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Brain Research UK Chair of Neurosurgery

Project details

Professor Rob Brownstone
UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
Research area
Brain and spinal cord injury
Motor neurone disease
Funding type
Core funding
Awarded in
August 2015

Professor Rob Brownstone moved to London from his native Canada in 2015 to take up the post of Brain Research UK Chair of Neurosurgery at UCL Institute of Neurology.

This new post was created in partnership between the Institute of Neurology and Brain Research UK to develop and promote neurosurgical research at UCL.


As a functional neurosurgeon, Professor Brownstone aims to improve quality of life by reducing the symptoms of brain disorders. He treats patients with, for example, disorders affecting movement or leading to intractable pain syndromes.

In his lab, he is focused on developing new strategies to improve movement in neurological disease or following injury. He wants to understand how the brain and spinal cord work together to ensure that the intended movement accomplishes the task at hand - i.e. how intention successfully translates into action.

Two aspects in particular that I study are how we walk, and how our hand function works. How are our muscles activated at exactly the right time and in exactly the right order so that we can get from point A to point B? 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? These are functions that we take for granted until we lose control of them.


As movement is affected in so many neurological conditions, Professor Brownstone's research has the potential for widespread impact.

Whether your movement is impaired because of a stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease, dystonia, or one of numerous other neurological conditions, improving movement will give you a better quality of life.

- Professor Rob Brownstone, Brain Research UK Chair of Neurosurgery, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

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