Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Translational neurosurgery

Translational neurosurgery aims to inform, enable and accelerate the translation of advances from the laboratory to the operating theatre.

Pencil anatomy drawing of the head

University of Edinburgh Department of Neurosurgery

Our neurosurgeons work in collaboration with clinicians and laboratory scientists within the University and beyond. This provides a unique perspective on the problems that our patients experience, in turn driving novel research.

We aim to inform, enable, and accelerate the translation of advances from the laboratory to the operating theatre, to regenerate where once surgeons only operated.

Approaches are broad and range from molecular biology to microelectronics and engineering.

Meet the team

A group of academic neurosurgeons who collaborate with each other.

Dr Paul Brennan: glioma stem cell biology

The glioma stem cell biology group is working to improve the outcome for patients with brain tumours. By understanding the molecular-level variation between tumours in different patients, it is hoped to personalise cancer care.

Based at the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre in the Institute for Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, Paul Brennan's group works closely with other glioma scientists in the University, including the Pollard group at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

Dr Mark Hughes: neuron-silicon interfaces

Work on neuron:silicon interfaces explores research and therapeutic opportunities enabled by interfacing microelectronics with nervous systems. This ranges from neuronal network engineering to the development of implantable sensors.

Work is fundamentally collaborative, with links to the Institute of Micro and Nano Systems, the Centre for Integrative Physiology, and the Scottish Microelectronics Centre.

Dr Ammar Natalwala (Clinical Research Fellow, Centre for Regenerative Medicine)

Dr Julie Woodfield (ECAT Clinical Lecturer)

Dr John Emelifeonwu (Clinical Research Fellow, Division of Infection & Pathway Medicine)

Dr Aimun Jamjoon (PhD student)

Dr Michael Poon

Dr Philip Copley

Dr Lianne Harrison


Outreach through education and clinical trials

There is a firm commitment to undergraduate and postgraduate education at local, national and international levels, as well as involvement in regional and national clinical trials (including BASICs (British Antibiotic and Silver Impregnated Catheters for Ventriculoperitoneal Shunts) and British Neurosurgical Trainees Research Collaborative -administered audits).

The consultant work force includes the National Training Program Director, the Convenor of Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh-based neurosurgical cadaveric simulation courses, and involvement in the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies.

The majority of neurosurgical trainees in Edinburgh complete a higher degree during their training. Ongoing PhD projects include assessing the impact of traumatic brain injury on synaptic function in a mouse model of head injury and investigation of white matter integrity and network characteristics in children with epilepsy.