29 May 2019

Translational Research Symposium Speaker Spotlight: Dr Vilija Jokubaitis

Dr Vilija Jokubaitis
Monash University's 5th annual Translational Research Symposium is being hosted by its three 21 June 2019. The symposium will host a diverse group of medical researchers presenting their work into translational research. RSVP here.
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Dr Vilija Jokubaitis is Head of the Neuroimmunology Genomics and Prognostics Group, MS and Neuroimmunology in the Department of Neuroscience.

Dr Vilija Jokubaitis (B. Com/B.Sci (Hons), PhD), completed her PhD in molecular and cellular biology at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne, followed by postdoctoral training at the Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland. She is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School at Monash University where she leads the Neuroimmunology Genomics, and Prognostics Group.

She is a clinical and translational neuroscientist with skills in molecular medicine and biostatistics. Her research interest lies specifically, in the intersection between biology and clinical outcomes research. The overarching aim of her research is to improve the prediction of long-term outcomes of people with neuroinflammatory diseases, with a strong focus on multiple sclerosis, with an ultimate goal to inform patient management and treatment individualisation.

She collaborates with the MSBase Registry, the largest MS clinical outcomes registry in the world.  She leads an international MS genetics consortium (MSBase-Gene) aimed at identifying genetic markers of MS outcomes and response to MS therapies. She also holds an interest in women’s health in the context of neuroinflammatory conditions. She is leading efforts to understand the impact of pregnancy on MS outcomes, as well as the impact of MS therapies on neonatal outcomes.
She is supported by an MS Research Australia Fellowship, and has project funding support from the NHMRC and MS Research Australia.

Dr Jokubaitis' presentation abstract can be found below:
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Translating Big(-ish) data into improved outcomes for people with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis affects over 2.5 million people globally and is the most common cause of non-traumatic neurological injury in young adults. MS affects 2-3 times as many women as it does men. It is typically diagnosed at about the age of 30, when issues of family planning become pertinent. The disease is highly heterogeneous in terms of clinical presentation, rates of disability progression and long-term outcomes.  At present, the ability to predict long-term prognosis at MS diagnosis is limited, and therefore, MS management depends largely upon therapeutic trial and error (there are currently 12 disease-modifying therapies available in Australia), leaving some ineffectively treated and vulnerable to progression. This relative inability to predict disability outcomes or tailor treatment strategies to the individual is therefore a great unmet need. Furthermore, our knowledge of the impact of pregnancy on long-term MS outcomes, and our knowledge of the impact of disease-modifying therapies on neonatal outcomes is limited. This makes family planning counselling challenging when discussing the best management strategies for women with MS.

During this talk, I will discuss work that our group is doing using big-ish data to address the above knowledge gaps so that ultimately, we can inform our knowledge of MS prognostics, and begin to more effectively tailor treatment and management strategies to the individual.

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We look forward to welcoming Dr Jokubaitis for the Symposium!

More information:
Translational Research Symposium
  • Date: Friday 21 June 2019
  • Time: 8:30 for 9:00am start - 5:30pm close
  • RSVP here
Find out more about the symposium and our speaker program.

If you are a graduate student or early career researcher, you may be interested in the Young Investigator poster competitionSee here for more details and to RSVP. Deadline for submissions has been extended to Friday 7 June!




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