Our Team

Our team includes the centre directors, clinical researchers, preclinical researchers, research fellows, students and honorary staff.

Find out more about our team below.

 

Dr Bonnie Auyeung

Chancellor's Fellow and Reader

Bonnie Auyeung’s work is focused around two central themes: 1) the biological origins of neurodevelopmental and neurological conditions in children and 2) relieving the symptoms of these conditions which can cause difficulties in everyday life. Her interest in this subject stems from clinical and research experience at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute in her home city of Los Angeles. Before coming to Edinburgh, Bonnie completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre and has since published extensively on the effects of the prenatal environment on later brain and behavioural development.

Bonnie's research page

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Professor Richard Chin

Centre Head of Clinical Research

Professor of Paediatric Neurology and Clinical Epidemiology

Richard Chin is an honorary clinical paediatric neurologist with a particular interest in childhood onset epilepsy. His research aims to identify the causes and risk factors for epilepsy, develop better treatments, and to improve the quality of life of children and their families affected by epilepsy.

Richard's research page

 

Dr Christopher Derry

Consultant Neurologist

Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer

Christopher Derry’s particular area of interest is epilepsy, and he is one of two Consultant Neurologists managing the regional Edinburgh and South East Scotland Epilepsy Service. He also has expertise and interest in the diagnosis and management of neurological disorders of sleep, including parasomnias, movement disorders of sleep and sleep-related epilepsies. He is currently engaged in clinical research into interactions between sleep disorders and epileptic seizures, and has authored a number of scientific publications and given invited lectures at national and international meetings in this area.

Christopher's research page

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Dr Susan Duncan

Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer in Neurology

Susan Duncan has retired from the NHS but remains research active.  Having been clinical lead for adult epilepsy services in NHS Lothian and the South East of Scotland Susan has retired from the NHS but remains research active.  Having been clinical lead for adult epilepsy services in NHS Lothian and the South East of Scotland, she is now the Chair of the Board of Directors for Epilepsy Scotland. An Edinburgh University graduate, her research areas include sex hormones in epilepsy and death in epilepsy, she is now the Chair of the Board of Directors for Epilepsy Scotland. An Edinburgh University graduate, her research areas include sex hormones in epilepsy and death in epilepsy.

Susan's research page

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Dr Javier Escudero

Senior Lecturer

Javier Escudero is Senior Lecturer in the Institute for Digital Communications of the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. He received the MEng and PhD degrees in telecommunications engineering from the University of Valladolid, Spain, in 2005 and 2010, respectively. Afterwards, he held a Postdoctoral position at Plymouth University, UK, until 2013.

Javier is author of numerous scientific journal articles. His research interests include non-linear analysis, brain connectivity, and machine learning, with the objective of contributing to detecting and monitoring changes in health and disease.

Dr Escudero is Senior Member of the IEEE and was elected member of the Young Academy of Scotland in 2016. He has also received the Nightingale Award for the best paper published in 2017 in medical and biological engineering and computing. He has been awarded funding by the Leverhulme Trust, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, and the EPSRC, among others.

Javier's research page

 

Jothy Kandasamy

Consultant Neurosurgeon

Jothy is a full time adult and paediatric neurosurgeon. As a NHS Scotland career research fellow he is an active pre-clinical and clinical research collaborator and has been involved as a local PI for several national and international neurosurgical clinical trials. His clinical and research interests include novel epilepsy surgery techniques, neurooncology, hydrocephalus and novel imaging and neurosurgical techniques. He is currently the chair of the Scottish Paediatric Neurosurgical Group, co-lead surgeon for the Scottish National Paediatric Epilepsy Surgery Service and a trainer and examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh.

 Jothy's Full Profile

 

Dr Wayne WK Lam

Consultant Clinical Geneticist

Honorary Senior Lecturer in Clinical Genetics

Wayne Lam is a clinical geneticist and works with families with neurodevelopmental disorders. He has a lifelong interest in paediatric developmental disorders and acts as a medical advisor for Scottish neurocutaneous disorder charities. His current research looks at how large scale gene sequencing can impact on our understanding of these disorders.

