NHMRC ‘top up’ funding

Commencing January 2020, Dr Vivien Li, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health Victoria, was awarded a Postgraduate Research Scholarship over three years funded by the National Health & Medical Research Council with ‘top up’ funding provided by the Trish MS Research Foundation.  The aim of the Project titled, “Towards developing dendritic cell therapy for multiple sclerosis based on promoting Mertk signalling” was to study ways to dampen down the abnormal immune activation, which would hopefully lead to new ways of combatting MS.

Despite being delayed by Covid, with laboratory access being reduced early in her work, Dr Li made good progress, including collection of blood samples from patients with MS; exploring the effects of tolerogenic factors dexamethasone and vitamin D3 on expression of Mertk and other cell surface markers on dendritic cells; testing different protocols, including serum-free conditions for differentiation of monocytes into dendritic cells with good viability and with tolerogenic potential.

Dr Li has been granted a 6-month extension by the NHMRC for COVID-19 related delays and her Postgraduate Scholarship is now being continued until September 2023.