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Administration

  • Photo of Joanna Fryer

    Joanna Fryer

    PhD Administrator

    I take care of the day to day running of the MRC DTP, dealing with student queries, admissions and finance.

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  • Photo of Nadine Mogford

    Nadine Mogford

    DTP Manager

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Theme leaders

  • Photo of Paola Zaninotto

    Paola Zaninotto

    Theme Lead - People, Populations and Data

    Paola Zaninotto is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics. Her research focuses on statistical methods for longitudinal data, trajectories of physical health and well-being in older ages, predictors of healthy life expectancy and working life expectancy, and factors related to work in later life.

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  • Photo of Dimitri Kullmann

    Dimitri Kullmann

    Theme Lead - Neuroscience and Mental Health

    My interests include synaptic transmission and its plasticity, computational properties of neuronal circuits, and mechanisms of epilepsy and other neurological disorders. The core methods are electrophysiology, pharmacology, fluorescence microscopy, computational simulations, and molecular genetic methods. Together with my collaborators I have developed experimental gene therapy for epilepsy.

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  • Photo of Pier Lambiase

    Pier Lambiase

    Theme Lead - Experimental and Personalised Medicine

    Professor Pier Lambiase is an academic Cardiologist with a special interest in the treatment of heart rhythm disorders. His research group consists of biomedical engineers and basic scientists investigating disease mechanisms performing invasive and non-invasive heart mapping studies in patients with inherited & acquired heart rhythm disorders. The group also study population level ECG and genomic data in order to identify new biomarkers of sudden death risk.

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  • Photo of Josef Kittler

    Josef Kittler

    Theme Lead - Neuroscience and Mental Health

    I am interested in understanding the contribution played by intracellular transport and membrane trafficking of channels, transporters and organelles in regulating the formation, activity and plasticity of synapses.

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  • Photo of John Christodoulou

    John Christodoulou

    Theme Lead - Fundamental Mechanisms of Disease

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  • Photo of Paola Pedarzani

    Paola Pedarzani

    Theme Lead - Fundamental Mechanisms of Disease

    I investigate how neurons in the brain receive, integrate and transform signals. I am interested in understanding how ion channels shape and regulate the electrical response patterns and excitability of neurons in different brain regions, and in the functional and physical compartmentalisation of signalling molecules in neurons, including neurotransmitter receptors, signal transduction components and ion channels, under normal and pathological conditions. Methods used include electrophysiology, imaging, and histochemistry.

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Management board

  • Photo of Sam Solomon

    Sam Solomon

    Deputy Director

    I am interested in the work done by the eye and the brain to analyse the visual world and support visually guided behaviour. I'm particularly interested in the way that parallel networks of nerve cells may support different behaviours, how they interact, and how their signals support visual sensitivity .

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  • Photo of Nicholas Keep

    Nicholas Keep

    I am a structural biologist with particular interest in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the regulation of its dormancy. I also have interest in structural biology of muscular dystrophies and biotransformations. I am mostly a protein crystallographer but also have done structure by NMR and increasingly Electron Microscopy.

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  • Photo of Geraint Rees

    Geraint Rees

    DTP Director

    Geraint is Dean of the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences; prior to this, from 2009 to 2014, he was Director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.
    Funded continuously by a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellowship since 2002, his research seeks to understand the neural basis of consciousness, and has resulted in over 200 research publications including sixteen empirical papers in Scienceor Nature journals.

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  • Photo of Alan Thompson

    Alan Thompson

    My main research interest is in the early diagnosis and comprehensive management of multiple sclerosis (MS) and in the application of imaging, particularly of the spinal cord, to understand the mechanisms underlying disability in progressive MS. My ultimate goal, through my leadership of the Progressive MS Alliance, is to develop effective treatments that delay and, in time, prevent progression.

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  • Photo of Angelica Ronald

    Angelica Ronald

    DTP Management Committee

    Professor Angelica Ronald is known internationally for her work on the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental traits and their co-occurrence, including the first genome-wide association study of autistic traits and more recently for developmental work in both infancy and adolescence. Her lab conducts a wide array of research in behaviour genetics and human molecular genetics of psychopathology.