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Professor Martyn Pickersgill

Personal Chair of the Sociology of Science and Medicine

Martyn Pickersgill’s research focuses on the social, historical and ethical aspects of neuroscience and mental health. A social scientist, Martyn specialises in the use of qualitative methods for understanding the relationships between scientific research, clinical practice, and wider society.

Martyn has degrees in biology and sociology, and first came to Edinburgh in 2009 following his doctoral research at the University of Nottingham (a period in which he also trained at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University). He has subsequently held a variety of grants and fellowships, from bodies such as the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Wellcome Trust. Martyn is also a recipient of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Henry Duncan Medal. He directs the Social Dimensions of Biomedicine Programme, Co-Director of Research in the Usher Institute, and Associate Director of the Wellcome Trust-supported Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society.

Martyn’s work around epilepsy is concerned with individual and societal understandings of and perspectives on the condition, and of the wider regimes of biomedical knowledge from which these emerge.

Martyn's research page

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Dr Christian Schnier

Senior Epidemiologist

Christian Schnier is a senior epidemiologist in infection medicine. He is close collaborator of Professor Richard Chin with whom he has co-authored several publications on disease progression in people with epilepsy. The underlying theme in those publications is the analysis of health information from large linked, national databases, which is something Christian has been specializing in since his PhD in 2004.

Christian's research page

 

Dr Andrew Stanfield

Senior Clinical Research Fellow / Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist

Director of Clinical Research, Patrick Wild Centre

Dr Andy Stanfield is an academic psychiatrist with a focus on intellectual disability and autism, especially in people with genetic conditions. Many of these conditions are also associated with epilepsy and behaviour difficulties. Dr Stanfield’s research has two main focus: the translation of findings from the laboratory into clinical practice and the investigation of the clinical and cognitive features of people with intellectual disability. He has been the UK-chief investigator for several clinical trials of new medications for fragile X syndrome and has also carried out studies which have investigated non-medical interventions for intellectual disability and autism. He works closely with colleagues from fundamental neuroscience with the aim of paralleling findings from laboratory models in people with genetic forms of intellectual disability. By doing so he hopes to facilitate the development of better therapeutics to help people with these conditions.

Current epilepsy projects Andrew is woring on includes:

  • Neurocognitive Phenotypes in Genetic Developmental Disorders (Neuro-GD). Full Details

Andrew's Full Profile

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Dr K Kamath Tallur

Consultant Paediatric Neurologist

Honorary Senior Lecturer

Dr Tallur is a Consultant Paediatric Neurologist with interest in clinical areas including Foetal neurology, Idiopathic intracranial hypertension, childhood epilepsy, neural tube defects, Paediatric vestibular disorders.

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Professor Christopher Weir

Personal Chair in Medical Statistics

Christopher Weir is a medical statistician, specialising in the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of clinical trials.  He develops and supports major clinical trials aiming to identify beneficial treatments across a range of conditions, including epilepsy.  In addition, he is also actively involved in clinical trials methodology research, seeking to improve the efficiency of trials through novel approaches to their design and analysis.

Christopher's research page

Dr Rachael Wood

Consultant in Public Health Medicine

Honorary Reader

Within the NHS, Dr Wood is a Consultant in Public Health Medicine in Public Health Scotland.  Within the University, she is an Honorary Reader in the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences and an Affiliate Member of the Usher Institute.

Within Public Health Scotland, Dr Wood focuses on maternal and child health, and is inaugural director of Scotland's national congenital anomaly register (CARDRISS).  Her role involves development of national data, overseeing national statistics publications, providing information to support health policy and service development and evaluation, and supporting the use of Public Health Scotland data for research purposes.

Within the University, Dr Wood conducts research on maternal and child public health.  She has particular topic interests in congenital anomalies and child development.  She has particular methodological interests in the use of routine administrative data for research.

Rachael's research page

Noramon Dron 

PhD Student

Noramon Dron is a third-year PhD student at the Institute for Digital Communication in the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. Her research aims to develop algorithms to jointly analyse electroencephalogram (EEG) and structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) data and developmental scores in children with early-onset epilepsy. Her aim is to predict the developmental impairment of those children from the clinical data available at the point of diagnosis. Noramon’s PhD is funded by a Royal Thai Government Scholarship.

