SDRC Executive Committee Nominees

There are 14 nominees in total. Please use the link you will have received by email to cast your vote. You can cast a maximum of five (5) votes. Any ballot which votes more than five times will not be used. 

There are five people to be elected:

  • Two for Science and Technology
  • One for Clinical, Health and Applied Practice
  • One for Social and Population
  • One Open Vacancy

The election will be conducted by majority vote.

The first candidate elected will fill the open vacancy.

The second, third, fourth and fifth candidate elected will fill empty vacancies according to category.  If a candidate(s) with the most votes are not standing in those categories, the count will continue until someone standing in one of those categories is elected.

The nominees are as follows:

Clinical, Health and Applied Practice

Catherine Pennington

University of Edinburgh

I am a consultant neurologist with NHS Forth Valley and senior clinical research fellow with Edinburgh Dementia Prevention. My clinical interests are in the diagnosis of dementia and functional (psychological) causes of memory impairment, and in promoting brain health. My area of research interest focuses on changes to symptom awareness in cognitive disorders – a common feature of many forms of neurodegeneration. I also have considerable experience in running and recruiting to research registers, cohort studies and clinical trials. I am active in teaching and supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students, and keen to support people newly entering the field of clinical dementia research. I have spent the last 13 years working with people with cognitive disorders, and am passionate about improving clinical services, and championing research with high practical relevance to those living with cognitive difficulties.

Stina Saunders

University of Edinburgh

I am an Early Career Researcher at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences and I would like to be considered for the SDRC Executive Committee. I am an active member of the SDRC – my research was highlighted in the SDRC annual report and I have presented my work at the SDRC conferences. I was pleased to receive the (shared) best poster award at the most recent SDRC conference. I recognise SDRC’s contribution in advancing, supporting and facilitating dementia research in Scotland. As a regular attendee at the SDRC webinars and taking part in the SDRC mentorship programme, I particularly notice the focus on Early Career Researchers. I have just started the final year of my PhD and while my longer-term career plan is to become a senior researcher in dementia (prevention), in the next few years I will be transitioning from PhD to a post-doctoral researcher or a fellowship. In parallel to my PhD study, I have been working across various dementia clinical trials, most notably the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia (EPAD) programme. I also coordinate the Electronic Person Specific Outcome Measure (ePSOM) development programme.

Over the course of my PhD, I have published papers, a book chapter and regularly present at all the major international dementia conferences.

I believe as an active Early Career Researcher and an active member of the Consortium, my experiences would bring valuable insights and perspective to the Executive Committee. Equally, I would be grateful to learn from the other members.

Thomas Bak

University of Edinburgh

With my professional background in cognitive neurology and psychiatry, I have a longstanding research interest in cognitive disorders and extensive clinical experience working with different types of dementia. During my time in Cambridge (1995-2006) I have been part of the team which developed Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Assessment (ACE) and I established and run the Clinic for Disorders of Movement & Cognition (DMC), seeing patients with symptoms overlapping dementia and movement disorders. Since my arrival in Edinburgh in 2006, I developed, jointly with Prof. Sharon Abrahams, Edinburgh Cognitive and Behavioural Assessment (ECAS), to assess cognition in dementia patients who have also motor symptoms, and worked in the dementia clinic at the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic.

In recent years, I have been working on bilingualism and dementia, conducting studies on the influence of bilingualism on the onset of dementia (including the largest study of this type, Alladi et al 2013) and a study of language learning in patients with early dementia. Currently I am investigating patterns of language change in bilingual dementia patients. From 2010 till 2018 I was president of the World Federation of Neurology Research Group on Aphasia, Dementia and Cognitive Disorders (WFN RG ADCD). In this function, I organised “Cognitive Clinics Worldwide” teaching courses in Asia, Africa and Latin America. I continue to be involved in work on translation and adaptation of cognitive tests across the world. I hope that my expertise and experience could contribute to the work of SDRC.

