UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Clinical Neurosciences

Strategic aim: To minimise the clinical impact of neurological disease by improving diagnosis, studying disease mechanisms and evaluating novel therapeutic strategies

Groups focus on epilepsy, cerebrovascular disease, movement disorder, neurometabolic disease, demyelinating disease and visual impairment. The section employs varies research methodologies including molecular genetic research, clinical trials and epidemiological studies.


The aim is to characterise disabling neurological disease using large population-based studies. Current studies investigate cerebrovascular disease, convulsive status epilepticus, epilepsy beginning in infancy and demyelinating disease.


There are several strands to the pathogenesis strategy in the unit: i) study of the molecular basis of rare neurological disease, as well as interactions with environment, particularly with respect to early onset epilepsies, movement disorders, neurodegenerative, neurotransmitter and complex cerebrovascular disorders; ii) use of imaging tools to understand brain injury associated with convulsive status epilepticus, early onset epilepsy, sickle cell disease and cerebrovascular disorders; iii) use of model systems including cell culture (e.g iPSC), fly models and rodent models to study mechanisms of movement disorders, seizures and comorbidities associated with epilepsy


We aim to evaluate outcome in situations where brain injury has been acquired e.g. early onset epilepsy, convulsive status epilepticus, cerebrovascular disease, particularly stroke and that secondary to sickle cell disease, and demyelinating disease (e.g. multiple sclerosis). Researchers are evaluating the long term neural and behavioural correlates in children with visual impairment. We aim to continue our central role in the assessment of the benefits of the national Children's Epilepsy Surgery Service and the nationally commissioned service for Vein of Galen malformation. We are also investigating the relationship between biomarkers (radiological, genetic) of childhood cerebrovascular disorders and outcome.

Novel treatments and other intervention

Novel treatments and other intervention: We seek to develop and assess treatments, specifically aetiologically driven, in the treatment of children with neurological disease. This includes improved assessment of children for epilepsy surgery, therapies for the treatment of neonatal seizures and early onset epilepsy, as well as targeted therapy in conditions such as Tuberous Sclerosis and Demyelinating disease. We aim to evaluate the role of interventions in sickle cell disease in reducing brain damage on MRI and improving neurocognitive outcome in this population. Development of a gene therapy approach in the treatment of infantile Parkinsonism, and ultimately across other rare neurological disorders. To determine the role of early intervention in children with severe visual impairment.


UCL GOS ICH Paediatric Pain Research Group

Lead Contacts: Suellen Walker and Simon Beggs


Children of all ages may experience pain as a result of illness or its treatment. Evidence for effective pain management is increasing, particularly for the management of pain after surgery.

Ongoing research is required to more fully understand how the nervous system processes pain, particularly in early development, to determine the most effective and safest analgesic treatments for children of different ages. Members of the UCL GOS ICH Paediatric Pain Research Group are involved in all aspects of translational research with facilities for Quantitative Sensory Testing (neurosensory laboratory, Level 1 Morgan Stanley Building), clinical analgesic trials, and multidisciplinary evaluation of acute and chronic pain conditions and laboratory-based neurobiology research (UCL main campus). Our research collaborations include specialist teams at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and national and internationally recognized pain researchers.


  • Improve understanding of the mechanisms of pain processing throughout postnatal development, and age-related changes in the response to painful injury
  • Investigate the impact of developmental age on the mechanisms and efficacy ofanalgesia
  • Improve the assessment and management of acute and chronic pain
  • Evaluate patient reported outcomes to guide clinical practice and research

Current Projects

  • Laboratory studies evaluating the long-term impact of surgical injury in early life
  • Interaction between developing central nervous and immune systems duringpostnatal development and influence on pain and nociception
  • Clinical studies evaluating sensory function and pain experience related to currentor prior illness
  • Mechanisms, presentation and management of neuropathic pain in children

Research Funding

Suellen Walker

Clinical Research Lead
Reader and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine

GOSH Profile

Simon Beggs
Laboratory Research Lead
Lecturer in Neurobiology of Paediatric Pain
Richard Howard Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine
Madeleine Verriotis
Senior Research Associate in Paediatric
Pain Research
Judy Peters Senior Research Coordinator and Trainee Nursing Fellow
Luke Arthur Honorary Research Associate
Yajing Xu
(co-supervisor Simon Beggs)
Wellcome PhD; UCL


We collaborate extensively with the Great Ormond Street Hospital Pain Service and with additional clinical and research teams at UCL GOS Institute of Child Health.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Pain Control Service

Maria Fitzgerald Professor of Developmental Neurobiology UCL
Christina Liossi Professor of Psychology University of Southampton,
Paediatric Psychologist GOSH
Neil Marlow Professor of Neonatal Medicine UCL Institute of Womens Health
Mike Salter Chief of Research SickKids Professor, University of Toronto
Jason Lerch A/Professor Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics
University of Toronto and SickKids
Massieh Moayedi A/Professor Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto
MSc Paediatrics and Child Health

Module CHLDGX20 Paediatric Pain: Mechanisms and Management

Monthly Research Presentations 12pm, 4th Thursday of month Anaesthetic Library, Level 4 Paul O'Gorman Building Great Ormond St Hospital
13th Paediatric Pain Symposium, GOSH

December 2017 Dates and venue TBC

Advanced Pain Training, Faculty of Pain Medicine Royal College of Anaesthetists Annual Teaching Day, June 2017 (2018 date TBC)
 Pain RCoA ARIES Talk: Do Children Feel Pain
by Suellen Walker

Strategic view: To maximize the current research programme, and develop further in all domains, and to achieve improved outcomes in childhood neurological disease. We aim to expand our expertise in detailed clinical phenotyping that is the essential prerequisite for accurate mechanistic and outcome studies. Our links to Vermont enable development and investigation of clinically relevant animal models, with translation of findings back to clinical practice

KIWE Trial