Clinical Research Fellow
Following an English Literature degree at Oxford University I studied medicine in Cardiff. Subsequently my medical training has taken me around the UK, having worked in Scotland, Wales, and more recently the South-West of England. During that time I have started my specialty training in Neurology and developed an interest in disorders of memory, which has brought me to Exeter, and the TIME project. Thanks to the establishment of the Alzheimers Society doctoral training centre based in the University of Exeter I have been able to work as a clinical research fellow, under the supervision of Adam Zeman. During this time I will be working towards a PhD looking at epileptic seizures occurring in patients who are suffering from dementia and mild cognitive impairment.
Within the TIME project I will be assisting the current team in reviewing the 10 year follow-up data of the TEA cohort. In addition I will also be looking at a new group of TEA patients, established in the 10 years following the original study, to learn how these two groups compare, and what we can add to our understanding of TEA by combining these two groups together.
Clinical Lecturer in Medical Neurology
I studied medicine at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, and completed my training in general medicine in London, Lausanne and Oxford. Pursuing my long-standing interest in cognitive neurology, I obtained a three-year fellowship from the Patrick Berthoud Charitable Trust to work with Adam Zeman in Edinburgh on the TIME study. With him, I had the privilege of establishing by far the largest study to date on transient epileptic amnesia (TEA), recruiting and visiting 50 people from around the United Kingdom with this clinically important and theoretically informative condition. I subsequently held a post-doctoral scholarship at the Memory and Aging Center, University of California at San Francisco, where I gained clinical experience in behavioural neurology and learned techniques of functional brain imaging. I moved to Oxford in 2009 where I took up a post as Clinical Lecturer in Neurology. I have continued to work on investigating the clinical, neuropsychological and imaging characteristics of TEA and its associated forms of memory impairment.
Sergio Della Sala
Sergio Della Sala, MD, MSc, PhD, FRSA, FBPsS, FRSE, is currently Professor of Human Cognitive Neuroscience University of Edinburgh and Head of the Psychology Department and has held appointments in Berkeley, Cambridge, Milan, Aberdeen, and Perth (AU). He published over 350 peer-reviewed papers on the relationship between brain and behaviour, is editor of Cortex (Elsevier) and received the first “Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science” prize.
I obtained a BSc in Psychology from the University of Aberdeen (2003), and a PhD in Neuropsychology from the University of Edinburgh (2007). I am currently a post-doctoral research fellow within the Human Cognitive Neuroscience unit of the University of Edinburgh and have been supported by personal research fellowships from Alzheimers Research UK and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Lloyds Foundation for Scotland. My research explores (i) the role of memory interference in severe forgetting, and (ii) the beneficial effects of wakeful resting on recently acquired memories in healthy people and in some patients with memory impairment. Within the TIME project I am investigating whether accelerated long term forgetting in TEA could be associated with a disruption of recently acquired memory traces by new learning and behavioural activity. This Epilepsy Research UK-funded work is being carried out primarily by our PhD student Serge Hoefeijzers.
Scientist at Cardiff University
I undertook my undergraduate training at Edinburgh University, where I obtained a First Class BSc Honours Degree in Psychology. I also was awarded a Class Medal in 1998 and the Drever Prize for Psychology in 1990. My postgraduate education was at St John’s College, Cambridge University and involved studies of semantic memory in dementia at the MRC Applied Psychology Unit. In collaboration with Professor John Hodges, I was subsequently funded for two years on a Wellcome Grant at the Cambridge University Neurology Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, during which we reported novel patterns of remote memory loss in individuals with semantic dementia. In 1997, I was employed as a senior postdoctoral scientist at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, prior to promotion to Programme Leader in June 2002. During this time, we published a series of studies demonstrating impairments in object and scene processing in amnesic individuals, and differential profiles of brain activity for object and scene processing in healthy individuals. These patterns are challenging to current views of human memory, and suggest the need for revisions to how we think human memory maps onto the brain. In March 2007 I took up a position as Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Wales Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Cardiff University. I have published over 85 publications on human memory, and was awarded the Paul Bertelson Prize from the European Society for Cognitive Psychology in 2005. I am a member of the Memory Disorders Research Society and consulting editor for the journal Neuropsychology.