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Current students

  • Photo of Tom Langford

    Tom Langford

    My research focuses on the development of digital rehabilitation therapies for people with language impairments (aphasia/alexia) acquired after a stroke or brain injury. I am interested in treatment personalisation, machine learning and co-design. My project is supervised by Prof Alex Leff and Prof Jenny Crinion, in collaboration with industrial partner, Ashley Peacock.

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  • Photo of Steffan Jones

    Steffan Jones

    My lab works on understanding and curing epilepsy and my project focuses on epileptogenesis, the process by which normal neuronal activity is perturbed to allow for epilepsy to develop. I am investigating this at a cellular and network level, with consideration to how altered activity levels in the epileptogenic brain leads to maladaptive plasticity and pathological changes to how neuronal networks are structured. Hopefully novel insights into the basic pathophysiology of epilepsy will allow for novel treatment targets to be identified.

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  • Photo of Mira Chawda

    Mira Chawda

    Having had a varied research career in both academia and industry, my research interests and passion has always been within the field of immunology. My CASE PhD is focused on the cryopreservation of thymic tissue to isolate thymic epithelial cells (TEC) to develop cellular therapies and restore thymus function in athymic infants, and to identify if tolerance to heart transplants can be induced by donor thymic tissue in heart transplant recipients. I am supervised by Professor Tessa Crompton and Dr Susan Ross at UCL GOS ICH, and by Dr Peter Kilbride, our industrial collaborator at Asymptote Ltd (GE Healthcare).

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  • Photo of Muhammed Haque

    Muhammed Haque

    I’ve always been greatly fascinated by the application of chemistry in the treatment of diseases, particularly against those such which are very challenging to treat. My research interests therefore attempt to use my skills and knowledge in chemistry for the development of appropriate novel therapeutics. I like to be involved in interdisciplinary research projects, using exciting chemistry methodologies and biological testing to validate and improve upon drugs and other therapies.

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  • Photo of Kaylee Worlock

    Kaylee Worlock

    My research interest lie in field molecular and cellular biology, with a particular focus upon the mechanism underlying human health and disease. To date, despite the growing evidence behind the crucial role the immune system has to play within normal lung homeostasis and pathogenesis, the immuno-epithelial interplay within human fetal lung development remains largely uncharacterised. Working as part of UCL Respiratory my current project looks to try and elucidate these interactions, with the hope of providing a better understanding of human lung embryology and future support for neonatal care.

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  • Photo of Helen Fraser

    Helen Fraser

    PhD student

    We are living longer at a rate of about 6 hours per day but we continue to spend around one quarter of our lives in poor health. Drugs have been identified that increase healthy lifespan and overall lifespan in laboratory animals (Partridge, Nature, 2016). My research involves using Mendelian Randomisation, a computational approach based on human DNA, that predicts whether drugs targeting particular biomarkers will prolong healthy lifespan in humans as well (Hingorani & Humphries, Lancet, 2005).

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  • Photo of Charis Bridger Staatz

    Charis Bridger Staatz

    My main interests are in obesity and understanding the different factors that influence weight related outcomes over the life course. Over the first year of my PhD I have explored this by looking at the way number of children impacts obesity outcomes in later life through social and biological pathways, and how maternal diet can be improved to reduce the risk of overweight and obesity among children. For my full PhD I am investigating secular changes in obesity inequalities, using the National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) along with other British Birth Cohorts. Since the 1980s there have been increases in obesity in the UK and across the westernised world alongside changes to the environment that may be termed "obesogenic". These increases have been most strongly observed in more recent generations, with the younger born being exposed to an obesogenic environment from an earlier age. I intend to investigate these processes, specifically looking at secular changes in body composition, as well as how environment-individual interactions have changed to result in the emergence of inequalities in obesity.

