Jokubaitis group

Neuroimmunology Genomics and Prognostics

What's on the page?

Key terms

Multiple Sclerosis, Neuroimmunology, Women’s Health, Pregnancy, Neonatal Outcomes, Genetics, Pharmacogenomics, Prognostics, Outcomes Research, Biostatistics, Epidemiology

2021 Jokubaitis group
2021 Jokubaitis group. L-R: Dr Omar Ibrahim, Ms Pia Campagna, Dr Vilija Jokubaitis (Head), Dr Michael Zhong, Mr Sandeep Sampangi, Dr Wei Yeh

Research goal

To improve the long-term outcomes for people with MS through evidence-based management, and treatment individualisation strategies. My group’s particular focus is on the optimization of MS therapy use, and the interplay between therapy use and women’s health.

Research overview

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune degenerative disease of the central nervous system. Globally MS affect about 2.8 million people, in Australia, MS prevalence is around 1 in 1,000, equating to about 23,000 Australians. Multiple Sclerosis represents a significant burden to Australian society with an estimated annual cost of >$1.7 billion AUD, due to lost productivity, and healthcare costs that increase markedly with disease-associated disability

The long-term disability outcomes of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) vary greatly, ranging from little or no disease-associated disability, to severe disease that can render individuals wheelchair or bed-bound within a decade of onset. Further, MS disproportionately affects 3 times more women than men, and is usually diagnosed during a woman’s reproductive years (20-40). My group’s research focus sits at the intersection between biology and clinical outcomes research.

Our research falls under three broad umbrellas:

  1. Women’s Health, Pregnancy and Neonatal Outcomes
  2. Identification of genetic and epigenetic signals associated with disease outcomes and treatment response
  3. Integration of biological (biomarker, genetic) and environmental data with clinical outcomes data to inform prognostic modelling

Our research integrates biological data with clinical outcomes data with the aim of better understanding what drives disability outcomes in MS, and similar neuroimmunological conditions such as neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD).

Projects

We collaborate nationally and internationally in order to be able to answer some of the big questions in MS. We have strong collaborative links with the MSBase Registry. Dr Jokubaitis is a member of the MSBase Scientific Leadership Group. She is the co-Chair and Scientific Leader of the MSBase Women’s Health, Pregnancy and Neonatal Outcomes Registry.

We have a number of on-going projects that utilize genetic, genomic, biostatistic, and epidemiological methodologies to approach our research aims.  Some of our current projects are listed below:

Current project funding

  • 2020 - 2023AI NHMRC Partnership Grant APP1180724 - $703,705 with additional matched support from partners totalling $1.4M. InforMS – an electronic patient-driven health care model with digital biomarker monitoring that improves the clinical care of people with MS.
  • 2020 – 2022CI The ACTIVE-MS Program (MSRA grant) - $250,000
  • 2019 – 2022  CIA NHMRC Project Grant APP1156519 - $470,079. Multiple Sclerosis: Pregnancy and Prognosis
  • 2020 – 2021CI  Pharmacogenomic prediction of treatment response in multiple sclerosis, Roche Pharmaceuticals - $30,000
  • 2019 – 2021  CI Active Participatory Health Monitoring in people with Multiple Sclerosis to improve treatment (Active-MS) MRFF - $242,000

Selected recent publications

For full list of publications, visit Pubmed. See Monash University feed of recent publications and projects below.

  1. Nguyen A, Vodehnalova K, Kalincik T et al., Jokubaitis VG (Senior author). Effect of pregnancy on the onset of clinically isolated syndrome. JAMA Neurology 2020: 77(12):1-9.
  2. Foster E, Malloy MJ, Jokubaitis VG, et al., Increased risk of cervical dysplasia in females with autoimmune conditions – results from an Australian linkage study. PloSOne 15(6):e0234813. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0234813.
  3. Gresle MM, Jordan MA, Stankovich J, et al., Multiple Sclerosis risk variants regulate gene expression in innate and adaptive immune cells. Life Science Alliance 3(7):e202000650. doi: 10.26508/lsa.202000650
  4. Zhong M, van der Walt A, Campagna MP, Stankovich J, Butzkueven H, Jokubaitis V (Senior author). The pharmacogenomics of rituximab: potential implications for anti-CD20 agents in multiple sclerosis. Neurotherapeutics 2020: 17(4):1768-84
  5. Dobson R, Jokubaitis VG, Giovannoni G. Change in pregnancy-associated multiple sclerosis relapse rates over time: a meta-analysis. MSRAD 2020 44:102241. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2020.102241
  6. Nguyen A, Estaugh A, Van der Walt A, Jokubaitis VG. Pregnancy and multiple sclerosis: clinical effects across the lifespan. Autoimmunity Reviews 2019; 18(10):102360
  7. Nguyen A, Havrdova E, Horakova D et al., Jokubaitis VG (Senior author). Incidence of pregnancy and disease-modifying therapy exposure trends in women with multiple sclerosis: a contemporary cohort study. MSARD 2019; 28:235-243
  8. Jokubaitis VG, Spelman T, Kalincik T, et al., Predictors of long-term disability accrual in relapse-onset multiple sclerosis. Annals of Neurology. 2016; 80(1): 89-100.
  9. Jokubaitis VG, Spelman T, Kalincik T, Lorscheider J, Havrdova E, Horakova D, et al. Predictors of long-term disability accrual in relapse-onset multiple sclerosis. Annals of Neurology. 2016 Jul;80(1):89-100
  10. Jokubaitis VG, Li V, Kalincik T, Izquierdo G, Hodgkinson S, Alroughani R, et al. Fingolimod after natalizumab and the risk of short-term relapse.  Neurology. 2014 Apr 8;82(14):1204-11.