I qualified from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) in 1997 and completed three years of general medical training in Dublin, Ireland. I became medical tutor for third and final medical year students at RCSI for one year, prior to commencing my clinical training in neurology. After completion of my specialist training, I moved to Newcastle to further my interest in neuromuscular diseases and was appointed Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2010. I completed my PhD studies investigating the clinical and genotypic aspects of mitochondrial disease in 2015 and became Senior Clinical Lecturer at Newcastle University the following year.
I was promoted to Professor of Neurology in 2020 and at the same time appointed Director of the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University, where I continue to work with my colleagues to strengthen our reputation as an internationally renowned centre of excellence in mitochondrial disease and dysfunction. To achieve this, I am committed to attracting, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive team of outstanding scientists whilst also promoting creativity, encouraging resilience and equipping our next generation of academics to become global leaders at the forefront of medical breakthroughs. My other leadership roles include the NIHR BRC Lead for Mitochondrial Disease and Lead of the Mitochondria and Neuromuscular Theme within the Newcastle University Translational and Clinical Research Institute, which have all benefitted from my successful recruitment to The Academy of Medical Sciences FLIER leadership programme (acmedsci.ac.uk).
I established and now lead the Newcastle Mito Hub – a research group designed to build on the world-class medical science at Newcastle University. I have been instrumental in creating the mitochondrial clinical trials unit and as Director of the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research, I am committed to promoting both basic and translationally driven mitochondrial research focussed on mitochondrial disease and dysfunction in collaboration with the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The resulting comprehensive expertise and facilities further enhance our position as an international centre of excellence, placing us at the forefront of clinical research where we can deliver novel, life-changing, precision therapies that have been developed though our own pipeline of innovative laboratory research.
I have developed research programs on two levels; 1) investigating genotype-phenotype correlations of primary mitochondrial disorders to better understand the basic pathophysiology and improve diagnostic yield (the first translational gap), and 2) Identifying strategic patient-centred research themes and validated outcomes (the second translational gap). I have established clinical trials in mitochondrial disease where there was previously little or no clinical trial research activity in the UK.