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  • Photo of Rupert Faraway

    Rupert Faraway

    PhD student

    I work on long interspersed nuclear elements, a type of retrotransposon that accounts for over 20% of the human genome. My work is focussed on how these elements shape evolution, how they regulate RNA processing and their role particularly in brain development.

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  • Photo of Cato Hastings

    Cato Hastings

    I am interested in applying mathematics in order to solve biological problems. Working in the field of developmental biology, my PhD project studies the formation of the primitive streak, which is the first sign of left-right symmetry in vertebrates. By creating a mathematical model of primitive streak formation, I hope to probe the dynamics of cross-embryo communication. Such methods of communication are key in understanding the development of identical twins. My supervisors are Claudio Stern and Karen Page.

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  • Photo of Evgenia Markova

    Evgenia Markova

    PhD student

    My passion lies in structural and molecular biology, which means I spend most of my time in basements in front of microscopes. I am interested in the behavior of the building blocks of biological systems on a nanometer scale. In my PhD project in the Zanetti Lab in ISMB, I am investigating the assembly of an intracellular transport system that is crucial for trafficking in the eukaryotic cell.

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  • Photo of Yichen Qiu

    Yichen Qiu

    Epilepsy affects up to 60 million people worldwide, a quarter of the patients fail to manage their symptoms by medication. In epileptic brain, neural network is broadly altered and this leads to uncontrolled activities. My research aims to understand how neurons and their communications change in epileptogenesis and recurrent seizures. I want to use those insights to effectively target and modify activity threshold and restore balance.

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  • Photo of Jack Andrews

    Jack Andrews

    PhD student

    My PhD is focused on social brain development during adolescence and the reasons why this age group represents a sensitive period for sociocultural processing and the onset of mental health problems. More specifically, I am interested in the idea that adolescence represents a period of heightened sensitivity to social risk taking and am exploring questions relating to social cognition, social emotion and group behaviour. I am supervised by Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Professor Nichola Raihani.

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  • Photo of Mphatso Kalemera

    Mphatso Kalemera

    PhD student

    Though generally interested in many areas of cell and molecular biology, I’d say my passion lies within Infection Immunology. For my PhD in Dr Joe Grove’s group at the Royal Free, my research aims to delineate how antibody evasion strategies influence the entry kinetics and receptor usage of Hepatitis C virus. Among other techniques, I will be utilising category III virus infection assays and super resolution microscopy to address these questions

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  • Photo of Kirsty Bennett

    Kirsty Bennett

    PhD student

    I am in Department of Behavioural Science and Health’s Cancer Communication and Screening group. My doctoral research focuses on the psychosexual impact of testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) in routine cervical screening. I have a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Health Psychology and prior to beginning my PhD worked as a Research Assistant at UCL’s Department of Primary Care and Population Health and Division of Psychiatry and as a Behaviour Change Advisor at Bupa. My research interests include the psychological impact of cancer screening, understanding uptake of cancer screening and behaviour change for health-related topics.

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  • Photo of Nathan Day

    Nathan Day

    PhD student

    I am a physicist by training so my primary interests lie in super-resolution microscopy and quantitative image analysis, as well as molecular dynamics and other computational approaches

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  • Photo of Tyrone Curtis

    Tyrone Curtis

    PhD student

    My interest is in sexual health and sexual behaviour, and how the two relate to other aspects of our lives. In particular, I am interested in improving the sexual health of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. My background is in statistics, and I will be using a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques in my research.

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  • Photo of Kate Lewis

    Kate Lewis

    PhD student

    Inequity is defined as a lack of justice or fairness, and it is precisely this that pervades the health outcomes of people in social and economic disadvantage across the UK. My research is motivated by the need to better understand the factors that contribute to this health inequity. I am particularly interested in untangling the pathways to disparities in early life respiratory ill-health through the use of population-level data.

