Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Prof Siddharthan Chandran

Professor Siddharthan Chandran is Director of CCBS. His work spans clinical and laboratory activity in the area of Regenerative Neurology.

Professor Siddharthan Chandran

MacDonald Professor of Neurology

  • Director, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
  • Director, Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research
  • Director, Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic

Biography

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Southampton University
  • Neurology training, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University College London and University of Cambridge
  • PhD in developmental neurobiology, University of Cambridge (2000)
  • Consultant Neurologist, University Lecturer & Fellow of King’s College, University of Cambridge
  • MacDonald Professor of Neurology, University of Edinburgh (2009-present)

Research summary

Neurodegenerative diseases affect cells in the nervous system called neurons. Twenty million people worldwide are diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease each year, and at present they are all progressive and incurable.

The Chandran group links clinical activity with laboratory research into two such conditions: multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease. Measuring disease course and treatment outcomes through disease bio-registers builds an increasingly accurate clinical picture.

In parallel, studies in the lab —including using human stem cells—focus on understanding what is going wrong in the neurons and supporting cells called glia. Bringing these two strands together, the group aims to develop novel regenerative therapies and bring them to early-phase clinical trials.

Stem cells in culture
Human nerve stem cells growing "in a dish".

Research aims and areas of interest

Professor Siddharthan Chandran works in the emerging discipline of Regenerative Neurology. His research combines laboratory activity that includes human stem cells with specialist clinics (multiple sclerosis [MS] and motor neurone disease [MND]) to both study disease as well as undertake early-phase clinical trials.

The ultimate aim is to develop novel regenerative therapies for neurodegenerative disease.

Clinical research, based at the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, is founded on specialist clinics and linked disease registries to develop a clinical experimental infrastructure for longitudinal studies.

Current collaborative clinical projects include:

  • Epidemiological studies in MND (SMART-MND) and MS
  • MS-SMART – a major MRC-EME-funded clinical trial in secondary progressive MS
  • The Voice Bank initiative - using informatics to provide personalised synthetic voices for use in communication aids
  • Examining cognitive defects in MS using psychological testing paired with MRI brain scans

Lab research is focused on the glial-neuronal interaction in health and disease.

Current approaches include:

  • In vitro modelling of TDP43 proteinopathies using patient-derived iPS cells that have been converted into a range of functional neuronal and glial subtypes
  • In vivo modelling of the interactions between inflammation, neurodegeneration and repair in a mouse model of MS (Biozzi-EAE)

 

Collaborators

  • David Baker, Queen Mary, University of London (Experimental modelling of MS)
  • Shona Chattarji, NCBS/inStem, Bangalore, India
  • Tamir Ben-Hur, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem (Experimental modelling of MS)
  • Jeremy Chataway, University College, London (Neuroprotection trials in MS)
  • Steven Finkbeiner, University of California, San Francisco (Disease modelling in MND)
  • Tom Maniatis, Columbia University (Disease modelling in MND)
  • Gareth Miles, University of St Andrews (Spinal neuronal electrophysiology)
  • David Miller, University College London (Imaging and neuroprotection trials in MS)
  • Paolo Muraro, Imperial College London (Clinical trial of autologous MSCs in MS)
  • Chris Shaw, King's College London (Disease modelling in MND)
  • Robert Swingler, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee (MND disease register)

Sources of funding

  • Wellcome Trust
  • Medical Research Council
  • MS Society
  • Motor Neurone Disease Association
  • MND Scotland

Other information

At the University of Edinburgh, Siddharthan Chandran is Director of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences; Director of two philanthropically funded centres: the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research and Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic; and a Principal Investigator of the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the Centre for Neuroregeneration.

Prof Chandran is also Associate Director of the Centre for Brain Development and Repair (CBDR), a large-scale India-UK research collaboration.

Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research

The Euan MacDonald Centre is a “centre without walls” of 35 researchers across Scotland that seeks to improve the lives of patients living with MND through fundamental discovery research as well as a growing portfolio of patient-centred research projects.

Euan MacDonald Centre

Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic

The Anne Rowling Clinic is a clinical research facility focusing on a wide range of neurological conditions, especially neurodegenerative diseases.

Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic

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