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Our Clinical Fellows

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Our Lady Edith Wolfson Fellowship programme, run in partnership with the Medical Research Council (MRC), aims to attract and develop outstanding young clinicians wishing to pursue research into the pathogenesis and treatment of MND.

The programme, established in 2007, was one of the outcomes of a meeting between the MND Association and MRC, exploring opportunities to stimulate more research into the disease.

This web page consists of our current Clinical Research Fellows. If you would like to view our past Clinical Research Fellows please click here.

Current Clinical Research Fellows:

Dr James Bashford

Clinician Research Fellowship

Dr James Bashford of King’s College London will be using this fellowship to use high-density surface electromyography to investigate fasciculations in people with MND. Reliable and detailed measures of these could potentially act as an MND biomarker and help with diagnosis and tracking progression of the disease.  The fellowship was awarded for three years, starting in October 2016.

“I am honoured to receive this prestigious award and confident that the approaches we are taking will clarify many unanswered questions relating to fasciculations. 

“Although fasciculations are a common feature of MND, the role that they play in the disease is not well understood. Conventional needle electromyography, which involves placing a fine needle into the muscles, is invasive and uncomfortable, so very few studies have investigated how fasciculations change over time.

“We will work closely with bioengineers at Imperial College London to test a non-invasive approach, which uses surface skin sensors to detect and analyse fasciculations. We hope this technique will serve as a useful measure of disease progression in forthcoming drug trials.” Dr James Bashford

Read more about this fellowship:

 

Dr Pietro Fratta

Clinician Scientist Fellowship

Dr Pietro Fratta (University College London) received his initial Training Fellowship through the MND Association/ Medical Research Council (MRC) Lady Edith Wolfson Programme in 2010. Starting on 1 February 2015, Dr Fratta was awarded a Clinician Scientist Fellowship to continue his research into MND.

Commenting on his fellowship, Dr Fratta said: “I am extremely excited about having been awarded this fellowship as this will allow me to address what I believe are extremely important questions regarding the mechanism of MND.

“In the last five years, MND research has focused on errors in RNA, the messenger molecule that allows our cells to carry out the information contained in our genes. This is a very generic biological process. During this Fellowship I will be investigating a more targeted question: how these mistakes in RNA impact on motor neuron axons, the long processes that connect our spinal cord to the muscles and that degenerate in MND.” Dr Pietro Fratta

Read more about this fellowship:

Prof Martin Turner

Senior Clinical Fellowship

Prof Turner from the University of Oxford has been awarded a Senior Fellowship to carry on his Oxford Biomarkers project known as BioMOx.

He is broadening the project to include people identified as being at risk of developing MND from families with a history of the disease but who are not yet showing symptoms. He will also be developing candidate biomarkers previously discovered in people living with MND.

“This Senior Fellowship will support me to confidently develop and lead a much larger team of researchers as we move towards a therapeutic age for MND, which I expect to witness and help shape during my working life”. Prof Martin Turner

Read more about this fellowship:

Dr Jemeen Sreedharan

Clinical Scientist Fellowship

From Babraham Institute in Cambridge, UK and the University of Massachusetts Medical School in America, Dr Sreedharan will be using his Fellowship to identify credible therapeutic targets for MND using flies, mice and human motor neurones grown in a dish.

He will be investigating how long delicate processes called axons, which transmit messages within motor neurones, can be protected so we can identify new ways to treat MND.

“We are in an era of astounding molecular genetic discoveries in neurodegeneration research and have never been better placed to push on and identify credible therapeutic targets for MND. So, it’s ever more important that scientists who regularly practice medicine are there at the forefront of fundamental research projects such as the one I am working on.

“This Fellowship has given me the freedom to travel abroad, learn new skills and forge links between diverse labs to tackle the problem of MND in unique ways. I’m hopeful that more funding will be provided to encourage others to pursue the clinical-academic path.” Dr Jemeen Sreedharan

You can read more about his research on our blog.

Pictured: Dr Bashford,  Dr Fratta, Prof Turner, Dr Sreedharan

 

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