Paolo Mazzone

PhD Student

Paolo Mazzone graduated from the University of Greenwich with a BSc (Hons) Psychology before completing an MSc in Clinical Neurology at the University of Sheffield. Working out of the Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), Paolo’s MSc dissertation focused on the potential use of full-body MRI to identify novel biomarkers in motor neuron disease. Paolo has professional experience working on large, multicentre projects within the NHS and University departments, and in September 2020, was awarded a fully funded scholarship by the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre. Paolo is using routinely collected Scottish national health and educational datasets to investigate associations between maternal epilepsy and pregnancy outcomes, and offspring neurodevelopmental, educational and long-term socioeconomic outcomes.

Dr Gashirai Mbizvo

Clinical Research Fellow in Neurology

Gashirai Mbizio is a Clinical Research Fellow in Neurology working on the Epilepsy Research UK and Juliet Bergqvist Memorial Trust funded case-control study on epilepsy related deaths in Scotland from 2009-2014.  Gashirai has won a number of awards for his work.

Gashirai's full profile

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Iris Soare

PhD Student

Iris Soare is a Biomedical Signal Processing PhD student looking to develop and apply analysis algorithms on interesting EEG brain data. Her background is in Mechatronic Engineering and in Control Systems. In the past, Iris has applied deep learning algorithms to denoise EEG data. During her PhD, she is interested in potentially tackling some of the challenges of understanding, predicting and limiting the spread of epileptic seizures using concepts of brain functional connectivity and control theory. Iris’ PhD is funded by the EPSRC.

Professor Cathy Abbott

Chair of Mammalian Molecular Genetics

Cathy Abbott is a Professor in the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Her research group works on a gene called EEF1A2, mutations in which can cause epilepsy. Cathy studies the function of the protein encoded by the gene, and the effect the many different mutations in the gene have on affected children. Cathy is keen to raise awareness of the condition and interact with affected families via the website and patient groups.

eEF1A2 and epilepsy (external website)

Cathy's research page

Dr Stuart Cobb

Simons Fellow and Reader in Neuroscience

Stuart Cobb heads a translational research group that is focused on developing genetic therapies for severe neurological / neurodevelopmental disorders. His research aims to address the tractability of severe brain disease to genetic rescue and to develop innovative therapeutic solutions for clinical translation. In addition to his academic research, Stuart Cobb is Chief Scientific Officer at Neurogene Inc, a clinical stage gene therapy company developing gene therapies for severe neurological indications.

Stuart's Reseach Profile

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Professor Michael Cousin

Centre Head of Preclinical research

Chair of Neuronal Cell Biology

Michael Cousin is a cell biologist interested in the presynaptic function. His research involves exploring how neurotransmitter release is altered during elevated brain activity such as epileptic seizure by examining key molecules in preclinical models of human disease.

Michael is Chair of Neuronal Cell Biology at the University of Edinburgh. He is also Preclinical Director of the MMEC and is currently Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of Epilepsy Research UK.

Current epilepsy projects in the Cousin laboratory are –

  1. DNM1 epileptic encephalopathy – mechanism and therapy
  2. Molecular mechanism of presynaptic dysfunction in CDKL5 deficiency disorder
  3. Dysfunction of the synaptic vesicle cargo trafficking – links to epilepsy
  4. The role of activity-dependent bulk endocytosis in physiology and pathophysiology

Michael's research page

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Dr Alfredo Gonzalez-Sulser

Simons Initiative for the Developing Brain Fellow

Alfredo Gonzalez-Sulser is a pre-clinical scientist researching network pathologies in animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy and epileptic encephalopathies. Alfredo is testing novel network based approaches to block seizures and their cognitive comorbidities.

Current epilepsy projects include:

  1. Medial Septal GABAergic Stimulation Blocks Seizures in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.
  2. Absence Seizures and Sleep Deficiencies in SYNGAP1 haploinsufficiency.
  3. Network Abnormalities in CDKL5 deficiency disorder.

