Our research is focused on improving our understanding of the mechanisms of damage and disease in the central nervous system with the aim of providing translation of novel diagnostic and treatment strategies into clinical practice.
We are a multidisciplinary group with active collaborations within St George’s and other universities.
Brain and spinal cord water
Aquaporins, are a family of channels that allow water into and out of cells. We are investigating one member of the aquaporin family, AQP4, and its major role in disease neuromyelitis optica for which we are developing new treatments. We are also interested in how aquaporins cause spinal cord swelling after injury and are developing new ways to treat spinal cord injury with exciting results.
Cognitive disorders and dementia
Risk of Alzheimer’s disease is highest among the elderly, but dementia is frequently overlooked or misdiagnosed in people of working age. Our research focuses on the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of young-onset dementia and provides a clinical service that is fully integrated with our research programme. Our research investigates: the monitoring and measuring of language change in early dementia, and the role of progranulin and the immune system in rarer pathological forms of dementia. We are also a trial centre for several novel drugs aimed at halting progression of these conditions.
Motor control and movement disorders
Using a combination of neurophysiological and psychophysical methods we aim to understand how movement is controlled by the brain and how this goes wrong in people with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, Tourette’s syndrome and Functional Movement Disorders. We investigate movement control and movement disorders including the interaction between mental health and disorders of movement, developing novel treatments for people with movement disorders, and research into better ways of delivering health services to people with movement disorders.
Multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
The focus of the neuroimaging group is to develop novel measures of brain tissue structure, function, blood flow and metabolism that relate to severity of disease and response to treatment. We are currently investigating mechanisms of brain changes in cerebral small vessel disease and stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and pain sensation in arthritis. We are also developing advanced magnetic resonance image acquisition and analysis techniques to improve diagnosis of brain tumours and provide early detection of their transformation to more malignant tumours.