At the Frontier of Tomorrow’s Medicine: developing strategies to promote myelin repair in diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

03 May 2019
Meet Australian researchers who use stem cells to advance our understanding of how the body develops and what happens during disease.

Dr Toby Merson is the Group Leader of the Merson Group at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) at Monash University. 

The Merson group studies the cellular and molecular interactions between neurons and myelin-forming oligodendrocytes in the central nervous system. 

New research from the Merson Group has demonstrated for the first time that electrical activity within axons provides a precise cue for determining which neurons in the central nervous system are to be myelinated. 

Moreover, the team also discovered that certain stem cells in the brain have a greater capacity to regenerate the myelin that is damaged in Multiple Sclerosis.
These finding are contributing to the development of therapies aimed at treating and even reversing the damage that occurs in neurodegenerative diseases, particularly MS. 

Dr Merson feels a moral imperative to do his research: “We have made a lot of discoveries in stem cells, and now we want to apply that to people living with MS”. 

Listen to Dr Toby Merson’s story, as he shares an insight into his research, his journey into a scientific career and his advice for all young researchers around the idea of perfectionism in the lab. 

Australian stem cell researchers are making important discoveries in the lab, that will move research outcomes towards clinical applications. Watch their videos.