Dr Suvankar Pal (BSc(Hons) MBBS(Dist) MRCP(Neurol) MD(Res) PGCME FHEA FRCP)

Consultant Neurologist & Senior Lecturer

Background

I have research interests in neurodegenerative disorders including 1) Early Onset Dementia, 2) Motor Neurone Disease, and 3) Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease.  I have established and lead regional and national registries and tissue BioResources for these disorders which support a range of inter-disciplinary clinical phenotype-genotype-biochemistry/pathology studies. I have also established relevant infrastructure/platforms and support delivery of observational and interventional studies.

 

National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit, University of Edinburgh

I have been clinical lead at the National CJD Surveillance and Research Unit (NCJDRSU) since April 2017 providing clinical supervision of research registrars undertaking comprehensive clinical surveillance of CJD across the UK. Since August 2017, I am also clinical lead of the National CJD Nursing Care Team and National CJD Care Package.   I am actively involved in the Progressive Intellectual and Neurological Deterioration (PIND) and Transfusion Medicine Epidemiology Review (TMER) studies.  I have established the NCJDRSU tissue BioResource for collection and storage of cerebrospinal and blood samples for future research studies.

 

Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh

I have led the regional inter-disciplinary early onset cognitive disorders clinic at the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh since January 2012. We assess patients from across the region presenting with a wide range of neurodegenerative dementias including early onset Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, progressive aphasias, posterior cortical atrophy, and Parkinson’s plus syndromes. I am chief investigator for the Edinburgh Cognitive Diagnosis, Audit, Research & Treatment (Edinburgh Cognitive DART study), a prospective longitudinal cohort study of patients presenting with early onset dementia.  I am also a co-investigator for Scottish Regenerative Neurology Tissue bank. Clinical phenotypic, DNA, cerebrospinal fluid, and neuroimaging banks have been established supporting a wide range of inter-disciplinary research studies.  In collaboration with Professor Mary Porteous (SE Scotland clinical genetics), I established a clinical/research gene panel for neurodegenerative diseases.

 

Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Register (CARE-MND)

Since August 2015 I have been a clinical co-lead for the Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Register, working alongside the MND nurse consultant for Scotland, and co-supervising a clinical research fellow and research nurse, in assessment of patients with motor neurone disease across Scotland to: 1) Ascertain the incidence/prevalence of MND in Scotland, 2) Audit Care Standards, 3) Investigate genotype/phenotype correlations, 4) Establish a clinical trials platform for MND in Scotland.  The CARE-MND platform supports  patient participatory research in MND across Scotland and provided the necessary infrastructure for clinical trial delivery.

Research summary

Neurodegenerative diseases causing dementia are progressive, untreatable and usually fatal disorders which represent a major public health threat. Dementia has been identified by the United Kingdom government as a national clinical and research priority.

We have established the Edinburgh Cognitive Diagnosis Audit Research and Treatment (ECOG DART) register to deliver a mutliprofessional approach to longitudinal investigation of diagnosis, assessment, investigation and progression in patients with cognitive symptoms.

The research register prospectively records accurate clinical and novel data sets necessary to enable translational research in the context of a longitudinal clinical cohort study including, deep clinical phenotyping, computerised cognitive testing, evaluation of novel diagnostic clinical neuropsychological tests, diagnostic neurodegenerative gene set analysis, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers and investigation of novel diagnostic structural (MRI) and functional (SPECT/PET) neuroimaging studies.

The register also maintains a database of people who have consented to their details being held for inclusion in collaborative research studies (including clinical trials). Affiliated tissue banks archiving DNA, CSF and skin fibroblast samples further support collaborative research.

Collaborators

  • Professor Mary Porteous, Director South East Scotland Genetics Service, The Centre for Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Jenny Barnett, Director of Science & Innovation, Cambridge Cognition
  • Dr Zubair Khan, Department of Nuclear Medicine & Radiology, NHS Lothian

Sources of funding

  • NHS Research Scotland