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New fellowship to support Curtin research for people living with MS

Media release

A Curtin University nutritional epidemiologist whose research is focused on helping people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) has been awarded a three-year fellowship by MS Australia.

Associate Professor Lucinda Black, from Curtin’s School of Population Health, today received the MS Australia Postdoctoral Fellowship, which provides salary support for early career researchers working in the field of MS.

Associate Professor Black said the fellowship would support her research to examine the link between diet and MS, the most common acquired chronic neurological disease affecting young adults with more than 25,600 Australians currently living with the disease.

“While diet appears to play a part in the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, the role of diet in the progression of the disease remains unclear, with a lack of high-quality evidence,” Associate Professor Black said.

“My research program is seeking to address the sometimes contradictory, confusing and unfounded online dietary advice that is available to people living with MS.

“About 40 per cent of adults with MS make dietary changes after being diagnosed, so we want to ensure they are making the right choices and following a healthy diet.”

MS Australia Chief Executive Officer Rohan Greenland said: “Supercharging our research efforts by supporting our local Australian researchers is our absolute priority”.

“As diet and nutrition are important to people living with MS, MS Australia remains committed to exploring this modifiable lifestyle factor as a significant area of research focus,” Mr Greenland said.

“Currently, the advice for people with MS is to follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines however, given the abundance of information and misinformation found online, people with MS need advice on how to interpret what is evidence-based and how to apply this to their dietary preferences and lifestyle. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of this important research project led by Associate Professor Black.”

MS Australia is the national peak body for people affected by MS and is dedicated to advocacy, education and research, as part of the worldwide effort to solve MS.

The MS Australia Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded to Associate Professor Black is valued at $225,000.

For more information about MS Australia and the 2022 grant round, click here.

Associate Professor Black’s research program in diet and MS has also been generously supported by MSWA since 2016.