Neurology trainee Dr Smriti Agarwal, awarded an Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) Ellison-Cliffe Travelling Fellowship in December 2016, has recently moved to Sydney, Australia for a post-doctoral position. She will be working with Professor Matthew Kiernan and Professor John Hodges, who run a world class collaborative research programme in neurodegenerative disorders at the Sydney Brain and Mind Research Institute.
Dr Agarwal has a background in stroke neurology having undertaken her MD at Cambridge University in brain imaging in stroke and healthy ageing.
She says: “There are significant overlaps in brain networks lost in degenerative disorders and those involved in recovery of a focal injury such as stroke. Studying patients with motor neuron disease and the related condition, frontotemporal dementia, provides the ideal opportunity to understand some of these common mechanisms.’
In particular, Dr Agarwal will focus on studying cognitive abilities of the frontal lobe of the brain, in association with changes in structure and electrical activity. At the end of the fellowship she is planning to return to the UK to complete her clinical training and pursue a career combining clinical neurology with research.
She says: “I am keen to understand mechanisms of clinical and tissue recovery in the brain, with a view to developing and applying physiologically-informed rehabilitative and restorative interventions. The Ellison-Cliffe Travelling Fellowship will help me work towards my goals and I am grateful to both the RSM and to Dr Carice Ellison for her generosity in funding the award.”