Developmental Neurosciences headshot

Head of Programme

Professor Francesco Muntoni

Helen Cross

Deputy Head

Professor Helen Cross


Developmental Neurosciences
Institute of Child Health
30 Guilford Street
London WC1N 1EH

Programme Enquiries: email

Developmental Neurosciences Programme

The primary focus of the Developmental Neuroscience Programme is to minimise the impact of disorders affecting the developing central and peripheral nervous system by: 

  • Studying the mechanisms of injury and repair
  • Improving diagnosis and prognosis
  • Evaluating therapeutic strategies
  • Optimising functional outcome

Using a life-span approach, we link laboratory-based neuroscience techniques with clinical research to investigate neurodevelopmental and acquired disorders affecting the young brain and peripheral nervous system. Our goal is to translate novel research findings into clinical practice. We use innovative technologies to relate genetic and anatomical markers of disease to normal and abnormal indices of cognitive, motor, behavioural, and mental health processes. By promoting early diagnosis, we aim to improve the management and treatment of affected children not only within GOSH and UCL Health Partners, but also nationally and internationally. Finally we undertake both early experimental and larger confirmatory clinical trials to contribute to the development of national guidelines and policies, and set national/international standards of clinical care for children with neurodevelopmental disorders and/or rare diseases affecting central and peripheral nervous system function.

Paper of the month - April 2015

The NorthStar Ambulatory Assessment in Duchenne muscular dystrophy: considerations for the design of clinical trials. Ricotti V, Ridout DA, Pane M, Main M, Mayhew A, Mercuri E, Manzur AY, Muntoni F; on behalf of UK NorthStar Clinical Network.

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. 2015 Mar 2. pii: jnnp-2014-309405. 

This study reports on the disease course on the largest cohort of ambulant boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy reported so far. The important conclusion of the study is that there appears to be a previously unsuspected effect of genotypes on disease course, i.e. affected boys with some of the mutations appears to deteriorate function more slowly than others. The second important finding relates to the suggestion that early initiation of corticosteroid, a drug commonly used in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, was associated with better outcomes. These findings are important both for the delivery of care for Duchenne boys and also the planning and execution of clinical trials.


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