Through a portion of a National Institutes of Health grant shared with an Ohio colleague, IU Northwest assistant professor of chemistry Tia Walker is seeking new clues about the causes and mechanisms that result in multiple sclerosis — better known as MS.
Through a $45,000 portion of the $469,000 award, IU Northwest will be able to hire at least three undergraduate researchers and provide valuable training in advanced biomedical techniques and synthesis that are commonly used for drug development and evaluation, said Nelson De Leon, who chairs IU Northwest’s Department of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our campus and our students to contribute to important discoveries about MS,” De Leon said.
At the same time, Walker will work with assistant professor of chemistry Leah Shriver at the University at Akron to study the link between myelin — which coats, protects and insulates nerve fibers — a copper deficiency, which leads to its degeneration. In turn, this disrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body, which leads to MS.
“If we can better explain how MS presents itself, then we can change how we are studying the disease, allowing for better drug therapies,” Walker said.