Inna Grishkan

Student Information
Year 2010
Undergraduate BS, Boston College
Mentor Dr. Peter Calabresi

Thesis Project

I am currently studying the etiology and control of autoimmunity in Dr. Peter Calabresi’s lab, focusing on developing treatments for autoimmune conditions. Aware of severe side effects and limited success of many medications for multiple sclerosis, I began investigating the anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin D, a common drug available from food and sunlight. The vast majority of patients seen at Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Clinic have vitamin D deficiency, which has been shown to be a risk factor for developing the disease. Remarkably, vitamin D completely prevents the animal version of multiple sclerosis, a complex inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. Although the effect of the drug is apparent, the way it works is largely unknown. Since joining the lab, I have discovered that vitamin D inhibits the pathogenic immune cells from entering the brain and causing damage, and hope to fully characterize this mechanism as I work towards my PhD.