Tom Russ

University of Edinburgh

I am a consultant psychiatrist in NHS Lothian, Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, and an honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh. I spend half my time on clinical work in two specialist dementia units and in the memory clinic in Edinburgh and the other half of my time on research. My research began by examining geographical variation in dementia risk in Scotland and Sweden and now focuses particularly on environmental risk factors for dementia, such as air pollution. The overall research focus of the ASDRC is wide and balanced, ranging from optimising computational models to the lived experience of dementia, including what it feels like to feel free with dementia.

I am very keen on encouraging research and research participation across the whole of Scotland and would be keen to contribute to the SDRC in this way.

Terry Quinn

University of Glasgow 

Terry holds the post of Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Stroke Physician in the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow. 

Terry has a broad research portfolio, his principal research interests are around trial methodology, cognitive assessment and vascular cognitive impairment.  Terry has published extensively on stroke, cognition and test accuracy with publications in NEJM, JAMA, Lancet and BMJ.  He is Principal Investigator for various studies; chairs monitoring and trial steering committees for multicentre dementia trials and holds the inaugural CSO/Stroke Association priority program grant to research cognitive outcomes following stroke.  

Terry is passionate about evidence based practice and raising standards in clinical research.  He holds editorial board positions with various journals; is coordinating editor for the Cochrane Dementia Group; Chair of the Organisation for Psychological Research in Stroke (OPSYRIS) and the NHS Research Scotland Lead for Ageing Research. Terry sits on the Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Group for heart disease and stroke and has been working with Healthcare Improvement Scotland on improving care of the older adult in hospital.

Within the University, Terry has a number of teaching and supportive roles.  He is primary supervisor to five PhD students having supervised to completion PhD, MSc and BSc (Med Sci) students.  He is vice chair of the MVLS ethics committee, advisor of studies for undergraduate medical students and coordinates clinical academic trainees through the GATE program (Glasgow Academic Training Environment).

Terry combines his research portfolio with active teaching and clinical commitments.

I have been a member of the SDRC for many  years. In 2020 I began working closely with the executive as co-opted member. In this time I have helped the organisation respond to the covid-19 pandemic. Notable activities have included raising the social media visibility of the group; developing the monthly webinar series and creating online resources for early career researchers. Despite all the challenges of the last year, this is still an exciting time to be working in dementia research. I want to build on the successes of 2020 and I have the ideas, networks and passion to ensure we realise the potential of SDRC and of dementia research in Scotland.

Psychology and Humanities

Mario Parra

University of Strathclyde

I am a founder member of various Ageing and Dementia oriented initiatives in Scotland including the Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network (now Neuroprogressive and Dementia Network), Scottish Dementia Research Consortium, Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre, and Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Epidemiology. As a founder, active member, and contributor, I have been able to support such initiatives and in doing so witness the growth of a new Scottish Dementia landscape. I am the PI of a multi-site study that focuses on the development of new neurocognitive markers for Alzheimer’s diseases. This project has brought together academic and NHS organizations across Scotland and has created opportunities for training and partnerships with various stakeholders. I am an active member of the Centre for Dementia Prevention and a collaborator of major initiatives led by the centre such as the PREVENT study, the EPAD study. My Lab has provided continuous training to new researchers interested in dementia challenges who are currently supporting relevant initiatives in the UK and abroad. I lead international collaboration networks that aim to bridge gaps between LMIC and HIC. Aware of the targets set by our National Dementia Strategy, the Brain Health Scotland initiative, and considering the support I can offer as a leader of national and international networks, I would be delighted to be able to join the SDRC Executive Committee. I can help advance strategies aimed at internationalizing research agendas, improving support to disadvantaged populations, delivering better assessments and theory-driven technology-based interventions for patients and caregivers.

Miles Welstead

University of Edinburgh

I am self-nominating for election to the SDRC Executive Committee as the consortium aligns with both my interests and my experience. As a young professional I have worked at Edinburgh Dementia Prevention (EDP) for the past five years, working on a range of studies both academic and commercial. Simultaneously, I began a PhD exploring cognitive ageing in later life, with a particular emphasis on the interaction between frailty and dementia risk. During the past year, I have been appointed Vice Chair of the South East Scotland Research Ethics Committee and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease. I raise these points as I believe that they give me a good foundation with which to allow me to hit the ground running as part of the Executive Committee.

