Father's battle with MS inspired Trinity grad's field of study

World MS Day heightens awareness of multiple sclerosis

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Despite suffering from multiple sclerosis, David Ulin found the strength to stand at his 22-year-old daughter's side on graduation day at Trinity University.

Ulin, 55, a former account executive in technology sales, has had MS for as long as his daughter, Lindsey, can remember.

The Ulins are among an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide that are impacted by one of the most common neurological diseases with no cause or cure and with varying symptoms. Wednesday was World MS Day.

"He's had it since I was about three. But for most of my life, just looking at him, you wouldn't have been able to tell," Lindsey Ulin said.

Except in the last few years, Lindsey Ulin said her father's condition became more obvious right about the time she started attending Trinity.

Little did they know then that her field of study would be inspired by father's battle with MS.

A science and neuroscience major, Lindsey Ulin said she didn't begin helping with a pilot study of MS until her junior year.

David Ulin had quite a reaction when he learned what the research involved.

"He was just amazed that this opportunity had presented itself," Lindsey Ulin said.

The grad said she believes it was meant to be.

"I think so. I can definitely say that now that I've graduated and looking back," Lindsey Ulin said.

Lindsey Ulin said she and her research adviser looked at whether exercise can benefit MS patients by studying mice with MS.

Lindsey Ulin said their exercise included running on a wheel similar to hamster.

"How fast they were able to run on exercise wheels, as well as distance," she said.

Lindsey Ulin said thin slices of mice brains were examined for effects on neurons and their protective sheath that can be destroyed by MS.

She said the study's promising results are preliminary, and more research is needed.

Although the benefits of exercise for MS patients is up for debate, Lindsey Ulin said their study found it may trigger a protein that could help create neurons.

"This could show us that exercise does have this protective effect in slowing disease progression," she said.

The new Trinity grad said she will be taking a year off for clinical research before deciding on a medical school.

Lindsey Ulin said she wants to help in perhaps finding a cure or improving the quality of life.

"Not just for people like by dad, but everyone else whose affected by this disease, their family members," she said.

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