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SDRC Conference 2022 Speakers

Monday 9th May 2022

Dr Terry Quinn, Conference Chair

Terry holds the post of Reader and Honorary Consultant Stroke Physician in the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow. He is passionate about evidence based practice and raising standards in clinical research.

Terry has a broad research portfolio, which he combines with active teaching and clinical commitments.

Professor Craig Ritchie, SDRC Chair

Craig is the Professor of Psychiatry of Ageing at the University of Edinburgh, Director of Edinburgh Centre for Dementia Prevention and Director of Brain Health Scotland.

His primary research interest is the maintenance of brain health in mid-life to mitigate the risks of initiation and progression of degenerative brain disease that may lead to dementia. He is Chief Investigator on the PREVENT Dementia and European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia Research Programmes

Neil Fullerton, Brain Health Scotland

Professor Debbie Tolson, SDRC Executive Committee Member

Debbie is the Alzheimer Scotland Professor of Dementia and Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice at the University of the West of Scotland.

As a registered nurse she is committed to practice-based research and best research involvement practice. Current studies include advanced dementia, family caring and living with young/late onset dementia. 

Stina Saunders, SDRC Executive Committee Member

Stina is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh looking at risk disclosure in the mild cognitive impairment population, this work stemmed from the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia (EPAD) programme. Additionally, Stina is developing a personalised outcome measure (ePSOM) for use in clinical trials. Stina works at the University’s Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences.

Professor Frank Gunn Moore, SDRC Executive Committee Member

Frank is Head of the School of Biology at University of St Andrews and Deputy Director of the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance.

He combines all three science disciplines in leading a research group that has made major discoveries in understanding the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, pioneering new models and identifying potential therapeutic targets.

Dr Jennifer Waymont

Dr. Jennifer Waymont is a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, researching brain imaging markers of small vessel disease. Jenny gained her PhD in Medical Imaging from the University of Aberdeen in 2020, after obtaining a BSc in Clinical and Health Psychology and MScs in Psychological Research and in Neuroimaging at Bangor University, Wales. Following her PhD, Jenny worked as a Research Officer for Brain Health Scotland, leading on a project exploring the current landscape of clinical assessment of cognitive complaints in Scotland.

Danni Gadd

Danni Gadd is a PhD student on the Wellcome Trust Translational Neuroscience PhD programme at The University of Edinburgh, working with Dr Riccardo Marioni’s research group. Her research uses blood-based biomarkers to better understand and predict brain ageing and dementia risk.


Emily Ball

Emily is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on identifying risk factors associated with post-stroke dementia. She has used systematic reviews and linkage of healthcare records to identify risk factors for post-stroke dementia, and conducted a survey of healthcare professionals to explore their views on discussing risk of dementia at the time of stroke.

Suzanne Gray 

Suzanne is Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant for NHS Tayside and recently completed her Doctor of Nursing at Stirling University. Suzanne’s research focused on the lived experience of people with a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia and what helps and hinders people to live well with the condition



Sarah Gregory, University of Edinburgh

Sarah is a Research Fellow and part-time PhD Researcher in the Edinburgh Dementia Prevention team at the University of Edinburgh. Sarah’s research focuses on risk and preventative factors for Alzheimer’s disease, with her PhD topic investigating the role of stress in mid- and later-life and Fellow work researching diet and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Dr Annesha Sil

Dr. Sil is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Aberdeen who is interested in investigating risk factors in dementia such as sex, diet, pollution and increasing reproducibility in preclinical dementia research. Outside of work, she appreciates good food, live music, movies, museums and art.

Dr Zara Franklin

Zara obtained a PhD in Biomedical Science in 2012 and worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the diabetes field until 2018, when she moved to the University of Aberdeen, where she is currently a Research Fellow focusing the role of BACE1 in models of Alzheimer’s Disease and diabetes. Zara has a particular interest in the mechanistic underpinnings which may link these disease phenotypes.


Dr Clair Gamble

Clair Gamble is a Lecturer in Health Sciences at the University of Dundee. She is a registered nurse and she completed her PhD in 2021. Her research interests include measurement of knowledge and attitudes around illness, specifically dementia, and all aspects of care and treatment for older adult physical and mental health.

