What are your research interests?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - What causes MS is poorly understood. I am interested in better understanding mechanisms underlying MS with the hopes of discovering targets for more effective therapies or a cure.
Why did you get into research?
Research gives me the opportunity to work in a challenging and stimulating work environment, which I have always enjoyed, while also working towards improving the lives and health of those affected by autoimmune disease.
What would be the ultimate goal for your research?
I would love to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. MS is a devastating disease that affects patients for the rest of their lives. A cure would have a huge impact on patients and their families.
Dr Vicki Maltby is a postdoctoral researcher in the Information Based Medicine research group at the University of Newcastle and the Brain & Mental Health program at HMRI. Having completed her PhD and Bachelor of Science at the University of British Columbia, Canada, she is interested in furthering current understanding of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Using a large-scale, genome-wide approach, Dr Maltby assesses the various epigenetic profiles of immune cells in MS patients and healthy controls to determine if these epigenetic changes have functional consequences. She also compares the different MS subtypes to see if there are changes that are predictive of disease subtype and severity.
Dr Maltby has published a number of scientific articles in high-ranking journals and has presented at national and international conferences. She has received funding from Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia and also the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, yielding over $460,000 while contributing to nine journal articles and six conference presentations.
Current therapies are only effective for some MS subtypes. By understanding the pathogenesis of MS, and the different subtypes, we hope to provide new targets for therapy. This in turn will help develop new therapies and hopefully lead to a cure.
Specialised/ Technical Skills
- Blood processing
- Flow cytometry
- Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay (ChIP)
- Immune cell isolation
- Tissue culture
- Western blotting
- Scientific writing
- Basic statistical analysis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common non-traumatic neurological disorder that affects young adults. MS is a chronic, life-long, disease which has no cure. A recent study from Newcastle describes a doubling of the incidence and prevalence of MS in the last 15 years. In patients with MS, the protective layer that coats the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord (called myelin) is damaged by the body’s own immune system. This damage hinders the ability of the nerve cells to transmit signals. MS is progressive, unpredictable and varies extensively between individuals, resulting in a broad spectrum of symptoms including physical, mental, and psychiatric problems depending on which areas of the brain or spinal cord are affected.
Dr Komal Vora, A/Professor Patricia Crock, Dr Vicki Maltby
HCRF has funded Dr Komal Vora’s study into Prader-Willi Syndrome – a complex genetic disorder that affects development and growth of the child, manifesting as cognitive disability, obesity, short stature and a chronic feeling of hunger.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common non-traumatic neurological disorder that affects young adults.
MS is progressive, unpredictable and varies extensively between individuals.
Dr Vicki Maltby, Associate Professor Patricia Crock, Professor Rodney Scott
The thyroid gland is responsible for the secretion of hormones involved in growth, sleep patterns, and cognitive development.