I have a strong interest in dementia research and believe that promoting close collaboration and effective communication between researchers is a key step in advancing the field. The values and goals of the SDRC align with my own and I am excited about the prospect of being able to contribute. I am confident that my well-rounded experience paired with my enthusiasm for optimising future dementia research make me a great fit for a spot on the SDRC Executive Committee. 

Paul Rodgers

University of Strathclyde

I have been working with people living with dementia as a Professor of Design and a design researcher for over a decade. I have also received an Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Design Research Fellowship to conduct collaborative work with Alzheimer Scotland that resulted in a series of innovative products and services that have been published in a number of internationally leading journals and books and exhibited across the UK. In this ongoing work, I have a real passion for working with people living with dementia from a design research perspective that results in co-designed outcomes.

Science and Technology

Donald Lyall

University of Glasgow

This is a unique and exciting time in data science-led dementia research. I am applying to the SDRC executive because I want to be part of the process which helps identify and lead Scottish dementia research priorities.

What can I bring to the SDRC executive?

  1. Early career researcher insight – I received my PhD in November 2013, and through two post-doctoral positions in recent years have first-hand experience and insight of what is important and beneficial to developing researchers.
  2. Experience of public engagement – I have been a member of the University of Glasgow medical college public engagement team (one of only four members), including allocating funding. I have presented myself at Pint of Science, Café Scientifique/Glasgow Skeptics, and Bright Club
  3. Relevant research background – I have published as lead and senior author on genetic epidemiological studies applied to dementia, including polygenic risk scores, Mendelian randomization, brain imaging and cognitive decline across multiple cohorts e.g. Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, UK Biobank and Generation Scotland.

4.            Evidence of commitment to collaboration (including external) – I am the lead for the Applied Models and Digital Health working group (n=~100; e.g. wearables, electronic health records) for the Alzheimer’s Research UK DEMON network. I chair monthly meetings, am leading a large-scale review paper and have established two external collaborations as a result. As deputy lead for SINAPSE psychology, I arranged and led a brain imaging conference in 2018. Internally, I conceived and led a college-wide UK Biobank collaboration day in 2019.

Frank Gunn-Moore

University of St Andrews

I studied Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, and then a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. After performing postdoctoral research at the Universities of Bristol and Edinburgh, I started my own group in St Andrews, where we study the development and survival of mammalian neurons. My approach to achieve this has been one of combining all three science disciplines, publishing in biological, chemical and physics-based journals.

We have made major discoveries in understanding the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, pioneering new models and identified potential therapeutic targets. In addition, we have developed novel optical technology that allows the manipulation and imaging of cells.
At St Andrews, I am the Head of the School of Biology. Externally, I am Deputy Director of the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance and I have sat on many different funding agencies.

I have been delighted to see how the SDRC has been evolving and growing over the last few years. I have been involved in dementia research for >25 years. I have sat and I continue to sit on many national and international funding panels, primarily exploring the fundamental aspects of research, but I have long fought for research in this topic irrespective of the approach having formulated the Scottish Neurological Research Fund, and recently I have been asked to join the World Dementia Council research workshop.

Kerry Kilborn

University of Glasgow

I am an academic scientist with international experience in the field of dementia research, both basic and clinical-related, and have contributed to a range of industry, government and charity initiatives within the field.  My lab introduced dense array EEG research in dementia in the UK.  This work led to the establishment of a spinout company in 2000 that aimed to develop tools to aid in early detection and monitoring of Alzheimer’s disease.  My experience in the area of knowledge transfer, specifically with respect to translation of basic research in aging and dementia, lead to serving on the Translational Medicine Research Consortium steering committee, and I headed one TMRC project that focused on characterising brain responses to first exposure to donepezil in mild AD patients.  I founded and chaired the Alzheimer Association Electrophysiology Professional Interest Area (E-PIA), which sponsored numerous conference symposia and so far three expert panel publications on clinical and scientific applications of EEG to dementia, and ethnic and racial disparities in Alzheimer’s and related dementias.  I was a lead investigator on an NIH funded consortium to develop EEG and MEG ontologies and ontology-based tools.  I remain active in training postgraduate researchers and teaching across all levels.

