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Professor Hannah Cock

Professor of Epilepsy and Medical Education
Professor Cock is course director for MBBS, a consultant neurologist (epilepsy), and research active

Professor Cock has roles in education, research and clinical practice. She is a consultant neurologist in the Atkinson Morley Regional Epilepsy Network, based at St George's hospital. In addition to her educational roles, she has research interests in status epilepticus (prolonged uncontrolled seizures), the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy, and improving services and care for people with epilepsy. 

Professor Cock is currently course director for MBBS (medicine), co-head of the section of clinical teachers, and information governance lead for the Institute of Medical & Biomedical Education. 

Biography

Professor Cock qualified from the University of London in 1989, and also completed her post-graduate and research training in and around London. She Joined St George's in 2003 as a Consultant Neurologist at Atkinson Morley Regional Neuroscience Centre, St Georges University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Senior Lecturer, and is now Professor of Epilepsy and Medical Education jointly affiliated to the Institute of Medical & Biomedical Education, and the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Sciences (Clinical Neurosciences Group) at St George’s, University of London. 

Throughout her career she has been active in clinical practice, research and education. Her clinical practice encompasses the diagnosis and management of all aspects of epilepsy, within a now thriving regional service including a full range of diagnostic and treatment services. Prior to her postgraduate neurology training, she was awarded a Medical Research Council scholarship for her MD research project looking at cellular mechanisms involved in Mitochondrial diseases. Having subsequently developed a clinical interest in epilepsy during her training, she was appointed as clinical lecturer to Professor Simon Shorvon at the Institute of Neurology, London. Work funded by a post-doctoral Welcome Advanced Fellowship exploring the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in seizure-related brain damage contributed to her receiving the Millenium Young Investigators award in 1999 from the International League Against Epilepsy (UK).  Her primary research interest has been in status epilepticus (prolonged uncontrolled seizures), moving initially from laboratory based work into clinical trials. Education has also always been a core part of her portfolio, including a number of local, national and international roles in both undergraduate and post-graduate medical education.  She completed a Professional Accreditation in Teaching and Learning in Higher education at the Institute of Education, London in 2000, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Her only son (2006-2016) had profound multiple learning disabilities and complex health needs including severe epilepsy. This has inevitably informed her academic and clinical practice, enabled her to also speak from a patient/carer perspective about disability and epilepsy, as well as inspiring her to develop a massive online course "organ donation: the essentials for healthcare professionals" in collaboration with NHS Blood and Transplant after his death. 

Awards and scholarships

  • 2019, Honorary Membership of the Moldovan Neurological Society
  • 2019 European Academy of Neurology Service award (for outstanding contribution to neurology education)
  • 2019 St Georges University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust,  Excellence in Education Awards, Most Inspiring Lecturer
  • 2018 Fellow of the European Academy of Neurology
  • 2001 Wellcome Trust Advanced Training Fellowship
  • 999 International League Against Epilepsy British Branch, Young Scientific Investigators Prize
  • 1996 Royal Society of Medicine, Section of Neurology, Gordon Holmes Registrar's Prize
  • 1994 Medical Research Council Clinical Training Fellowship
  • 1989 Douglas Cree Prize for Medicine
  • 1985 Medical Research Council Scholarship for BSc (Physiology)

External Appointments

  • International League Against Epilepsy, E-learning task force (2017- 
  • Clinical Advisor, Epilepsy Action UK (2007-)
  • Scientific Advisory Committee member, Epilepsy Research UK (2018 - )
  • NHS England Specialised Adult neuroscience Transformation Programme, Epilepsy Clinical Working Group (2018-19)
  • UK NIHR Clinical Research Network, London South Epilepsy Lead (2015-19)
  • Clinical Lead, ebrain project ebrainjnc.com (2010-2019)
  • Chair, Education Committee & Board Member, European Academy of Neurology (2014-18)
  • NHS England Invited expert, Policy Working Group for Everolimus for Partial-onset seizures in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (2017-18). 
  • Epilepsy Advocacy Europe, Executive Member (2013-14)
  • ILAE Classification Taskforce, Status Epilepticus (2009-2014)
  • European Neurological Society, Board member (2006-2014), including as Teaching course director (2012-14)
  • Chair Interventions & therapeutics Clinical Study Group, UK Epilepsy Research Network (2010-2014)
  • Editorial Boards European Journal of Neurology (2014 - ), Epilepsia (2009-2012), Journal of Neurology (2007-2011)

Membership/Affiliations:

Fellow of the European Academy of Neurology, Royal College of Physicians London, Higher Education Academy and European academy of Neurology. Member of the American Epilepsy Societu, Royal Society of Medicine, International League Against Epilepsy, Association of British Neurologists,  American Academy of Neurology, UK Register Expert Witnesses

Professor Cock is affiliated with the Clinical Neurosciences Center in the Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute. On her appointment to St George's led a research group who moved with her, working in experimental models (laboratory based) of epilepsy, focusing on the consequences and treatment of status epilepticus (prolonged uncontrolled seizures), and novel treatment approaches for difficult to treat epilepsy. Following the birth of her son with complex needs (b2006-d2016), she elected to close the laboratory and focus on more clinical and collaborative projects.

