carolinas MS Researchers Forum, where MS researchers from NC and SC gather in the Research Triangle to catch up on each other’s work. This year it was hosted by the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute, just down the hall from Dr. Gregory’s lab space.
About a dozen MS researchers gave talks, sharing their latest work. Dr. Gregory presented work on oxysterols, derivatives of cholesterol that are naturally produced in our bodies. Oxysterols show promise in animal models for promoting remyelination, the next big target for MS drug development. Part of this project uses this neat tool: CatWalk XT. It allows them to quantify the mobility problems experienced by mice with mouse models of MS. They can even measure the pressure of individual mouse toes! They are using it to more precisely measure how drug treatments improve mobility in mouse MD models.
In the afternoon cocktail poster session, researchers presented posters to both their peers and to supporters of MS research. As ever, it was a humbling and rewarding experience for us to get to speak with the very people that our work is benefiting.
All in all, it was an energetic, productive event – here’s looking to 2018!
Thank you to the financial sponsors who made this event possible: