Our links with Newcastle University
Sharing specialist expertise
There are longstanding strong collaborations between neurosciences within the Trust and Newcastle University. Areas of research include mitochondrial disease, cognitive neuroscience, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, intracranial haemorrhage and movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease. Newcastle has an international reputation for research excellence in all of these areas.
Why we work together
The relationship is mutually beneficial, in that exposure to research offers trainees the opportunity to develop an in-depth interest in a sub-specialty area. This can often shape their career as a consultant and ultimately provides a better standard of care to patients. In turn, researchers may benefit from access to patients suitable for studies through the NHS, and evaluate new techniques or treatments in these patients. Medical students also benefit through an internationally renowned standard of teaching.
There has always been a close relationship between neuroscience colleagues in the University and Trust, who often have shared commitments between both as part of their job description. The proximity of the Medical School facilitates this interaction with the Neurosciences Centre.
How do our patients benefit?
At present, patients visiting neuroscience clinics in Newcastle are frequently approached about involvement in research. This often involves drug trials, but may relate to assessment of new techniques, or gaining more information about what causes a condition, or influences its progression. At all stages, the best interests and wishes of the patient are paramount, but feedback received indicates that involvement in clinical trials is both popular and rewarding for the participants. At the same time, the strong research base in Newcastle means that patients attending the neuroscience department often receive “state of the art” therapies.
Novel clinics (“CRESTAS”) in neuroscience form a cornerstone of the Biomedical Research Centre Building currently under construction at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality. This building, a physical embodiment of Newcastle Biomedicine, symbolises the wider close relationship between Trust and University. These clinics, aimed at providing a “one stop shop” for complex conditions (particularly, but not exclusively, in the elderly), will be leading edge and offer unparalleled opportunity for synergy between clinicians and researchers. The clinics may form the basis for recruitment to some studies and will also provide an opportunity for evaluating emerging treatments. They will also provide an excellent forum for teaching and training.
How do our staff benefit?
Interaction between clinicians and academics creates a foundation for the next generation of exciting developments and clinically relevant ideas. In neurosciences there is mutual respect for what each colleague can bring to the table. Neuroscience trainees in Newcastle have the opportunity to undertake research tailored to their interests and career aspirations. We cater for “high flying academics” as well as those just wanting a taste of research on their way to a primarily clinical post in a district general hospital.
The neurosciences academic teaching programme in Newcastle has recently been radically overhauled, with clinical meetings and lectures held on a Thursday afternoon attracting up to 100 people on a regular basis. The content is varied, clinically relevant and academically stimulating.