The Muscle Centre and PEALS
The Newcastle Muscle Centre is part of the Institute of Genetic Medicine, a 5* research organisation within Newcastle University. It is a centre of excellence for diagnosis, management and research into inherited neuromuscular diseases. The Muscle Centre is one of three centres in England for the diagnosis and management of inherited muscle diseases which are supported by the British Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. The Muscle Centre runs clinics in Newcastle and at various locations across the north of England.
Professors Kate Bushby and Volker Straub head the Centre and hold joint appointments between the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the NHS. Their time is split between research and clinical commitments, both of which are mainly focused on muscle disease.
The muscle team runs children's and adult clinics for over 1000 patients with a range of inherited neuromuscular diseases throughout the North of England. The main base for the children's clinic is Newcastle General Hospital, and for adults the International Centre for Life. Childrens’ clinics are also held at a range of other locations throughout the region, in conjunction with local physiotherapists and other local staff. We aim to ensure that all clinics are multidisciplinary and attended by members of the team, which includes our specialist physiotherapist Dr Michelle Eagle, specialist genetic nurses Louise Hastings and Chris Harling, physiotherapy technical instructor Michelle McCallum and a Regional Care Advisor funded through the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. We also have a programme of nurse-led clinics for myotonic dystrophy, with cardiological backup.
The clinic has collaborative links with colleagues in cardiology, respiratory support, orthopaedics, neuropathology and other specialties. We welcome visiting doctors and other staff for specialised training in neuromuscular disease diagnosis and management.
The Policy Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre (PEALS) is an internationally rated 'think tank' with a focus on identifying and examining social and ethical issues in Life Sciences research. We conduct pioneering research and facilitate dialogue between researchers and policymakers, scientists, health professionals, patient groups and industry. We aim to influence current and future agendas in the Life Sciences.
We run a lively and varied research programme that is both well established and highly regarded: locally, nationally and internationally. The Centre has a proven record in public engagement and involvement in regulatory and policy-making bodies.
Ongoing research in PEALS builds on our established areas of expertise in genetic and reproductive technologies and in disability studies, and on our growing areas of collaboration in ageing and nanotechnology. At the same time, we are responsive to new opportunities and are at the forefront of exploring emerging issues.
Volker Straub - Professor of Neuromuscular Genetics
Professor Volker Straub is joint co-ordinator of TREAT-NMD, executive board member of the World Muscle Society and executive board member of the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Newcastle University.
Together with Hanns Lochmüller, Volker was responsible for setting up the German muscular dystrophy network, MD-NET, of which he was joint coordinator until 2008. Within the neuromuscular research group at Newcastle, Volker has a long-standing interest in the pathogenesis of muscular dystrophies, with research using zebrafish and mouse models. His current research also involves the application of contrast enhanced MRI.
Kate Bushby - Professor of Neuromuscular Genetics
Professor Kate Bushby has overseen the expansion of the Newcastle Muscle Centre since 1999 to its position today as a leading international neuromuscular centre.
Together with Volker Straub, Katie is joint coordinator of the TREAT-NMD network. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the AFM. In the UK she is Deputy Director of the MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases at UCL and Newcastle and Clinical Director of the NCG diagnostic and advisory service for rare neuromuscular disorders (limb-girdle muscular dystrophies).
Cathy joined the BIO-NMD project in April 2010 as the communication and dissemination officer. She is also assisting with the communication and website content for the NMD-Chip project.
Cathy has a background in journal publishing with Elsevier Science and Emerald Insight and has been working as a science teacher for the past 5 years. She has a degree in biochemistry, a post-graduate teaching certificate and a Masters in Business Administration.
Rachel joined the TREAT-NMD network in February 2007 and is responsible for communications issues, including the website, printed publications and the fortnightly newsletter. She has a similar role with the NMD-Chip project.
Rachel has a background in chemistry and has an MChem degree and teaching qualification in chemistry. After working in Prague as a project manager for a translation company and latterly as a Czech to English medical translator, she returned to the UK to work in electronic communications and web support.
Pauline works as a Research Associate with the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences group at Newcastle University. She is looking at the social and ethical issues associated with the treatment and care of neuromuscular disorders. Pauline’s background is in education where she researched and worked with ‘disadvantaged’ learners. She is hoping to explore the patient voice and particularly how ideas about standards of care and quality of life differ between patients, clinicians and health professionals. She is also interested in how far government and EC policies on ethics serve the concerns of individual citizens.
Pauline is a member of the NMD-Chip Project Ethics Council.
Simon is a bioethicist at the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre (PEALS). He is a member of a number of research and clinical ethics committees and has an active international research profile in medical ethics and ethics related to developments in the life sciences. He has published widely in the field and provides professional development training to health professionals and members of ethics committees. Within the TREAT-NMD project Simon chairs the Project Ethics Council.
Simon is the external advisor to the NMD-Chip Project Ethics Council.