Programme leads


Professor Paul MatthewsProfessor Paul Matthews

Exploring glial-neuronal interactions at the transition from brain vulnerability to pathology

Paul Matthews, OBE, DPhil, FRCP, FMedSci is the Edmond and Lily Safra Professor of Translational Neuroscience and Therapeutics, an Associate Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute and Lead for the UK DRI at Imperial College. Since 2009, he has been on the Steering Committee of UK Biobank and chairs the Imaging Enhancement Working Group, which has supported UK Biobank for creating the world’s largest population research imaging resource.

Previously, Matthews spent almost nine years as a Vice President in GlaxoSmithKline, holding a variety of senior portfolios, including those for the GSK Clinical Imaging Centre and the later Global Imaging Group. He jointly founded and was the first Director of Oxford FMRIB Centre (1995-2005). He is a Fellow by Special Election of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and a Fellow of the Academea Europea. He was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to Neuroscience.

He is an NIHR Senior Investigator. His research addresses mechanisms of failure of glial-neuronal homeostatic mechanisms in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and in progressive multiple sclerosis. He always is pleased to hear from interested prospective students, scientists or others who share a common interest in helping science improve the lives of people with dementia and those of their families.

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Wisden, WilliamProfessor William Wisden

The role of sleep in protecting against amyloid and glial pathology in dementia

 Professor Wisden is interested in three major problems in neuroscience:

- Why do we sleep and how is sleep initiated and maintained?
- What are the molecular and neuronal mechanisms underlying the loss of consciousness induced by general anaesthetics? And,
- What is the molecular basis of neuropathic pain?

He uses a wide variety of techniques and model systems to investigate these problems, including confocal microscopy, real-time PCR, proteomic analysis with mass spectrometry and structural biology.

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Elaine HolmesProfessor Elaine Holmes

The microbiome and its influence on cognition, brain health and neurodegeneration

Professor Holmes is the Head of the Division of Integrative Systems Medicine and Digestive Disease and a Professor of Chemical Biology in the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College, in London, UK. She has over 25 years’ experience in metabonomic technology and its applications. Her focus is on the discovery and development of metabolic biomarkers of disease in personalised healthcare and population studies with significant contributions to cardiovascular, neuroscience and infectious disease research.

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Elliott, PaulProfessor Paul Elliott

Linking genetic, epidemiology and metabolic phenotyping in dementia in the context of ageing, environment and lifestyle

Professor Paul Elliott, MBBS, PhD, FMedSci, trained in clinical medicine and epidemiology as a Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellow at St Mary's Hospital London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He studied for his PhD in Epidemiology on the INTERSALT Study under the mentorship of Professor Geoffrey Rose. He remained at the London School working as a lecturer, and subsequently as senior lecturer and reader in epidemiology before being appointed as Head of the Environmental Epidemiology Unit at LSHTM 1990. In 1995 he was appointed to the Chair in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine at Imperial College London. 

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Grossman, NirDr Nir Grossman

Developing novel bioelectronics technologies to modulate neurons and glia in the study of sleep, neuroprotection and cognition

Dr Grossman develops neuromodulatory interventions for brain disorders by pioneering new tools and principles to impact the disease pathology via direct modulation of the underlying aberrant neural activity.

His research drives innovation through rigorous scientific exploration of common biophysical principles and rules underpinning the neural processing of electromagnetic stimulation, using natural bridges between advanced computational neuroscience and cutting-edge experiments, ranging from a single neuron cell to human behaviour.

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Samuel BarnesDr Samuel Barnes

Exploring the role of neural circuit plasticity in the susceptibility of the aged brain to neurodegeneration

Dr Barnes investigates why the aged brain is vulnerable to neurodegeneration in order to identify strategies that may alleviate this susceptibility.

His group focuses on homeostatic neural plasticity processes which are thought to be critical for healthy network function. The group uses a combination of voltage and calcium imaging, bioelectronics and electrophysiology to determine the efficiency and mechanisms of homeostatic plasticity processes in both the aged brain and the early stages of neurodegeneration.

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Marco BrancaccioDr Marco Brancaccio

Exploring the role of circadian dysfunction in the early stages of dementia

Dr Brancaccio investigates the molecular, cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying circadian function in health and disease.

His group focuses on understanding the mechanisms driving circadian misregulation in the early stages of dementia. His laboratory uses a wide range of techniques including live imaging and in vivo gene therapy to study and harness circadian brain function with the aim of delaying disease onset and progression.

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Dr Bahareh Ajami

Understanding how systemic inflammation contributes to disease onset and progression in chronic neurodegenerative diseases.

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Research and support team


Research and support team