Alfredo's research page

Alfredo's website

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Professor Peter Kind

Professor of Developmental Neuroscience

Director of the Patrick Wild Centre for Research into Autism, Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) and Intellectual Disability Director of the Simons Initiative for the Developing Brain Associate Director at the Centre for Brain Development and Repair (CBDR) at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (Instem), Bangalore, India.

The Kind laboratory examines the cellular, circuit and behavioural dysfunction associated with monogenic forms of Intellectual Disabilities (ID), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Chilhood Epilpsies (CE). The laboratory focuses on synaptic function, from the physiological and morphological alterations to the behavioural phenotypes associated with rodent models of these disorders. We also test the hypothesis that distinct genetic causes of ID/ASD/CE share common patholophsyiology that may be amenable to similar therapeutic approaches. We use mouse and rat models of ASD/ID to examine the developmental trajectory of these disorders to determine whether there are critical periods when therapeutic interventions, including genetic and therapeutic strategies, are most effective.

Peter's Full Profile

Dr Noboru Komiyama

Senior Lecturer in the Synaptic Biology & Disease

Noboru is currently Senior Lecturer and a member of Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (Synaptic biology), The Patrick Wild Centre for Research into Autism, Fragile X Syndrome & Intellectual Disabilities and Simons Initiative for the Developing Brain. 

His current research focus is on the NMDA-type neurotransmitter receptor and its interacting molecules at synapses that play fundamental roles in brain function, including memory formation and learning, development of complex neuronal connection. Dysfunction of those molecules also has been largely implicated for neuronal diseases including intellectual disability, autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy. 

Noboru's Full Profile

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Professor Dies Meijer

Professor of Cellular Neurobiology

Dies Meijer is a cell biologist interested in how mutations in leucine-rich glioma inactivated glycoproteins are implicated in various forms of hereditary epileptic seizure. 

Dies' research page

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Professor Matt Nolan

Professor of Neural Circuits and Computation

Matt Nolan uses experimental and theoretical approaches to investigate how neural circuits carry out computations and how these circuits go wrong in brain disorders. For example, using large-scale simulations of neural circuits that we described experimentally, we recently discovered how changes in background activity in a neural circuit can lead to seizures.

Matt's research page

Dr Emily Osterweil

Wellcome Senior Research Fellow

Emily Osterweil is a molecular neuroscientist investigating how alterations in the synthesis of new proteins contributes to disorders of the brain, including epilepsy. Her research uses cell-type specific translation profiling and RNA sequencing to discover circuit-specific disease mechanisms, and identify novel therapeutic targets.

Emily's research page

Emily's website

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Dr Clare Pridans

Principal Investigator

Clare Pridans is a developmental immunologist. Her research focuses on understanding CSF1R signalling during microglia development and aims to determine the role of these cell types in epilepsy. 

Clare's Full Profile

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Dr Karen Smillie

Lecturer

Karen Smillie is a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in School of Biomedical Sciences.  Karen is a cell biologist interested in how neurons communicate with each other and how this can lead to conditions such as epilepsy or neurodegeneration when this malfunctions.  Her lab uses induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models as well as cultured primary neurons in combination with live cell real-time imaging to investigate this.

Current epilepsy projects include:

  1. Investigating the role of signalling cascades in the control of presynaptic function.
  2. Investigating presynaptic defects in iPSC models of Epilepsy.

Karen's research page

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Professor David J A Wyllie

Director, Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences

Professor of Ion Channel Physiology and Pharmacology

David Wyllie has a long-standing research interest in physiology, pharmacology and function of ligand-gated ion channels, particularly those activated by the neurotransmitter, L-glutamate. Through electrophysiological studies, his lab seeks to understand the structure-function properties and physiological roles of the various subtypes of NMDA receptors. In related research he uses pre-clinical models of single gene causes of neurodevelopmental disorders to study the properties of altered synaptic function and to assess the extent to which pharmacological intervention can ameliorate the changes that are observed in such models. In addition, his research extends to the electrophysiological and functional characterization of defined neuronal and glial populations derived from human pluripotent stem cells and specifically those from individuals suffering from neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.

David's research page