About us Meet the team Scientific Advisory Board Scientific Advisory Board The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is a committee which advises the Board of Trustees on Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research's (SMSR) research strategy; and reviews grant award applications and makes recommendations to Trustees about which applications to take forward. Final funding decisions on grant applications are made by Trustees. The SAB meets regularly and is currently chaired by Dr Joost van Middendorp, Medical Research Liaison Europe at Argenx and former Research Director, SMSR. SMSR is a proud member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and follows its best practice standards for peer review, ensuring that decisions on research funding are made in a fair and transparent way. Members of the SAB Dr Joost van Middendorp, Medical Research Liaison Europe at Argenx, Belgium Chair of the SAB Dr Joost van Middendorp currently works as a Medical Research Liaison for argenx, a Belgium-based biotech company. Back in 2007, Dr van Middendorp graduated in Medicine from Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He was then offered a position as a PhD-student in clinical spinal trauma research at the Radboud University Medical Centre Nijmegen, the Netherlands. After three years of work, Dr van Middendorp received his PhD degree, cum laude, for his thesis on the prognosis and classification of spinal column and spinal cord injuries. Afterwards he worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology and the department of Traumatology at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane in Australia. During this time, he completed his Masters in Clinical Epidemiology, which was awarded with high distinction. In March 2012, Dr van Middendorp became the first research director of Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research. He was a senior research fellow of the Harris Manchester College at the University of Oxford, UK. In 2015, Dr van Middendorp started working in the biopharmaceutical sector where he led Medical Affairs activities for Pfizer, Sobi and currently argenx. In his early career, Dr van Middendorp published a number of studies in renowned journals, including The Lancet, and has been awarded over £1m worth of research grants from both national and international competitive funding bodies. Professor Sue Barnett, Professor of Cellular Neuroscience, University of Glasgow, UK Professor Barnett gained her PhD at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, was visiting Fogarty Fellow at NIH, in Bethesda, USA, obtained a Wellcome Trust University Award, and was an MS Society Senior Research Fellow. Her post-doctoral training position was at the Ludwig Institute in London, where she gained her experience in neuroscience and glial cell biology as well as regenerative medicine and cell transplantation as a strategy for CNS repair. She also, identified a method to purify and grow olfactory ensheathing cells and was a co-author on one of the first papers to transplant oligodendrocyte progenitor cells into a rat model of CNS injury (Nature 362:453-5). She is Post Graduate Convenor of the Institute, member of the scientific committee for International Spinal Research Trust, Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research and sits on the MRS studentship panel and reviews for a wide range of grant funders and Journals. She is on the editorial board for Glia. She has maintained her research group by external funding since 1990. Research Interests Professor Sue Barnett leads a Glial Cell Biology Group at the University of Glasgow. Her research interests focus on identifying strategies for CNS repair, particularly on cell transplantation and human and rodent stem cell biology. She is an expert on the culture of primary rodent/murine neural cells and establishing complex cultures to study aspects of neural development, spinal cord injury and remyelination. She is also interested on heparin sulphate proteologycans as a target to promote CNS repair. She currently has an interest in how zika virus affects the growth and differentiation of both CNS and PNS neural cells. John Clegg (Patient Representative) John’s contribution to the panel lies with his first hand experience of spinal cord injury (Cervical C6/7 complete lesion and manual wheelchair user) and his strong belief that there can be great fulfilment after injury by adapting and embracing new challenge. As with many SCI he had an accident while pursuing an active lifestyle (climbing aged 21) but takes positives from the experience of two quite distinct lifestyles. The early years provided him with balance, perspective and the value of physical challenge, while post-accident the realisation that he could still work full time as a director of a small business while simultaneously embarking on a quite unexpected journey of learning and scientific research. This began with a 1st class degree in mathematical physics courtesy of the Open University while maintaining a good social life where he met his loving and supportive wife. He then gained a PhD from UMIST in theoretical physics in relation to a prototype fusion device followed by some academic research modelling the Solar Corona using satellite data. His subsequent career was as a Senior Research Scientist and theory and modelling specialist working for a large company in the domain of naval non-acoustic platform signatures and ocean physics. These studies were multidisciplinary and involved state-of-the-art solutions. Following his retirement at 60 he began a new journey of learning, currently neuroscience and biological sciences, but has also increased his outdoor and physical activities. John believes that the best path through SCI is to adapt, as his journey has perhaps shown, but a little help from progressive research is always welcome to broaden possibilities and to reduce constraints. He is only too aware of the particular problems that may face SCI: usually metabolic control, the scope to improve or maintain motor or sensory function, syringomelia, pressure ulcers and neuropathic pain. It is here that SMSR is aiming to make a difference through their support for promising new avenues of research. John is then delighted to be invited onto the SAB and the opportunity to highlight proposals that are particularly enabling for the SCI community. Furthermore, given his background in science he also looks forwards to learning directly from the panel of experts. Christa Dyson, (Patient Representative) Senior Vice Chair and Trustee, Spinal Injuries Association, UK Christa has 26 years lived experience as an incomplete tetraplegic following a spinal stroke whilst then living in The Netherlands. She is an unsteady walker but has no hand function. She has a background as a Biologist and industry research experience. For the past seven years she has been a trustee for the Spinal Injuries Association, most recently as Vice Chair. She mentors for the Back Up Trust. She has had close links with Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research having been a patient representative for the research priority setting partnership work undertaken with the James Lind Alliance. She has a keen interest in promoting research as may improve the quality of life of those living with a spinal cord injury and is delighted to be invited as a patient representative for the Scientific Advisory Board. Mr Pradeep Thumbikat, Consultant in Spinal Injuries, Princess Royal Spinal Cord Injuries Centre, Sheffield, UK Pradeep is a Consultant in Spinal Injuries at The Princess Royal Spinal Injuries Centre in Sheffield. Following an initial period of training in Orthopaedics, he moved into the filed of spinal cord injury rehabilitation, undertaking specialist training in Sheffield. He started as a Consultant in 2006. He has been involved with several portfolio studies. Areas of special interest include tetraplegic upper limb, pressure ulcer management and paediatric spinal cord injury. Dr Giorgio Scivoletto, Coordinator Spinal Cord Unit, Foundation Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy Giorgio Scivoletto (Neurologist, Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, PhD in Advanced Technology in Rehabilitation Medicine) is the Coordinator of the Spinal Cord Unit within the Neurorehabilitation Clinical Unit A and the Head of the Spinal Rehabilitation (SpiRe) Lab within the same unit. He authored more than 100 papers published on indexed journals (H index=33), several book chapters and contributions to conferences. He serves as reviewer for several indexed journals and is member of the Editorial Board of Spinal Cord. He has been involved in several national and international research projects. His research is focused on the study of the outcomes of spinal cord injury patients and of the evaluation scales for these patients. He is the Chair of the Scientific Committee of the International Spinal Cord Society and the Vice-President of the Italian Spinal Cord Society (SIMS).