BRAIN centre: Core Team
Dr Diana Cash
Centre Manager and Scientific Director
Originally trained in molecular biology and neuroscience, Diana’s research has been in elucidating the structure, function and disease of the CNS, by magnetic resonance imaging and methods such as behaviour, histology, PET and autoradiography. She has over 10 years’ experience of running collaborative projects in brain imaging and drug discovery. Now at the helm of the BRAIN Centre, she is keen to facilitate the development of imaging biomarkers of interest to neuroscientists from both academia and industry.
Dr Katarina Ilić
Project Manager and Head of Operations
Katarina has a background in medicine and molecular neuroscience and neurochemistry. Her previous work included analysis of lipid-protein interplay in neurodegeneration. She joined BRAIN Centre in 2021. as a senior researcher and took a role of Project and Operations Manager in 2022. She oversees all ex vivo experiments and analysis of the data. Her current interest is in combining multiple techniques for examining the CNS, including e.g. histology, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence with confocal microscopy, Western blot, HPLC and autoradiography.
Dr Eugene Kim
Head of MR Physics and Analysis
A biomedical engineer by training, Eugene started his research career in preclinical imaging of cancer, with a focus on validation and application of MRI biomarkers of tumour angiogenesis and anti-angiogenic therapies. He joined the BRAIN Centre in 2017, where he now oversees the acquisition and analysis of neuroimaging data. Whether in the field of oncology or neuroscience, Eugene’s passion is to develop robust and reproducible imaging biomarkers for characterisation and early detection of disease and treatment response.
Affiliated researchers, collaborators and friends
The following experts are all connected to the BRAIN Centre, either by conducting their own research or by providing a valuable help and advice. If you are interested in collaborating with any of them in a preclinical imaging project drop us a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’d be happy to pass on the message.
Department of Neuroimaging (KCL)
Dr Tobias Wood
MR physicist with expertise in preclinical imaging. Toby’s research focuses on new methods for quantitative imaging at close to 1,000 times the resolution available in a clinical scanning session.
These exquisite scans can provide real insight into changes at the cellular level, leading to better interpretation and diagnostic potential. These methods have been applied to image demyelination and neuro-inflammation in rodent models, and are now being used to investigate brain metabolism.
Dr Po-Wah So
Seniour lecturer in Biomedical Imaging and Spectroscopy, and joint-head of the Preclinical Neuroimaging Group. After initial training in Medicinal Chemistry and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy (NMR), Po-Wah now has over 25 years of experience of applying NMR, MRS and MRI to biomedicine. Her current research is focused on determining the central (neural) consequences of peripheral dysfunction, especially the influence of metabolism and a range of metals, particularly iron. This work continues her research in the role of metals in normal ageing and Alzheimer’s Disease, and builds upon her established research into metabolic disorders including obesity, diabetes and fatty liver. At the BRAIN Centre, she is championing the use of MRS and metallomics (biological tissue elemental mapping and bulk analysis).
Dr David Lythgoe
MR physicist and highly experienced in all aspects of MR imaging, spectroscopy and analysis. David’s primary interests are chemical shift imaging (CSI), structural imaging and MR pulse sequence programming. For the BRAIN Centre, he provides essential help and advice on the use of MRS, QSM (quantitative susceptibility mapping) and other quantitative imaging / spectroscopy methods.
Dr Nisha Singh
Psychopharmacologist by training, with a keen interest in translational research. Nisha’s work involves drug discovery–developing and testing new and existing molecules that may be useful in treatment or as biomarkers. She is currently working on understanding the role glutamate plays in the neurological and psychiatric disorders. She also has expertise in preclinical positron emission tomography (PET).
Dr Ivana Rosenzweig
Senior clinical scientist and consultant neuropsychiatrist, specializing in sleep and leading the KCL Sleep and Brain Plasticity Centre. Ivana is a recipient a Wellcome Trust award which she is using to unravel the mechanisms of sleep, neuroplasticity and inflammation. Toward this, she makes use of clinical and preclinical imaging experiments.
Prof Federico Turkheimer
Professor of Neuroimaging Analysis and Statistics. Federico is highly experienced in PET and MRI methodology, particularly in statistical methods, brain networks and connectivity analyses as well as tracer kinetics modelling. He is very interested in brain energetics and his current preclinical research (at BRAIN Centre) focuses on cerebral metabolism and mitochondrial capacity in healthy and unhealthy ageing.
Dr Fernando Zelaya
Fernando is a Reader in Physiological Neuroimaging and has expertise in measuring cerebral blood flow and metabolism by MRI. His expertise will enable us to establish methods to measure CMRO2 (cerebral metabolic rate for oxygen) on the preclinical MR scanner at the BRAIN Centre.
