Kyla McKay

Assistant professor

Assistant Professor in Neuroepidemiology

About me

I completed my PhD at the University of British Columbia in Experimental Medicine. Though my dissertation, I sought to better understand the link between mental health and health behaviours in the multiple sclerosis population. In September 2017, I moved to Stockholm, Sweden to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship under the supervision of Professor Jan Hillert at Karolinska. While here, my research focus has shifted to the study of paediatric-onset multiple sclerosis.  

Research description

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, progressively disabling disease of the central nervous system. Its aetiology is not fully understood and it has no known cure. Between 3 and 10% of persons with MS experience their first neurological symptom in childhood. Though paediatric MS accounts for a small percentage of all cases, it is particularly distressing to patients and their families. Few population-based studies have investigated the demographic and clinical characteristics of MS in children, which contributes to uncertainty in the management of the disease.

My research is largely focused on better understanding the causes and consequences of paediatric multiple sclerosis. Using the population-level health data available in Sweden, I have been focused on understanding risk factors for the development of MS in children, as well as the longer-term socioeconomic and health outcomes. 


PhD in Experimental Medicine - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (June 2017)

Dissertation: Using linked health data to investigate the epidemiology and impact of mental health and health behaviours in multiple sclerosis

Bachelor of Science – Major in Neuroscience - Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (May 2008)

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Forte Postdoctoral Award - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare – January 2020 to 2022

endMS Postdoctoral Fellowship Award - Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada – September 2020 to 2021 (declined)

Forskningsbidrag (Research Grant) -  Svenska MS-Sällskapet (Swedish MS Association) – January 2020

Karolinska Institutet Internship Program - Försvarsmakten (Swedish Armed Forces) – August 2019 to October 2019

Early-career investigator scholarship - Columbia University, USA – May 2019

Forskningsanslag (Research grant)  - Neuroförbundet – January 2018 to December 2019                                        

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Exchange Award  - European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) – September 2017 to 2019

Postdoctoral Fellowship Award  - Canadian Institutes of Health Research – September 2017 to 201