Mohamed Elsharkasi

Mohamed is a final year PhD student at Glasgow Caledonian university (GCU), interested in Nrf2 protein and its role in protecting human neurons in Alzheimer’s Disease. Graduated with a BSc in Pharmaceutical Science from Misrata University, Libya in 2015. Subsequently, worked in Misrata Medical Center as a pharmacist in 2016-2017. Graduated with an MSc in Pharmacology from GCU with Distinction in 2018. His research was focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying cannabinoid-mediated modulation of pain and their relationship with opioids.

Henry McLeish

The Right Honourable Henry McLeish, a former professional football player, and graduate of Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, began his political career in Fife, Scotland in the early 1970’s, working his way through the ranks of elected office including the Kirkcaldy District Council and the Fife Regional Council.

Elected to the United Kingdom Parliament in 1987 he became a member of the Blair Government in 1997. (30-year career in elected public office)

As Minister for Devolution and Home Affairs, at the Scottish Office from 1997 to

1999 he was instrumental in shaping Scotland’s first Parliament in almost 300 years. He was also responsible for Law and Order including the Police, the legal system and the Prison Service.  Elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 he was Minister for Enterprise and Life -Long Learning overseeing higher education, industry, science, technology, and the economy.

He became First Minister (Head of Government) of Scotland in 2000: taking responsibility for Scotland’s emerging role on the European and World stage, leading official government missions internationally and implementing Scotland’s social and economic policies. 

Currently, Henry works with Alzheimer Scotland as an Ambassador for the Charity. He Chaired Alzheimer Scotland’s Fair Dementia Care Commission and led the production of the Fair Dementia Care Report. Henry is also Chair of the Oversight Board for the Scottish Brain Health and Dementia Research Strategy, which was published in July 2021.


Tuesday 10th May 2022

Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland

Henry Simmons joined Alzheimer Scotland as Chief Executive in August 2008. He is a registered Social Worker, RMN and has an MBA. He has over 20 years experience in the health and social care sector and has spent the majority of his career in the voluntary sector, primarily involved in developing new community-based person-centred services.

Henry has worked in both the learning disability and mental health fields. He was a Board Member of Alzheimer Europe for several years and is a General Member of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland. He is also chair of the NHS NES/SSSC Dementia Programme Board and currently a member of the Fair Work Convention.

Recently, Henry has been fortunate to be awarded Honorary Doctorates from both Queen Margaret University and Glasgow Caledonian University.

Maria Drummond, ENRICH

Maria is the Senior Clinical Studies Officer for ENRICH Scotland, which is a research team within NHS Research Scotland. She is a community nurse and PhD student at the University of Glasgow, where her research focuses on understanding how nurses can support caregivers of people living with dementia. ENRICH Scotland is working towards improving research opportunities for care home staff, residents and their family members.

 Dr Tom Russ, SDRC Executive Committee Member

Tom trained in medicine and psychiatry in Edinburgh, the Highlands, and London and completed a PhD in dementia epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.

He is a consultant psychiatrist in NHS Lothian, Network Champion of the NRS Neuroprogressive and Dementia Network, and Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh


Dr Emma Law

Emma Law manages the Neuroprogressive and Dementia Network and is Co-chair of ENRICH(Enabling Research in Care Homes) Scotland. Her background is nursing in mental health, dementia, and NHS management. Her doctoral work was focussed on citizenship and inclusion in research for people with dementia in care homes


Dr Leah Macaden, SDRC Executive Committee Member

Leah is a Senior Lecturer from the Department of Nursing at University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) in Scotland. She is a registered nurse with a wide range of academic, clinical, management and research expertise from India and the United Kingdom.

Leah’s teaching and research include award winning dementia education initiatives and complexities of care for older people with dementia, frailty and sensory impairments.

Dr Roma Maguire, University of Strathclyde

Dr Kieren Egan, University of Strathclyde

Kieren Egan is a Research Fellow at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and has a number of research interests spanning across: digital health, dementia, informal caregivers and healthy ageing. He has a long-term interest in improving the likelihood of candidate interventions reaching societal use including through the use of evidence synthesis techniques, innovative methodologies and participant co-design.

