Mr James Loan (BMedSci, MB ChB, MRCS, MSc, PhD)

Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Specialty Registrar in Neurosurgery

  • Translational Neurosurgery, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
  • Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences
  • Dementia Research Institute

Contact details



Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
Chancellor's Building
49 Little France Crescent

Post code
EH16 4SB

Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences
Hugh Robson Building
George Square

Post code


I am an academic neurosurgical trainee and am passionate about trying to find solutions to the consequences of acute brain injury. I combine preclinical and clinical methodologies to understand processes of of disease that are harmful or protective in patients and aim to use these to develop new treatments or optimise current management strategies.


  • 2017-present ECAT Clinical Lecturer, University of Edinburgh and Honorary Specialty Registrar in Neurosurgery, NHS Lothian
  • 2018-2021: PhD student. UK Dementia Research Institute, Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences and Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
  • 2017-2018: Honorary Specialty Registrar in Neurosurgery, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
  • 2016-2017: Supernumerary Neurosurgical Registrar, Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. Visiting Scientist at University of Cape Town.
  • 2014-2016: Academic Foundation Medical Training in Critical Care, NHS Grampian


  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, with honours (MBChB hons), University of Edinburgh
  • Bachelor of Medical Sciences with first class honours (Neuroscience) (BMedSci Hons) and first in class, University of Edinburgh
  • Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCS Ed)
  • Master of Science (MSc Surgical Sciences), with distinction and Lister Medal, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and University of Edinburgh, 

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 

Associate member of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons

Undergraduate teaching

Current and previous undergraduate medical student supervision:

Dr. Kirun Baweja

Sorha Heelan

Shiv Keni

Jay Park

Dr. Brendan Sargent

Friederike Schaper 

Postgraduate teaching

Current and previous academic foundation doctor supervision:

Dr. Angus Gane

Mr. Kieran McGivern

Dr. Steven Tominey

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

I am a doctor training in neurosurgery. Broadly, I am interested in understanding why inflammatory responses to acute brain injury vary between people and how these impact on long-term clinical outcome. This is important to inform patient selection for surgery and may allow targeted therapeutic development. 

Current research interests

I use in vitro and in vivo models of brain haemorrhage to investigate how microglia and recruited peripheral immune cells, sculpt astrocyte and neuronal responses to brain haemorrhage. Using brain tissue and clinical data of patients with brain haemorrhage, I aim to identify mechanisms of injury and neuroprotection that are conserved in patients and harness them therapeutically. This work builds on that of my PhD, supervised by Prof. Giles Hardingham, Dr. Barry McColl and Prof. Rustam Salman and funded by the Wellcome Trust and supported by the UK Dementia Research Institute.

Past research interests

Epidemiology of traumatic brain injury; Tuberculous meningitis

View all 25 publications on Research Explorer