A day in the life of Dr Alberto Calvi: understanding progression with MRI

Wed 08 December 2021

Dr Alberto Calvi

We fund PhD students to help kickstart their MS research careers, supporting future MS research. Dr Alberto Calvi is a neurologist doing his PhD at University College London. Discover what a typical day looks like for him.

As a PhD student, I have a very intense day filled with curiosity, reading and researching MS. I think it’s one of the most interesting topics in neuroscience.

My work focuses on developing advanced MRI markers. These are things we can see on MRI scans. They show if a treatment is working and how we could improve testing of treatments in clinical trials.

I study what are called slowly expanding lesions. These are areas of inflammation that can damage nerves, even when you aren’t having a relapse. We think they may impact how peoples' MS progresses. I’m investigating how these lesions develop using the power of computers.

Morning coffee and clinical trials

After a good espresso (or maybe more than one) I start work. I dedicate half of my time to assessments with people taking part in clinical trials like MS-STAT2. There’s a lot of work to keep trials going smoothly with so many researchers and people enrolled.

I really enjoy collecting important data and spending time phoning participants to give any sort of support they need. My background is linked with this element of my research after my medical training in Italy. I enjoy spending time with people with MS and explaining what my project is about. I learn so much from them.

An afternoon of learning

The other part of the day is dedicated to analysing MRI scans and improving my knowledge on how this technology can help stop MS. Funnily enough, I have never been good at dealing with computers so this challenge has actually pushed me to learn.

I take part in video training, teaching and meetings with my supervisors and other researchers. I’m learning how to analyse complex data and how to find the MRI markers that could be useful for future research.

Reflecting on the day

The day is only made of 24 hours. But after analysis and assessments there's still some time to enjoy a good chat with the team about how we did, and what can still be improved.

Sometimes a nice culinary reward is even achieved. Once, we had a meal cooked (a lovely masala curry) by a clinical trial participant to enjoy with the team.

I strongly believe in the connection the worldwide MS research community has. We have the passion to discover what’s behind MS and how to tackle it together.

This blog came from an article in MS Matters. Read the current issue and the full back catalogue on our website.