Professor Rob Brownstone, UCL Institute of Neurology

World-leading neuroscientist Professor Rob Brownstone took up his post as Brain Research UK Chair of Neurosurgery at UCL Institute of Neurology in 2016.

Brain Research UK helped to fund his laboratory which will be at the forefront of surgical research for conditions including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and numerous other neurological diseases which affect movement.

Professor Rob Brownstone - Neurosurgeon and researcher

Professor Brownstone comes with a wealth of experience and treats patients at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Upon arrival to the role, he set goals of:
1. To improve and enhance academic output – to help the division academically
2. Show by example that it is possible to be a clinician scientist neurosurgeon, who can accomplish things both in the hospital and laboratory setting
3. Help to develop academic neurosurgery by training new academic neurosurgeons.

His team is currently researching neural circuits and how the brain and spinal cord work together in order for people to move. He said, “Two things in particular that I work on are how we walk and how we control our walking, so that our muscles are activated in exactly the right order so that we can get from point A to point B. The second thing is how our hand function works - for example how can we perfectly pick up a paper cup or a ceramic mug so that we don’t squish the paper cup or drop the ceramic mug and let it fall and do it perfectly and we take our hand function for granted.”

Speaking of his ambitions, Professor Brownstone said, “Neurological conditions that affect movement and its because movement is affected that quality of life isn’t there and so these are quality of life issues that I’m investigating - how to walk and how to use your hands to give you better quality of life, whether you are impaired because of a stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, or any other numerous neurological condition, many of them will impact movement.”

Professor Brownstone is a member of Brain Research UK's Scientific Advisory Panel, helping to guide the distribution of our research funding.