Roger Staff

NHS Grampian

I have been interested in Dementia and ageing research for more than 25 years with the Aberdeen Birth Cohort and with Taurx Ltd (Taurx Ltd) and have been responsible for the design and analysis of the imaging arm of clinical trials.  In the past, I have worked with Bioclinica, INVICRO, Novartis, GE Healthcare, and Pfizer on drug and imaging development projects.  My day job is head of Imaging Physics at NHS Grampian and has established and evolved molecular dementia imaging as a clinical service and as a platform for dementia research.  I am interested in the work of the consortium and feel that my knowledge, background, and experience would be an asset to the SDRC.For more information see: Web: AND

Sophie Bradley

University of Glasgow 

I am a newly appointed senior lecturer based at the University of Glasgow. My group works within the Centre for Translational Pharmacology, and currently consists of 5 PhD students. Our research is focused on determining the impact of pharmacologically targeting members of the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily in neurodegenerative diseases. In 2021, I was awarded the Alzheimer’s Research UK David Hague Early Career Investigator of the year award for my work in this area.

I obtained my PhD in 2011 from the University of Leicester under the supervision of Prof. John Challiss, and subsequently spent 4 years at the MRC Toxicology Unit in Prof. Andrew Tobin’s group as a postdoctoral researcher. I relocated to Glasgow in 2016 to undertake a Lord Kelvin Adam Smith independent fellowship to establish my own laboratory. During this time, I have attracted significant external funding, developed collaborations with industry and received speaker invites to several international, cross-disciplinary conferences.

I am involved in several Early Career Researcher (ECR) initiatives within our institute, the Athena Swan Committee and have recently taken over as “Impact Champion”. Outside of the University of Glasgow, I am a member of the British Pharmacological Society and currently sit on their finance committee as an ECR representative. Furthermore, I have been involved in several outreach projects, including the “Cell Block Science” programme aimed at improving STEM learning in prisons.

I joined the SDRC in 2017, following my relocation to the University of Glasgow, and in 2020 I was co-opted to the SDRC executive committee. I have played a significant role in developing the ECR resource programme, including the mentorship scheme which launched in Summer 2020. I helped to develop the COVID-19 impact survey and recently organised a workshop for ECR members alongside other members of the SDRC executive committee. I am very passionate about supporting the career development of ECRs and would like to further develop the ECR network and initiatives that the SDRC currently offers.

Social and Population

Debbie Tolson

University of the West of Scotland

In 2013 Debbie was appointed as the Alzheimer Scotland Professor of Dementia and inaugural Director of the Alzheimer Scotland for Policy and Practice (ASCPP) at the University of the West of Scotland. Debbie is a registered nurse with an international reputation as a nurse leader and educator. She has been research active since completing her doctorate in 1995 at Glasgow Caledonian University. Secured over £6M in research project and infrastructure funding and published over 150 research papers.

As a founding member of SDRC she has championed a focus on early career researchers, and is particularly proud to have supervised, led or been involved in practice based research studies that are developing caring interventions and challenging approaches to advanced dementia care and family caring in Scotland, Europe and beyond.

SDRC embodies my collaborative ethos and quest for high quality research that is helpful to people with dementia, family carers and is transformative for practice, professionals and policy. Leading the Living with Dementia Theme has been and I hope will continue to be a privilege. Short term priorities will be to enable and give impetus to Living with Dementia and practice based research in the peri- and post-Covid era, and to do so collaboratively with people with dementia, family carers, Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nursing and AHP Consultants and researchers from all disciplines. Connecting research conservations and supporting all to realise their research ambitions underpins SDRC and if re-elected I will continue to champion this through my role on the executive and inclusive SDRC activities.