UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

Prof Dimitri Michael Kullmann

Prof Dimitri Michael Kullmann

Professor of Neurology

Clinical & Experimental Epilepsy

UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

Joined UCL
1st Aug 1997

Research summary

My interests span the fundamental mechanisms of synaptic transmission, the computational properties of small neuronal circuits, and alterations in neuronal and circuit excitability in epilepsy and other neurological disorders. The core methods in my lab are in vitro electrophysiology and pharmacology, but we also apply confocal and two-photon laser scanning microscopy, computational simulations, molecular genetic methods, and heterologous expression of mutated ion channels.

I collaborate with Michael Hanna, Henry Houlden, James Jepson, Shyam Krishnakumar, James Rothman, Kirill Volynski, Stephanie Schorge and many others to understand the mechanisms of inherited neurological diseases caused by mutations of ion channels (channelopathies).

My laboratory has contributed to the discovery of silent synapses, glutamate spillover, presynaptic GABAA receptors in the cortex, human epilepsy caused by K+ and Ca2+ channel mutations, tonic inhibition in the hippocampus, and Hebbian and anti-Hebbian LTP in hippocampal interneurons.

One of our goals is to understand how phenomena that we have studied at the cellular level (synaptic, extra-synaptic and non-synaptic signalling, different types of long-term potentiation) interact to regulate the excitability of small neuronal circuits. We are also integrating our studies on hippocampal circuit function with knowledge of how interneurons and principal cells fire during different behaviours. This is being approached with a synthesis of experiments and computational simulations. 

In collaboration with Matthew Walker, Stephanie Schorge, Rob Wykes, Dennis Kaetzel (now in Ulm), Andreas Lieb (now in Innsbruck) and Gabriele Lignani, my laboratory has developed several promising strategies for gene therapy of focal epilepsy. Together with Vincent Magloire we also attempt to understand the fundamental mechanisms by which seizures arise and propagate in the epileptic brain. 

Teaching summary

I lecture on MSc courses at the Institute of Neurology, and to undergraduates studying Neuroscience at UCL. I also supervise PhD students funded by Wellcome and MRC.  


Royal College of Physicians
Doctorate, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians | 2000
Royal College of Physicians
Doctorate, Member of the Royal College of Physicians | 1990
University of London
Doctorate, Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery | 1986
University of Oxford
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1984
Balliol College, Oxford
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 1979


I studied Physiological Sciences (undergraduate Medicine) at Oxford University and obtained a DPhil in the laboratory of Julian Jack before resuming my clinical studies at St Thomas' Hospital (London). I then alternated between research in synaptic trasnsmission (including a couple of years with Roger Nicoll, UCSF) and postgraduate medical training in London until I established my own laboratory at the Institute of Neurology in 1992.