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Driving Global Collaboration


The National MS Society fosters large-scale coalitions between MS experts and those from other fields and diseases to make rapid and meaningful progress.

  • We engage thought leaders to identify new opportunities and help set priorities and to serve as peer reviewers and advisors. Our centralized peer review and funding process helps us avoid geographic and political biases, and identify the best research projects in which to strategically invest our resources.
  • We fostered the creation of the Progressive MS Alliance, an international coalition working together to connect resources and experts around the world to find the answers and develop the solutions to end progressive MS.
  • We leverage support from other organizations, agencies and industry to propel MS research.
    • For example, the Society-led MS Outcome Assessments Consortium -- working toward creating a robust and FDA/EMA-approved clinical outcome measure for MS clinical trials --  is leveraging data from clinical trials that took $2 billion to generate. 
  • We have convened over 50 international workshops and meetings over the past 40 years, playing a pivotal role in fostering collaborations and moving knowledge forward in critical areas. Many of these workshops have been springboards for crucial leaps forward in research approaches to MS.

Another way we foster collaboration is through our Collaborative MS Research Center Awards, providing flexible funding for intensive laboratory studies combined with expansive clinical investigations. Bringing together scientists and physicians from diverse fields fosters cross-fertilization of ideas and techniques to propel progress.

These five-year awards provide flexible funding for expert scientists and clinicians from a variety of fields to team up on promising avenues of MS research. The current awards are listed below, according to whether they are doing research that will STOP MS in its tracks; research that will RESTORE what’s been lost; or research that will END MS forever.


Sergio Baranzini, PhD (University of California, San Francisco) is conducting a comprehensive analysis of gut bacteria in people with MS to determine factors that may drive progression and help to develop probiotic strategies for stopping progression. 

Ettie (Tika) Benveniste, PhD (University of Alabama) and colleagues are developing and evaluating novel immune system-modulating therapies for MS that can turn off immune attacks and protect nerve tissues.

Claudia Lucchinetti, MD and Charles Howe, PhD (Mayo Clinic) are taking a novel approach to studying nerve cells and possible ways to protect them from injury in MS and stopping MS progression.  

Jenny Ting, PhD (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) is exploring steps leading to injury to the central nervous system in MS and new strategies to stop the disease.


Dennis Bourdette, MD (Oregon Health & Science University) is developing patient-centered and evidenced-based wellness programs to improve the daily life of people with MS.

Peter Calabresi, MD (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore) is identifying factors that help to increase myelin-making cells, and using this knowledge to develop myelin repair strategies.

Wendy Macklin, PhD (University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver) is exploring brain cell interactions to shed new light on how damage occurs in MS and how to reverse the process to restore function to people with MS.


David Hafler, MD (Yale University) and colleagues are applying novel technologies to understand how newly identified MS risk genes alter biological mechanisms that lead to susceptibility to the disease.