Our Alumni

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Our Lady Edith Wolfson Fellowship programme, in partnership with the Medical Research Council (MRC), is attracting and developing outstanding young clinicians in MND research in order to create future scientific leaders in this field.

This webpage consists of our past Clinical Research Fellows, if you would like to view our current Clinical Research Fellows please click here.

Past Clinical Research Fellows:

Dr Jakub Scaber

Clinical Research Training Fellowship

Dr Scaber from the University of Oxford was investigating how the C9orf72 gene causes MND in some individuals using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology.

By reprogramming these stem cells into human motor neurones, he looked at how this gene causes MND and whether gene therapy can reverse the changes.

Dr Scaber said: “I am grateful and delighted to have been awarded a fellowship to study the biology of MND. With my research I aim to further improve our understanding of the disease, in particular the role of C9orf72. While my research will not have a direct impact on patient care initially, I hope that this knowledge will enable us to propose new treatment avenues in the future.”

Read more about this fellowship:

Dr Robin Highley

Clinical Research Training Fellowship

Dr Highley from the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) based at the University of Sheffield used his fellowship to understand how a protein called TDP-43 may be involved in the death of motor neurones in MND. Specifically he investigated how the movement of TDP-43 from one compartment to another within motor neurones affects their vulnerability.

Commenting on his fellowship, Dr Highley said: “We know very little about the function of TDP-43 and my fellowship promises to significantly contribute to our understanding of MND by finding out more about this protein. Personally, this prestigious award has provided a fabulous career opportunity, with the chance to acquire new skills and experience of MND research.”

Where are they now? Following completion of his fellowship, Dr Highley is combining a role as a Consultant Neuropathologist with his continued research studies as a Senior Lecturer at SITraN.

Read more about this fellowship:

Dr Ceryl Harwood

Clinical Research Training Fellowship

Dr Harwood from the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) based at the University of Sheffield was awarded a Clinical Research Training Fellowship to investigate physical activity and it’s link with MND.

Dr Harwood developed and validated a novel questionnaire to measure physical history in adulthood. Presenting her results during the late-breaking news session of the 24th International Symposium on ALS/MND, Dr Harwood’s research identified that physical activity may be a risk factor for MND.

Dr Harwood said: “My Fellowship has been a wonderful experience. Not only was I able to undertake an academically important, high quality piece of clinical research but the Fellowship ensured that I was supported with appropriate academic training to develop my skills, undertake the study and work towards a higher degree. The prestigious nature of such a fellowship will no doubt direct and facilitate my future career choices and I look forward to the opportunities it brings.”

Where are they now? Dr Harwood is continuing her research studies at SITraN, exploring how genetic and environmental factors may act in combination to increase the risk of MND.

Read more about this fellowship:

Dr Johnathan Cooper-Knock

Clinical Research Training Fellowship

A Clinical Research Fellowship was awarded to Dr Cooper-Knock, based at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) at the University of Sheffield for his research into MND.

Using the Association’s DNA bank, the fellowship programme allowed Dr Cooper-Knock to carry out cutting-edge genetic research over three years to learn more about how mistakes in a gene called C9ORF72 can cause MND.

Dr Cooper-Knock  said about his research fellowship, “I was over the moon to receive the fellowship; it is an internationally recognised award, which both as a scientist and a doctor of neurology will help me to progress significantly.

“I am passionate about MND patients and this fellowship will allow me to develop my research into the genetics of MND and work towards a cure for this terrible disease.”

Read more about this fellowship:

Pictured: Dr Jakub Scaber, Dr Robin Highley, Dr Ceryl Harwood, Dr Johnathan Copper-Knock












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