Professor Roger Staff

Professor Staff is the lead clinical scientist providing scientific management (imaging physics) for NHS Grampian.  His interests are imaging in dementia and the ageing brain, particularly the life-course effects on anatomy and function.  He has significantly contributed to the Aberdeen Birth Cohort projects and the development of Tau therapies for dementia.

Dr Christoper Henstridge

Dr Louis Dwomoh

Louis is a Research Associate at the University of Glasgow. He is interested in the molecular basis of neurodegeneration, and how to use apply this to define and validate novel G protein-coupled receptor targets for modification of neurodegenerative disorders, with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease.

Donncha Mullin

Donncha is a PhD Clinical Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences and Alzheimer’s Scotland Dementia Research Centre. He is examining the recently defined walking speed based syndrome Motoric Cognitive Risk in various datasets to determine how useful it is for predicting dementia later in life. He qualified as a Physiotherapist before doing Medicine, studying for both in Glasgow, and is now specialising in Psychiatry.

Carmel McKenna

Carmel’s career in Irish dance spans over 50 years as a dancer, teacher, historian, researcher and interdisciplinary dance and social care research supervisor. In 1997, she founded Munster Academy of Dance which is affiliated with the Social Sciences ConneXions Research Institute at TUS Midlands Midwest in Ireland.



Dr Helena Chaytow

Helena is an Early Career Researcher in the Gillingwater lab at the University of Edinburgh. Helena’s research is focussed on developing novel therapies for motor neuron diseases, particularly amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Using a wide range of models of motor neuron disease, Helena hopes to find novel drug candidates with robust preclinical evidence of therapeutic potential to progress to clinical application.

Hannah Morrison 

Hannah is currently a fifth year medical student from Edinburgh University in which she did her intercalated degree in Health Sciences with a special interest in Primary care. Hannah has been working on this Dementia research project alongside supervisor Sarah Gregory throughout this academic year.

Jodi Watt

Jodi (she/her) is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Glasgow. Her research focuses on using multiple MRI metrics in combination to investigate brain health and ageing, as well as the utility of such metrics in prognostics. She is passionate about challenging inequity and making the world of science more inclusive. Outside of academia, Jodi is a circus performer who likes to challenge the stereotypes and misconceptions of what makes a good scientist.

Holly Spence

Holly is a final year PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. Her project investigates the interactions between brain iron, cognition and inflammation in members of the Aberdeen children of the 1950’s birth cohort and their first-generation relatives.


Jenny Mccleery

Jenny has been a Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist in Oxfordshire since 2004. Since 2009 she has worked in the editorial team of the Cochrane Dementia Group, for most of that time as Joint Co-ordinating Editor. She has edited and co-authored numerous Cochrane reviews about dementia treatment and diagnosis.


Dr Graham Mackay

Dr Graham Mackay is a Consultant Neurologist based at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. He trained in Neurology in Glasgow having also undertaken research in Edinburgh in the National CJD surveillance unit. He has undertaken Young onset dementia clinics both in Lanarkshire and Grampian since becoming a consultant in 2014.

Dr Matthew Broadhead

Matthre obtained his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh in 2015, and has been a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Gareth Miles at the University of St Andrews since 2016. He is interested in the structure and function of synapses between neurons in the nervous system, and how glial cells interact with synapses in Motor Neuron Disease.

Aileen Wong

Aileen is a 2nd year PhD student at the Glasgow Caledonian University. Her project investigates the retinal cholesterol homeostasis in Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Particularly, Aileen is interested in how TSPO ligands work as a drug to reverse the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and bringing new insight in treating Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Martin Taylor-Rowan

Martin is a postdoctoral researcher based at the University of Glasgow. His research focuses on improving our understanding of cognitive problems in stroke. In particular, Martin is interested in how we can better identify those most at risk of long-term cognitive problems after stroke.

Mizuki Morisaki

Graduated with a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of St Andrews in 2021.  Following PhD completion, Mizuki became a research fellow in the Doherty’s lab and investigated a neuroprotective role of alpha-amylase in vitro model. She is interested in stress and ageing and how it is related to neurodegenerative disease especially Alzheimer’s disease.


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