Neuroscience and Trauma research at Barts and The London covers a wide range of topics: general trauma and neurotrauma, neurodegeneration, neuroimmunology,NCBRSI 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. Professor Priestley and Dr Xuenong Bo, coordinate a programme of research on neuroregeneration. Neurotex, a BLTSMD spin-out company, has been established to commercialise the work on biomaterials. In the neurotrauma group. In neurodegeneration, Dr 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. Dr Klaus Schmierer’s main focus is on the pathological correlates of MRI changes in multiple sclerosis and therapies for primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
Sir Prof Norman Williams, a leading honorary consultant at Barts Health NHS Trust and former President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, has been knighted in the New Year’s (2015) Honours List. He is Professor of Surgery and Director of Innovation at the Academic Surgical Unit. His main clinical interests are sphincter preservation and reconstructive surgery, and his scientific interests are concentrated on GI motility and anorectal physiology. 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.
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.