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Leslie Kirby

Class 2012
Education BS, California State University Fullerton

Dr. Peter Calabresi

Research Interests

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). While current MS therapies can reduce the rate of relapse by targeting the peripheral immune system, they do not adequately restore lost myelin in CNS lesions causing most patients to progress into a chronic phase of the disease. One solution to this problem is to develop drugs that will cause endogenous progenitor cells to repopulate the lesion, where they can mature into oligodendrocytes, the myelin producing cells of the brain. It is thought that these myelinating oligodendrocytes will then repair neuronal axons in areas where the injury has occurred. Determining what factors enhance and inhibit this process is vital identifying new targets for remyelinating drugs. My thesis project is focused on how cells of the immune system communicate with oligodendrocytes and their progenitors to affect the differentiation and myelination processes.