Name: Asanga Weliwitigoda
Affiliation: Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
Stage of research: Postdoctoral fellowship
Focus on: Mechanisms of disease
How I’m involved with MS research: MS is a multifaceted disease. My research goal is to understand how the protein DOCK8 in immune cells can alter neuroinflammation and potentially identify DOCK8 as a therapeutic target to treat MS.
What I enjoy most about conducting research: My research builds on the work of Dr. Bettelli, one of the pioneers of Th17 biology, whose lab has renowned expertise in animal models of MS and lymphoid cells. With her mentorship, I have been able to advance my knowledge of MS and have been successful in my research.
What is the focus of my research: I work on understanding how a particular protein may signal cell proliferation, the ability of a cell to multiply in response to a stimulus, and how that might impact a disease like MS.
What would you ask someone living with MS that could help you design your study?: What part of the immune system, whether it be a particular immune cell, immune function, or immune factor interests you the most?