UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Members of the Kirkham Neuro Lab



Fenella Kirkham, MD

Photo F Kirkham
Professor Kirkham was an undergraduate at Girton College, Cambridge and followed up her 2nd MB with a BA in History and Philosophy of Science (1975). After clinical training at Kings’ College hospital (MB 1978 BChir 1979), where she particularly enjoyed Child Health and Neurology, she went straight into Paediatrics. From 1982, she undertook a research project on Coma in childhood at Guy’s hospital, supervised by Professor Brian Neville and funded by the British Heart Foundation, which formed the basis of her MD.

Professor Kirkham trained as a Paediatric Neurologist and has been Professor at UCL Institute of Child Health since 2006. She held an honorary clinical post at Great Ormond Street hospital until 1999 when she moved to Southampton University Hospitals Trust as a consultant paediatric neurologist. She has developed services for children with epilepsy and developed screening for stroke risk in sickle cell disease in the UK. Professor Kirkham has collaborated with the UK, North American and European paediatric neurologists, haematologists and respiratory physicians on guidelines.

Professor Kirkham has published over 500 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and reports on childhood stroke, coma, complex epilepsy, and sickle cell disease. She has been the principal investigator on multiple randomised controlled trials. She was also the Chief Investigator for the London site on two international collaborative studies.




Sati Sahota

Photo S Sahota
Sati Sahota (Satwinder Sahota), a post-grad scientist has extensive experience coordinating large-scale projects nationally and internationally, including those involving BAME participants and medical populations. Sati carried out research on childhood ischemia studied by 31P-NMR spectroscopy and brain tumours at the start of her career and later got involved in research on Sickle Cell Disease. In addition to establishing a collaboration with Dr Dipty Jain, Professor & Head of paediatrics, GMC Nagpur, India, she was the central coordinator for UK consortium for National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) funded cohort study looking at whether sleep-disordered breathing and/or asthma predict complications in sickle cell disease (Sleep Asthma cohort; SAC1 renewed 2010 as SAC2; PIs DeBaun & Kirkham). She has also co-ordinated randomized clinical trials of treatment for the UK consortium, including the National Institute for Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS, USA; PIs DeBaun & Kirkham) funded Silent Infarct Transfusion Trial, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR, UK; PI Kirkham) funded Prevention of Morbidity in Sickle Cell disease trial of auto-adjusting continuous positive airways pressure (CPAP) with a processing speed endpoint and the ongoing Action Medical Research (AMR, UK; PI Kirkham) funded SMILES trial of Montelukast with a processing speed endpoint the ongoing ARISE (African Research and Innovative Initiative for Sickle cell Education: Improving Research Capacity for Service Improvement) where Sati is coordinating UCL, one of the consortium partner.

Sati has presented at various national and international meetings and co-authored peer-reviewed articles in high impact journals.



Anna Hood, PhD

Photo A Hood
Dr Hood graduated with honours in Psychology from California State University San Marcos. She is a former National Institute of General Medical Sciences MARC scholar and was the recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Dean’s Award. Dr Hood completed her graduate work at Washington University in St. Louis in Psychological and Brain Sciences. Whilst there, she was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Fellowship and was inducted into the Edward A. Bouchet Honor Society.

She completed her Clinical Psychology internship at Children’s Minnesota and a one-year fellowship with Dr Lori Crosby as a Sickle Cell Disease Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She is the recipient of pre-doctoral (F31) and postdoctoral (F32) training grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health to fund research focused on the cognitive and psychological challenges faced by children and young adults with sickle cell disease.

Dr Hood has given presentations at regional and national meetings and authored or co-authored peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and community-focused reports. Dr Hood has also worked clinically with adult and paediatric populations focused on assessment and health psychology.



Melanie Köelbel

Photo M Kobel
Melanie completed her HNC Diploma in Health and Social Care with a distinction from the London College UCK and graduated with a first-class honours in Cognitive Neuroscience (BSc) from the University of Westminster, London. She successfully graduated in Paediatric Neuropsychology (MSc) from the University of London and is a member of the British Psychology Society.

She is currently completing a PhD under the supervision of Professor Fenella Kirkham, Professor Christopher Clark and Dr Dagmara Dimitrou. Her current research focus is on understanding sleep behaviour and habits in sickle cell anaemia. Her methods include polysomnography to measure obstruction of airflow during sleep; an Actiwatch to measure sleep duration and fragmentation; collecting cortisol saliva samples during the day and assessing cognitive abilities and neuroimaging to understand structural and functional changes. She hopes to design interventions and treatment opportunities in the future.

She is the recipient of the BRC Doctoral Training Support Fund, the European Sleep Research Society Training Grant and won the UCL Grand Challenges to develop a novel spatial memory test for children. Melanie won the SLC Research Student Award at the International Neuropsychological Society Meeting in Cape Town (2017).

Melanie has given presentations at regional and national meetings. She authored and co-authored peer-reviewed articles and is active in teaching. Melanie has also worked with paediatric populations focused on education and health psychology.








Jamie Kawadler PhD

Michelle Downes PhD

Alexandra Hogan PhD



Jamie Kawadler PhD

Michelle Downes PhD

Alexandra Hogan PhD