Multiple Sclerosis Research
Interested in volunteering for a MS Study? View current research studies here.
Multiple Sclerosis Research at Shepherd Center
Shepherd Center engages in research to improve clinical outcomes and the quality of life for people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Research activities include clinical trials that yield cutting-edge therapies, such as investigational MS medications, new cell therapies and new devices, to Atlanta.
We support basic and applied MS research efforts that are scientifically sound, safeguard the welfare of research participants and have the potential to advance the field of rehabilitation medicine.
The MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Research Program began in 2012 as part of the Eula C. and Andrew C. Carlos MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Program at Shepherd Center. Our research mission supports that of the MS clinical program and aims to improve the function, health, wellness and quality of life in people with MS. To that end, our MS researchers are engaged in studies of the effects of rehabilitation and exercise interventions for people with MS (figure below), as well as vocation and quality of life. A concerted effort is also made to disseminate research findings (knowledge translation) to people with MS, as well as MS healthcare providers, caregivers and payers to optimize function and quality of life for people living with MS.
Shepherd Center’s research program is unique in that it is truly an integration of clinical and research endeavors. This integrated team, led by Deborah Backus, PT, Ph.D., FACRM, is comprised of physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, exercise specialists, physicians and collaborators from various related fields and institutions, who endeavor to answer meaningful questions that can be translated into clinical practice.
Our research core:
Deborah Backus, PT, PhD, FACRM
Director of MS Research
Office contact: 404-350-7599
Louise Palmer, MA Project Manager
Rebecca Thomasson, OTR/L CLT Occupational Therapist
Joy Williams, PT, DPT
Marina Moldavskiy, BS Exercise Specialist/Research Coordinator
Our Clinical Partners at Shepherd Center
Ben Thrower, M.D. Medical Director, MS Institute, Physician PI
Guy Buckle, M.D., MPH Director, Imaging Research, Physician PI
Sherrill Loring, M.D. Physician PI
Anna Berry, PT, DPT MS Program Manager
Blake Burdett, BS Exercise Specialist
Anneke Bender, MPT Physical Therapist Evaluator
- Abiodun Akinwuntan, Ph.D., MPH, and Hannes Devos, Ph.D., Georgia Regents University, Georgia, USA
- Ilse Baert, Ph.D., and Peter Feys, Ph.D., Universiteit Hasselt, Biomedical Research Institute, Belgium
- James Krause, Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina, USA
- Kevin McCully, Ph.D., University of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia, USA
- Laura Rice, Ph.D., MPT, ATP and Jacob Sosnoff, Ph.D., University of Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA
- Manning Sabatier, Ph.D., Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Clinical Trials in MS
Our MS research activities also include clinical trials related to cutting-edge therapies such as investigational medications, new cell therapies and new devices. We support basic and applied MS research efforts that are scientifically sound, safeguard the welfare of research participants and have the potential to advance the field of rehabilitation medicine.
Ismari Clesson, RN, MSCN, CCRP, director of clinical research, and her team of clinical trial nurses and coordinators oversee 12 trials related to MS.
To learn more about clinical trials at Shepherd Center, please visit shepherd.org/research/clinical-trials