Dr Mattia Veronese
Senior molecular imaging scientist with expertise in quantification and kinetic modelling of PET signal. At the Department of Neuroimaging, Mattia has championed the use of many different PET tracers, including fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG; for brain metabolism), translocator protein (TSPO; for neuroinflammation) and Leucine (cerebral protein synthesis) with which he collaborates with the BRAIN Centre.
Prof Steve Williams
Head of the Neuroimaging Department and vastly experienced in all aspects of brain imaging, Steve has preclinical imaging close to his heart having set up the original University of London Biomedical MR Facility which spawned a myriad of high profile scientific papers and excellent MR scientists. He offers his advice and insight to the BRAIN Centre to help facilitate translational brain imaging ‘from bench to bedside’.
Dr Owen O’Daly
Expertise in structural and functional/pharmacological MRI and analysis in clinical and preclinical applications. Owen is an expert on Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM) software, amongst other methods, and has a keen appreciation of challenges and nuances of MR study design and data processing having ran SPM workshops and help-desk for many years.
Department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience
Dr Anthony Vernon
Seniour lecturer in the Neurobiology of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Anthony’s group combines in vivo MRI, 3D imaging of intact, fixed brain tissue (CLARITY) and molecular analyses of gene and protein expression to study: (1) How alterations in brain structure and function observed in patients with psychiatric and neurological disorders align with appropriate rodent models and (2) The effects of psychotropic drugs on the nervous, immune and endocrine systems. Anthony is championing the use of preclinical neuroimaging in his department and at the MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, as a means to address the lack of continuity between the levels of analysis used in animal models and clinical research into brain disorders.
Dr George Chennell and the Wohl Cellular Imaging Centre, WCIC
With years of experience in microscopy and the related methods, George manages the new Wohl Cellular Imaging Centre, located in the building next door. WCIC houses several state-of-art microscopes for all aspects of screening and microscopy work on cells, tissues and live animals. By collaborating with both BRAIN Centre and WCIC, researchers have an unprecedented opportunity to study the CNS macroscopically as well as microscopically, within the same (or closely related) samples and subjects. WCIC is also under an academic leadership by Dr Deepak Srivastava who runs a research group focusing on molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic communication.
Dr Philip Holland
Phil’s primary research interest is in the pathophysiology of migraine and headache. His lab’s fundamental goal is to develop an improved understanding the basic biology of migraine and other primary headaches. Amongst other techniques, Phil uses preclinical MRI to study various aspects of migraine in relation to cerebral grey and white matter changes and blood flow.
Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences (KCL)
Dr Flavio Dell’ Acqua
Flavio is a Senior Lecturer in Translational Neuroimaging with a background in MR physics, image analysis and biomedical engineering. His research interests focus on the development and application of advanced MR diffusion imaging methods including Spherical Deconvolution Tractography, high resolution in-vivo and ex-vivo Diffusion Tensor Imaging and new biophysical models of diffusion. Within the preclinical imaging team his interests are currently focused on the development and optimization of cutting edge MR microscopy methods to unravel the micro- and mesoscale organization of brain structures in typical and atypical neurodevelopment both in post-mortem human brains and animal models.
Dr Marija-Magdalena Petrinovic
Marija’s primary research interests are in the study of disease mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders. She has expertise in rodent imaging and the development of optimized anaesthesia protocols for fMRI. With the BRAIN Centre, Marija is currently involved in setting up novel imaging methods combining optogenetic and fMRI to study the effect of targeted activation and deactivation of specific neuronal populations on the brain function.
Department of Psychosis Studies (KCL)
Dr Gemma Modinos
A recipient of the prestigious Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, Gemma’s research aims to understand the neural mechanisms of emotion and stress response in schizophrenia, and how to intervene on those mechanisms early to prevent or delay the development of psychosis. She uses a combination of preclinical and clinical imaging along with behavioral/psychophysical experiments to explore these topics.
Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases (CARD) (KCL)
Dr Lawrence Moon
Lawrence’s primary research interests and long-term goals are to identify and test novel strategies for promoting CNS neuroplasticity and recovery after CNS injury. He has pioneered the use of neurotrophin-3 to promote spinal neuroplasticity after stroke or corticospinal tract injury in rats, and he uses MRI, in addition to molecular and behavioural methods, to study the evolution of brain lesions and their functional consequences.
Imperial College London
Dr William Crum
Formerly at the Department of Neuroimaging at KCL, William (Bill) continues to be involved with The BRAIN Centre owing to his expertise in image analysis methods for preclinical applications, automated image registration and segmentation, multi-modal integration, evaluation and validation techniques.