Siddarthran Chandran

Professor Siddharthan Chandran is a Professor of Neurology and the Director of Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research and also Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic.  His work spans clinical and laboratory activity in the area of Regenerative Neurology.

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.


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)