Dr Charis Wong

Clinical Fellow in Data-driven Drug Selection


Charis is a clinical fellow in data-driven drug selection with the University of Edinburgh and neurology registrar. She is interested in neurodegenerative diseases, in particular developing methodology to systematically identify, evaluate and report evidence to improve drug selection for clinical trials. She studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and graduated in 2012 with honours. She underwent clinical training across various hospitals within South East Scotland, and is currently a neurology registrar with NHS Lothian.  She joined the Anne Rowling Clinic as a Clinical Trial Fellow in 2019, working across various research studies in neurological conditions. She was part of the trial development group for MND-SMART (mnd-smart.org), a multi-arm multi-stage clinical trial in motor neuron disease (MND). She undertook a PhD supervised by Professor Malcolm Macleod, Professor Siddharthan Chandran, and Professor Neil Carragher where she developed methods to identify, evaluate, and prioritise candidate drugs for MND clinical trials, specifically MND-SMART. She is continuing to develop this work with the aim of improving the framework and expanding its applications to other disease areas. In her spare time, she enjoys being in the outdoors, hillwalking, and exploring the Scottish Highlands and Islands. 


Specialty Certificate Examination in Neurology

Member of the Royal College of Physicians (UK)

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) with Honours, University of Edinburgh.

Research summary

Neurodegenerative diseases are disabling, progressive neurological diseases. Despite decades of research, there is a lack of effective treatments to slow, stop or reverse these diseases. Charis is studying ways we can use different types of data to improve how drugs are selected for clinical trials in neurodegenerative diseases, in particular motor neuron disease. To this end, she developed the Systematic Living Evidence for Clinical Trials (SyLECT) framework (https://osf.io/7mza9), a modular, multi-modal, data-driven framework to guide drug selection for clinical trials,  and have successfully applied this to inform drug selection for MND-SMART (https://mnd-smart.org/, NCT04302870). MND-SMART is a multi-arm, multi-stage, adaptive platform trial evaluating drugs in motor neuron disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Currently, the framework uses data from:

(i) published studies of various neurodegenerative diseases via the Repurposing Living Systematic Review-Motor Neuron Disease (ReLiSyR-MND; https://camarades.shinyapps.io/ReLiSyR-MND/),

(ii) experimental drug screening including in house high throughput phenotypic drug screening,

(iii) pathway and network analysis,

(iv) mining drug, chemical and trial databases, and

(v) expert opinion. 


She is currently working on improving this framework and to expand its applications to other disease areas. 

Current research interests

Clinical trials and methodology; Systematic reviews, meta-research and evidence synthesis; Data science; Neurodegenerative diseases; Motor neuron disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Translational neurology

Affiliated research centres