Professor of Behavioural Neurology
I trained in medicine and psychiatry in London, Southampton and Oxford before gravitating to neurology and becoming enamoured by neuropsychology. In 1990, I was appointed a University Lecturer in Cambridge and in 1997 became MRC Professor of Behavioural Neurology. After a sabbatical in Sydney in 2002 with Glenda Halliday, I rekindled a love of sea, sun and surf which culminated in a move there in 2007. I have written over 400 papers on aspects of neuropsychology (especially memory and languages) and dementia, plus six books. I am currently building a multidisciplinary research group focusing on aspects of frontotemporal dementia.
I obtained my BA and PhD in Psychology in Belfast before working for many years as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and later Professor of Neuropsychology in Southampton. In 2003 I moved to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. I have a wide-ranging interest in memory disorders, with a specific interest in memory disorders associated with epilepsy. I am currently the President Elect of the British Neuropsychological Society. Between 2003 -2010 I worked for Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. I was recently president of the British Neurological Society
Between 2016 and 2018 I was a research assistant for the TIME project. My main responsibility in this role was to support our investigation into the effects of anticonvulsant medication on memory in patients with TEA.
In 2014 I graduated from Bangor University with a First in BSc Psychology. I then moved on to study at the University of Bath, where I obtained my Masters of Research in Psychology in 2015. During this time I worked on research projects looking at a range of phenomena, such as working memory, global and local processing mechanisms and autism spectrum disorder. These experiences have fuelled my keen interest in cognition and neuropsychology, and in my pursuit to learn more about these fields I joined the TIME project in December 2016. Presently, I am working on another research project in the medical school at Exeter.
Professor of Behavioural Neurology
I graduated from the School of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and from the University of Cambridge, England. Currently, I am the Director of the Institute of Cognitive Neurology, Buenos Aires, Argentina and Professor of Neurophysiology and Cognitive Neurosciences at the Catholic University (UCA). I was recently appointed director of the Institute of Neuroscience of the Favaloro Foundation.
Fraser has been looking at the autobiographical memory problems that people with TEA often report. We have found that the autobiographical memory deficits extend across the entire lifespan. There is also evidence for a deficit in personal semantic memory (i.e., facts about ones life), most marked for mid-life periods. Memory for public semantic memory (i.e., facts about people or events) was more selective and restricted to more recent facts. Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) we asked a group of patients with TEA to recall memories from their past whilst inside the scanner. We found, overall, a reduced level of activity in the medial temporal lobes (thought to be a key location for memories) which was most marked for the recent periods. At the neural level, there was no evidence for reduced activation for childhood memories. Fraser is now a Lecturer in Psychology and teaches Psychology at the University of Exeter”.
Associate Research Fellow
Memory is fascinating. My interest in the study of memory and its disorders began formally during my training as a psychologist. In 2000, I obtained a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) and in 2006 completed my Master of Clinical Neuropsychology at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. I then began working with Professor John Hodges, at Neuroscience Research Australia, investigating patients with Frontotemporal Dementia and related disorders. In 2011, I became part of the Memory Program within the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellent in Cognition and its Disorders and commenced a PhD investigating the effectiveness of a cognitive intervention to assist Semantic Dementia patients in remembering words. In December 2014, I was delighted to join the University of Exeter Medical School as an Associate Research Fellow on the TIME project.
Within TIME, I will be focusing on the neuropsychological follow up of TEA participants who were initially seen 10 years ago. I will also be conducting a short study into olfactory functioning to investigate relationships between impairments in sense of smell and in memory. Lastly, I will be completing a study to examine whether anti-convulsant medication is helpful in not only reducing seizures but also in addressing memory problems reported by patients with TEA.
Professor of Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology, Prinicipal Investigator
I trained in Medicine at Oxford University Medical School, after a first degree in Philosophy and Psychology. After junior posts in Oxford, London, Cambridge and Norwich, I moved to Edinburgh in 1996 as a Consultant Neurologist. Between February 2003 and August 2004 I was supported by a Health Foundation Mid-career Award, enabling an extended period of advanced training, service development and research with the aim of ‘building bridges between neurology, psychology and psychiatry’. My specialised clinical work and research are in cognitive and behavioural neurology, including neurological disorders of sleep. My research interests include amnesia associated with epilepsy, the cognitive and neuropsychiatric consequences of cerebellar disease and disorders of visual imagery. I have an active background interest in the science and philosophy of consciousness. I moved to take up the Chair of Cognitive and Behavioural Neurology at the Peninsula Medical School in September 2005 and and until recently was the Chairman of the British Neuropsychiatry Association.