Professor Cock was a collaborator on several pilot non-epileptic seizure trials with a team in Sheffield, and subsequently the site principal investigator for CODES (cognitive behavioural therapy for dissociative seizures), led by colleagues at King's College London and Sheffield. With the local team, she has also validated and developed screening tools for anxiety and depression in epilepsy, now routinely used in the epilepsy service at St George’s, with further work ongoing in this area. 

Following a research sabbatical in 2009, Professor Cock initially lead, and subsequently remained a core part of the team team delivering the Established Status Epilepticus Treatment Trial. This is a double blind randomised controlled trial of valproate, levetiracetam and phenytoin in status epilepticus which has not responded to initial benzodiazepines, funded by a $21.4million grant from the USA NIH NINDS (Ref U01NS088034) in September 2014. Recruitment took place between November 2015-January 2019, and the results published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet Journals amongst others. 

Professor Cock has also been site Principal Investigator for numerous academic and industry sponsored studies, as well as UK Chief investigator for one. Of particular note are: 

  • SANAD2 study, a clinical trial to determine the most effective and cost-effective treatment for newly diagnosed epilepsy
  • EMPIRE Antiepileptic drug (AED) management in pregnancy: an evaluation of effectiveness, cost effectiveness, and acceptability of dose adjustment strategies (EMPiRE). Participating in this study supported the development of a now well established joint epilepsy-maternal medicine pathway and service for women with epilepsy managed at St George's. 
  • EXIST3, a study of Everolimus, a potentially disease modifying treatment, and GWPCARE6 A Randomized Controlled Trial of Cannabidiol, both in drug resistant epilepsy due to tuberous sclerosis  complex. This is a genetic disorder causing epilepsy, learning disability and other problems, Professor is the adult epilepsy lead for the supra-regional tuberous sclerosis service, and has been able to use her experience from these trials to set up regional pathways to support delivery of novel treatments for rare and complex epilepsies.

Professor Cock was one of the first UK neurologists to undertake a professional qualification in teaching (2001, Institute of Education), is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a GMC recognized trainer, and a Member of the Association of Medical Education in Europe. She has held a range of roles locally and internationally, and actively participated in all aspects of education and learner support in higher and post-graduate education, including PhD supervision and Examination.  Having been appointed as a Senior Lecturer in 2003, she was  promoted to Reader in 2011, and Professor in 2016. She welcomes enquires from SGUL staff interested in finding out about her various roles and career progression. 

Roles: Local 

  • Course Director for Medicine (MBBS), 2019 -
  • Information Governance Lead, Institute of Medical and Biomedical Education 2018 - 
  • Co-Section head, Clincal teachers, 2018 - 
  • MBBS Penultimate year NeuroPlus Placement lead 2009 - 2019
  • MBBS Career Development Tutor 2011 - 2014
  • MBBS 4Y1 and T year Life Control (Neurology/psychiatry) co-module lead, 2003-2018 
  • BSc Biomedical Science, Clinical Neurosciences Epilepsy lead 2005-2019
  • Led a Disability theme revew and introduced rehabilitation multi-professional component to the curriculum in 2009.    
  • Personal tutor (MBBS) 2003 - 

National and UK external

  • UK Epilepsy Masterclass Faculty, 2002 - 
  • Epilepsy Society Specialist Registrar Training weekends Faculty, 2002
  • External Subject Expert, internal quality review post-graduate neurosicences courses, University College London, 2018
  • External examiner, Clinical Neurosciences MSc University College London, 2009-2012

International

  • International league Against Epilepsy, e-learning task force 2018 - 20, includign author contributions to an online curriculum for post-graduate epilepsy education. 
  • Chair of the Education Committee, Board Member European Academy of Neurology, 2014-2018. This role included responsibility for the delivery and quality assurance of fellowships, departmental exchanges, teaching courses and continuing medical education for neurology trainees and consultants across Europe.
  • Teaching Course Director, European Neurological Society 2012-2014
  • Clinical Lead at ebrain, 2009-2019, a not for profit clinical neuroscience e-learning platform with over 600 sessions, webinars and self-assessment exercises. 
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