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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Centre for Neuroscience, Surgery and Trauma

Stained and illuminated neurons

The Centre for Neuroscience, Surgery and Trauma brings together scientists and clinicians and covers an extensive research portfolio, focused on various aspects of fundamental and translational research in neuroscience, surgery and trauma. The major themes are: neurotrauma, neurodegeneration, neuroimmunology, neurogastroenterology, orthopaedic surgery and trauma sciences.

The Centre’s themes are closely linked with clinical academic units within Barts Health NHS Trust, with many of its staff actively involved in clinical research and phase 2 and 3 clinical trials. In addition to contributing to basic and translational research, the Centre has a large presence in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

Professor Adina Michael-Titus is the Centre Lead.

Research staff

Teaching staff

Administration Staff

Neuroscience, Surgery and Trauma research at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry covers a wide range of topics: general trauma and neurotrauma, neurodegeneration, neuroimmunology, NBRC and Neurogastroenterology. Professor Karim Brohi’s trauma group covers various aspects of trauma research, from injury prevention to public health, the effects of trauma on the body, the body’s response to injury and rehabilitation. A major focus of the group is trauma-associated coagulopathy, a research field in which the group is a world-leader. In neurotrauma, the research emphasis is on spinal cord and peripheral nerve injury, and more recently, head injury.

Professor Adina Michael-Titus leads the neurotrauma and neurodegeneration group and under her lead the neurotrauma group has identified several promising neuroprotective therapeutic strategies which will help reduce the impact of injury. The group’s work on omega-3 fatty acids in neurotrauma is supported by several UK and international translational awards. Professor John Priestley has developed biomaterial-based conduits for peripheral nerve and spinal cord repair. In the neurotrauma group Dr. Xuenong Bo has been developing viral vector- and cell-based therapeutic strategies for the treatment of spinal cord and peripheral nerve injuries. He is also studying purinergic signalling in nerve injury and repair.

In neurodegeneration, Professor Andrea Malaspina has an active research programme which covers various aspects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research, from animal models of the disease to neuroprotective agents and new disease biomarkers. Professor Michael-Titus is also leading a new MRC-funded translational programme on novel metal-binding compounds with therapeutic potential in Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Gavin Giovannoni and Professor David Baker head up the neuroimmunology group with their main disease focus being multiple sclerosis. Their research is centred on immune tolerance strategies, developing neuroprotective and neurorestorative therapies for progressive multiple sclerosis and manipulating cannabinoid biology as a therapeutic strategy to improve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. David Baker's work on cannabis as a potential neuroprotectant in MS continues and has recently being tested in a national MRC-funded trial under the direction of Prof. John Zajieck (Plymouth). Another research focus is the role of EBV in the pathogenesis of MS and how it interacts with other environmental factors and genetic risk factors. David Baker is the co-founder of Canbex a spin-out company that has identified and developed a group of cannabinoid-like compounds that are excluded from the CNS to treat muscle and bladder spasticity. Professor Klaus Schmierer’s main focus is on the pathological correlates of MRI changes in multiple sclerosis and therapies for primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Professor Charlie Knowles's main clinical interests are in the surgical management of benign coloproctological conditions and severe motility disorders including the use of neurostimulation. Prof Knowles is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Co-director of the National Centre for Bowel Research and Surgical Innovation, Chairman of the Whitechapel Society for Gastroenterological Research, Research lead of the Neurogastroenterology Section of the British Society of Gastroenterology, Deputy Clinical Director of the NHS Bowel Healthcare Technology Cooperative and Chair of the GI neuromuscular pathology international working group. He is the author of over 80 peer reviewed publications and five books.

Professor Qasim Aziz has obtained national and international awards for his research the two most important being the British Society of Gastroenterology Research Gold Medal and the American Gastroenterology Association, Janssen Award for Basic and Clinical Research. He has published numerous original articles in reputed medical journals such as Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Lancet and Gastroenterology. Professor Gareth Sanger Research achievements have include the proposal that a novel receptor mediated the ability of 5-HT to increase gastrointestinal motility, later named by others as the 5-HT4 receptor. Identification of the role of the 5-HT3 receptor in the mechanisms of emesis, which led to the development of new drugs and a major change in the treatment of cancer. Jointly awarded the 1998 Discoverer’s Award by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Exploration actions mediated by NK3, ghrelin and motilin receptors. Consultant on gastrointestinal drug discovery and development.

Bone and Joint Health, chaired by Professor Xavier Griffin is leading research to improve the health and wellbeing of people with bone and joint disorders and injuries. Our focus is on studies of clinical and cost effectiveness of existing and future treatments.. Our research is interdisciplinary and spans all areas of trauma and orthopaedic care. Working closely with the pragmatic clinical trials unit we develop clinical research studies that evaluate the effectiveness of current treatments in the NHS; we partner with industry to bring effective new treatments into everyday care and make use of health information that is routinely collected to help us answer key questions. The group also hosts the Bone Joint and Muscle Trauma Cochrane Review Group.

In addition to the activity of the group leaders highlighted above, there are active research programmes in motor neurone disease, pain, muscle regeneration, neuro-gastroenterology, biomarkers and clinical outcomes.



Postgraduate taught programmes

  • MSc Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine (online)
  • MSc Enhancing the Safety and Wellbeing of Persons in Care and Custody (online)
  • MSc Neuroscience
  • MSc Orthopaedic Trauma Science (online)
  • MSc Paediatric Emergency Medicine
  • MSc Tactical Military Austere and Operational Medicine (online)
  • MSc Trauma Sciences
  • MSc Trauma Sciences (Military and Humanitarian) (online)

Postgraduate research degrees and studentships

  • Current Opportunities

Professional development

  • Multiple Sclerosis Preceptorship - Prof Gavin Giovannoni (please contact PA - Ms Stepanie Gardner)

Lab experience placements

Neuroscience Research Opportunities:

Public engagement

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