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Neurosciences research at St George’s is interactive and wide-ranging, from the molecular through mathematical modelling and linguistics to surgery and physiotherapy. Clinicians and scientists work closely together, as a Neurosciences Clinical Academic Group (CAG). European, UKRI, NIH and charitable funding support our cutting-edge research on the aetiology, diagnosis and/or treatment of dementia, movement disorders, brain cancer, spinal injuries and other conditions. Magnetic resonance imaging and deep brain stimulation are some of the strengths within our Neurosciences Research Centre, while nervous system disorders and neuron molecular biology are also studied in the Cell Biology and Genetics Centres.

 

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Movement disorders and deep brain stimulation

Our large and expanding Motor Control and Movement Disorders Group is a centre of research and clinical excellence where we integrate our research into the active clinical service at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. We use state-of-the-art techniques to study motor control and how it is disrupted in movement disorders such as Functional Movement Disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Dystonia and Tourette’s syndrome. Our translational research has allowed us to develop a UK leading centre for treating Parkinson’s disease and complex dystonias with deep brain stimulation, and functional neurological diseases with multidisciplinary care.

Principal investigators in this area:

  • Mark Edwards

  • Francesca Morgante

  • Erlick Pereira

  • Glenn Nielsen

  • Anna Sadnicka

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

The MRI group collaborate widely across St George’s and internationally, in neuroscience topics that include brain cancer, dementia, cerebrovascular disease and pain, as well as outside the brain in heart disease, osteoarthritis and lymphoedema. They are designing image acquisition and analysis methods to provide measures of disease severity and detect disease subtypes. A particular interest is to determine the extent to which healthy nerve fibre bundles are still present within and around brain tumours and stroke lesions in the living brain to better predict patient prognosis.

Principal investigators in this area:

  • Franklyn Howe

  • Tom Barrick

  • Taigang He

Dementia: diagnosis and treatment

Novel approaches are being researched for early diagnosis of dementia. One is a standardised assessment of language, which has been developed in English and Italian, adapted for use in Spanish, and is currently used by a worldwide network of collaborators. MRI has also been used to assess changes in brain structure and St George’s is a leading centre for research in brain microvascular disease, the main cause of vascular dementia. We are leading a phase II clinical trial of the Viagra-like drug Tadalafil, for possible use as a potential treatment to improve brain blood flow in dementia.

Principal investigators in this area:

  • Peter Garrard

  • Atticus Hainsworth

Genetics and molecular biology

Members of the Genetics Centre also have an interest in Neurosciences, including research into genes involved in Cluster headache (a highly debilitating condition of recurrent severe headaches), and the role of a cell breakdown process called autophagy, in neurodegenerative disorders. In the Cell Biology Centre, two groups are jointly developing methods for very rapid analysis of signalling between neurons that use the molecule glutamate, while another group is studying the molecular and cellular functions of a gene involved in development of nerve fibres for the sense of smell, as well as in correct development at puberty. Other work involves looking for biomarkers of the inflammatory and brain repair pathways to understand better how we can improve treatments for patients with brain haemorrhage.

Principal investigators in this area:

  • Christopher Carroll

  • Soo Kim

  • Anan Shtaya

  • Laura Southgate

  • Katalin Török

Spinal cord injury / aquaporins
Spinal cord injury

We are developing new techniques to monitor pressure, blood flow and metabolism in the injured spinal cord to improve patient outcome. We are also investigating a novel operation, “expansion duroplasty” to treat spinal cord swelling.  

Aquaporins

Aquaporins are water channel proteins that play major roles in the brain and spinal cord including diseases such as neuromyelitis optica. 

Principal investigators in this area
  • Marios Papadopoulos

  • Samira Saadoun


 

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