The Newcastle Muscle Centre
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, Volker Straub and Hanns Lochmüller 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. Paediatric 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.
European and other international projects
As a centre of excellence for neuromuscular research, the Newcastle muscle centre is involved in a number of international projects. Click the links below to access the project websites.
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.
Website Institute of Genetic Medicine
Prof. Kate Bushby MD FRCP is a Professor of Neuromuscular Genetics. She is a clinical academic with joint appointments between Newcastle University and the NHS. The Muscle Team within the Institute of Genetic Medicine is a partner in the MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases, of which Prof Bushby is Deputy Director.
Professor Volker Straub was founding joint co-ordinator of TREAT-NMD, and is an executive board member of the World Muscle Society and R&D Director of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
Professor Hanns Lochmüller trained as a neurologist in Munich (Germany) and Montreal (Canada). He was appointed chair of experimental myology in the neuromuscular research group at the Institute of Genetic Medicine of Newcastle University in 2007. He was the first elected Chair of the TREAT-NMD Alliance Executive Committee.
Dr. Annemieke Aartsma-Rus is associate professor at the Department of Human Genetics and leader of the DMD genetic therapy group. She is currently Chair of the executive committee of the TREAT-NMD alliance and is a member of the Project Ethics Council and TACT Committee.
Dr Rita Barresi is the head of the Muscle Immunoanalysis Unit and the National Co-ordinator of the NCG "Diagnostic & Advisory Service for Rare Neuromuscular Diseases", which involves a consortium of centres in five different Trusts across England.
Patrick works with the Mitochondrial Research Group at Newcastle University & his research focus is mitochondria and human disease.
Michelle has worked in neuromuscular disorders for nearly 20 years. Clinically, she is responsible for the physiotherapy management of both children and adults with all types of neuromuscular disease. In particular her interests are in respiratory management, assessment, exercise and orthotics. Michelle has consulted on various research trials and is increasingly involved in the development of protocols for clinical research.
Michael joined the TREAT-NMD team in March 2009 and is responsible for maintaining and developing the TREAT-NMD website.
Emma trained as a biological anthropologist at Durham University and was awarded an MSc (Research) in 2005. She has been part of the muscle team at Newcastle University since October 2006 and joined the FP6-funded TREAT-NMD neuromuscular network of excellence in January 2007 as assistant project manager.
Within TREAT-NMD Emma was responsible for leading the work relating to shared activities and tools and enhancing international collaborations and represented the coordination office on the Project Ethics Council. From 2009 to 2013 she coordinated the TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee for Therapeutics (TACT) and from 2011 was the nominated first point of contact for industry enquiries to the network.
Emma has been involved in RD-Connect since November 2012 and officially took up the position of Project Manager in January 2013. Within RD-Connect she is responsible for leading the strategic development and delivery of the project to ensure the deliverables and objectives are achieved. Emma is a member of the Project Ethics Council (PEC).
Dr Kieren Hollingsworth is a research associate in magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy based at the Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre.
Call +44 191 248 1150
Rita is a Senior Lecturer with the Mitochondrial Research Group at the Institute of Genetic Medicine in Newcastle. After graduating from the Semmelweis Medical University, Dr Horvath completed her clinical training in neurology in Budapest, Hungary. She started clinical research in mitochondrial disease in 1995 when she received a fellowship from the Soros Foundation to work in Professor Eric Shoubridge’s laboratory in Montreal, which was the basis of her PhD in 2000.
Louise obtained her PhD from Imperial College, London in 2009 and went on to work in medical communications as a senior scientific account executive. Following a move to Newcastle, she trained and became a registered Clinical Scientist in Genetics for the National Health Service. Louise has been involved in TREAT-NMD since April 2013 and will play a role in coordinating the TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee for Therapeutics (TACT). She is also involved in RD-Connect and will play a role in maximizing the outputs of the project to its position and impact in the developing applications of omics to rare diseases.
Call +44 191 241 8614 (office) or 8833 (lab)
Dr Stephen Lynn is Project Manager of the TREAT-NMD network and is responsible for ensuring that the network meets the targets agreed with the European Commission and that it endures beyond its 5-year EU funding.
Pauline McCormack works as a Research Associate with the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences group at Newcastle University. Pauline is looking at the social and ethical issues associated with the treatment and care of neuromuscular disorders.
Within TREAT-NMD Agata is responsible for leading the work around TREAT-NMD communications and global registries. Her role is also to provide support to the TREAT-NMD Alliance and its committees.
In 2013 she took over responsibility for the UK SMA Patient Registry.
Karen is responsible for the management of the international patient registry for people affected by conditions caused by mutations in the FKRP gene, namely LGMD2I and the congenital form MDC1C.
Sunil Rodger is the Communications Officer for CARE-NMD, a European project which aims to improve care standards for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Rachel joined the TREAT-NMD network in February 2007 and was responsible for communications issues for the network. Between 2012 and 2013 she was responsible for the UK SMA patient registry and SMA clinical research communication, in a joint initiative between TREAT-NMD and the Jennifer Trust for SMA. In 2013 she formally moved to RD-Connect project.
Call +44 (0)191 241 8640
Doug has a long-standing research interest in patients with mitochondrial disease, particularly those who have muscle involvement (mitochondrial myopathies).
Dr Simon Woods 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.
The Newcastle Muscle Centre has a team of researchers working on many aspects of muscle disease. Our research has grown from a practical need to provide molecular diagnoses in various diseases to studying those diseases in the most appropriate model systems using the most up-to-date techniques.
Newcastle leads the National Commissioning Group (NCG) for rare neuromuscular disorders, and is specifically responsible for the LGMD diagnostic and advisory service for the whole of the country.