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  • Photo of Tsvetana Stoilova

    Tsvetana Stoilova

    PhD student

    Little is known about the molecular mechanisms which transform the lung architecture in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an invariably fatal condition. In my current project we utilise free circulating DNA in the blood as a novel biomarker in IPF patients as well as single cell analysis of lung tissue. My aim is to identify genetic changes associated with the disease which will accelerate drug development. This approach fits with my interest in better understanding disease pathology which translates in novel therapies.

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  • Photo of Alexandra Petrache

    Alexandra Petrache

    PhD student

    Having had the misfortune of seeing the effects of Alzheimer's Disease on a close friend of my parents' , I came to realise the burden it places on patients, family members and friends. I decided to understand it better and therefore chose to do my PhD project with Dr. Afia Ali at the UCL School of Pharmacy, hoping to do my part in curing this debilitating disease.

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  • Photo of Gurvir Virdi

    Gurvir Virdi

    PhD student

    I am a 4 year PhD student currently doing my rotation year. My research interest is in understanding the cellular mechanisms that contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Currently, in my first rotation I am working on axonal autophagy using a mouse model of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia

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  • Photo of Anjali Bhat

    Anjali Bhat

    PhD Student

    My research interests are in the fields of synaptic plasticity, homeostasis, Bayesian inference, interoception and neurogenetics. I am particularly interested in bridging the gap between molecular biology and abstract concepts in cognitive neuroscience. My PhD project is on homeostatic plasticity of iPSC networks in psychosis. I have also previously worked on interoception and automatic imitation in actors; copy number variants and biomarkers of schizophrenia onset; pain perception and affective touch; and Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive reserve and bilingualism in Down’s syndrome.

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  • Photo of Karina Vitanova

    Karina Vitanova

    PhD student

    Although the brain is an integral part of our body, there is still very limited knowledge as to how it operates and what perturbs its normal functioning. I am interested in understanding the initial mechanisms which disrupt the integrity of neuronal networks and will aim to find ways to target them to prevent subsequent neuronal death. Hopefully, my research will provide some insight as to what triggers the pathology of neurodegenerative diseases.

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  • Photo of Giacomo Stanzani

    Giacomo Stanzani

    PhD student

    I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of organ dysfunction in critical illness, and specifically in sepsis, to identify possible novel therapeutic targets. My current research examines the role of mitochondria in sepsis-induced cardiac dysfunction.

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  • Photo of Miroslava Katsur

    Miroslava Katsur

    PhD student

    Reperfusion of the ischaemic heart tissue results in extensive harm to cardiomyocytes which cannot be prevented successfully with any of currently existing cardioprotective treatments treatments. Exosomes from different cell sources were shown to be cardioprotective in various in vitro and in vivo models of ischaemia. We aim to establish in vitro conditions of hypoxia/reoxygenation, discover what cells are best as a source of cardioprotective exosomes, and we want understand how exosomes confer cardioprotection.

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  • Photo of Lily Goodyer Sait

    Lily Goodyer Sait

    PhD student

    My research interests lie within discovering novel drug targets and therapies, with a particular focus on neurological-based diseases. Consequently, this has led to me undertaking rotations within a variety of labs involved in bioengineering, structural biology and stem cell research. In conclusion, I hope to do research which will not only impact our understanding of disease, but directly go on to improve people’s lives.

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  • Photo of Inga Steindal

    Inga Steindal

    PhD student

    I work in the Whitmore lab on circadian rhythms, in particular in animals that live in extreme environments.
    The biological clock is primarily set by light and found in all animals and plants, where it regulates most of our cell biology, physiology and aspects of behavior like sleep. I am interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying this rhythm in health and disease and, by studying animals that live in arrhythmic environments such as caves and the deep-sea, hope to provide new insights into how our body rhythms work.

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  • Photo of Matthew Jay

    Matthew Jay

    PhD student

    When studying law I was always irked by something I could not then name but what I later realised was a lack of empirical knowledge: that we often make decisions without knowing how things are really working. Having spent some years in the pain service at Great Ormond Street and then studying for a master’s in social epidemiology I am now undertaking my PhD on the well-being of vulnerable children. More precisely, I am using statistical science and administrative data to examine longer-term outcomes of children who enter the family justice system and children’s social care.

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  • Photo of Glen Gronland

    Glen Gronland

    PhD student

    I'm interested in studying the regulation of gene expression through molecular and cell biology, and biophysics. In particular, I'd like to explore how post-transcriptional regulation is achieved through the combined functions of RNA-binding proteins and non-coding RNAs, and how these processes can go wrong in the context of disease.

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  • Photo of Tayla McCloud

    Tayla McCloud

    PhD student

    I am primarily interested in depression and anxiety in students and young people, and for my PhD will be examining the factors that predict the mental health of students. I have previously undertaken an MSc in Clinical Mental Health Sciences in the Division of Psychiatry, and in my rotation year worked with Dr James Kirkbride (Division of Psychiatry), Dr Oliver Robinson (ICN) and Prof Miranda Wolpert (Anna Freud Centre).

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  • Photo of Laura Pokorny

    Laura Pokorny

    PhD student

    My motivation to pursue a PhD was driven by a fascination surrounding how pathogens, although completely invisible to the human eye, cause devastating disease. In particular, I am passionate about understanding the complex interactions between the pathogen and the host during infection. This led me to undertake a PhD in Jason Mercer’s lab at the LMCB studying the entry and replication of the prototypical poxvirus, Vaccinia.

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  • Photo of Rebecca Powell

    Rebecca Powell

    PhD student

    I am interested in understanding why and how things go wrong in the body in order to improve outcomes for people suffering from disease or injuries. In my current rotation I am looking at T cells and the factors influencing their differentiation. I have also chosen to do a lab rotation in stem cell research and HIV as I have an interest in regenerative medicine and infectious disease.

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  • Photo of Panagiota Chondrou

    Panagiota Chondrou

    PhD student

    Cancer is still a major cause of death. After decades of study and a lot of clinical trials many forms of cancer remain incurable. The principle ways of cancer treatment are based on: surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. New modalities such as therapeutic hyperthermia have attained success. Recently, a novel therapy has been developed and is based on directing hyperthermia to cancer cells with the use of magnetic nanoparticles that aims to eliminate the side effect of current radio-or chemotherapy. My study will focus on the most cutting-edge research that has recently focused on the combination of heat treatment with traditional cancer drugs. We believe that the synergistic effect will enhance the treatment efficacy of both components compared to single mode of treatments.

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  • Photo of Rebecca Nutbrown

    Rebecca Nutbrown

    PhD student

    I am interested in how populations of neurons functionally bind together to form neural representations of specific environments and how these neurons can be biased into forming different environmental representations or 'memories'.

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  • Photo of Egle Petrauskiene

    Egle Petrauskiene

    PhD student

    My interests lie within a broad field of dental public health research which is in line with my previous clinical dental experience across a number of communities. I am particularly passionate about exploring socioeconomic causes of oral diseases over the life course. Furthermore, with a recent rapid ageing trend seen in most of the European populations, I am also interested in exploring the relationship between oral health and physical ageing.

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  • Photo of Thomas Wheatcroft

    Thomas Wheatcroft

    PhD student

    I’m interested in why we do the things that we do, and plan to study this by engaging with the question of why mice do the things that they do. Certain visual stimuli induce certain behaviours in mice. How the mice decide which of the behaviours to engage in on the basis of the pattern of light hitting their retina is unclear. I want to develop our knowledge of the neural pathways underlying these decisions through tracing them, recording and manipulating their activity.

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  • Photo of Karolina Farrell

    Karolina Farrell

    PhD student

    My research focuses on the role of VTA dopaminergic neurons in goal-directed navigation. Classically, these neurons have been studied during Pavlovian conditioning, and have been shown to be crucial for reward learning, which is dysregulated in many psychiatric disorders. In naturalistic scenarios, animals not only need to learn associations between cues and reward, but they need to actively find and navigate to rewards in their environment. I am therefore using virtual reality and calcium imaging to investigate how dopamine neurons function as animals navigate to rewards.

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