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Prof Matthew Walker
825
Queen Square House
Queen Square
London
WC1N 3BG
Tel: 020 344 84302
Fax: 020 7278 5616
Appointment
  • Professor of Neurology
  • Clinical & Experimental Epilepsy
  • Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Biography

I studied medicine at Cambridge University and London (St. Thomas' Medical School), and trained in Neurology at St Thomas', Guy's and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. I was awarded a PhD for a thesis on the treatment of status epilepticus.
I am associate editor of Epilepsia and Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders.
I am a council member of the International League against Epilepsy (UK chapter), a member of the ILAE commission on the neurobiology of epilepsy and Chair of the Joint Epilepsy Council of UK and Ireland. I am also a trustee of Epilepsy Research UK.

Research Summary

My laboratory combines in vivo and in vitro neurophysiology in order to address questions concerning the regulation of cortical excitability, mechanisms underlying epileptogenesis (the development of epilepsy) and the treatment and pathology of prolonged seizures (status epilepticus). The aims of the laboratory are to improve the treatment of epilepsy and to identify new strategies for epilepsy treatment. Approximately 30% of people with epilepsy are not adequately controlled by medication and these people have a significant mortality and psychosocial morbidity. Most people with drug resistant epilepsy have acquired focal epilepsy, which can result following a specific brain injury, such as a stroke, brain tumour, head injury or status epilepticus. Status epilepticus is a medical emergency with high morbidity and mortality. It is associated with neuronal damage leading to neurological deficits, and chronic epilepsy. 30-40% of patients are resistant to treatment and require anaesthesia in an intensive care unit. We are investigating the treatment of drug-resistant status epilepticus in animal models, and also the mechanisms underlying the resultant neuronal damage. We are also addressing the question of how cortical excitability is regulated in the healthy brain and how this breaks down during the development of epilepsy. We are using models of status epilepticus after which spontaneous recurrent seizures develop. We have designed a novel EEG monitoring unit, using wireless telemetry in collaboration with Opensource instruments to monitor continuously EEG activity. Using these animals and animals following head injury (in collaboration with Asla Pitkanen, Kuopio, Finland), we are particularly interested in changes in GABAergic inhibition. Using in vitro methods such as whole cell patch clamp and dynamic clamp, we have shed light on a particular form of GABAergic inhibition in which extracellular GABA acts on extrasynaptic GABA(A) receptors, mediating a tonic form of inhibition. In collaboration with Professor Semyanov at the Riken Institute, Japan, we have now determined how this tonic inhibition affects neuronal excitability and the temporal fidelity of neuronal transmission, and how it is altered during the development of epilepsy. Lastly, we are studying novel approaches to the treatment of epilepsy including novel drug development ( in collaboration with Dr Robin Williams, Royal Holloway), focal drug application, use of viral vectors and repetitive electrical stimulation.

Teaching Summary

  • Regular teaching to medical students, junior doctors, neuroscience BSc and neuroscience MSc students.
  • PhD supervision
  • Programme convener and chair of the MSc in clinical neurosciences at UCL Institute of Neurology.
  • Co-organiser of short courses on sleep and epilepsy at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. 













Academic Background
2006 FRCP Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians – Clinical Medicine Royal College of Physicians
1997 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Clinical Medicine University College London
1992 MRCP Member of the Royal College of Physicians – Clinical Medicine Royal College of Physicians
1989 MB BChir Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery – Medicine/Surgery United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St.. Thomas's Hospitals
1986 BA Bachelor of Arts – Physiology University of Cambridge
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