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Cardiff University researcher awarded a fellowship in the field of traumatic brain injury

26 July 2021

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The prestigious scheme provides predoctoral researchers the opportunity to foster competitive PhD research, moving towards a career as a clinical scientist.

Dr Ronak Ved explained: “As a neurosurgical registrar at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) I regularly witness the devastating effects traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have upon patients and their families.

“Thousands of patients suffer a head injury every year and it costs the NHS billions of pounds in resources. This inspired me to want to investigate how neurotrauma affects brain tissue and to try to identify ways in which we may be able to protect or repair brain cells in patients who’ve had a head injury.”

"There are few therapeutic agents which have been shown to protect brain cells after head injuries. This might partly be because most studies in this field have focussed on using animal models of TBI and only rarely reviewed how neurotrauma damages connections between brain cells (known as ‘white matter’).

“My project will focus on using human tissue samples kindly donated by patients of the neurosurgical department at UHW to assess how trauma influences the cells that make up the white matter of the human brain. We’ll also be able to use these human cell samples to search for drugs which might protect or repair human white matter in people who have had a head injury."

Ronak will be working under the supervision of Dr Malik Zaben and Professor Liam Gray, in the Brain Research and Intracranial Neurotherapeutics (BRAIN) unit of Cardiff University.

“The opportunity to work with human brain tissue is a rare privilege and I am very much looking forward to working on this exciting project.

“We hope to use it as a springboard for further work which would support our clinical practise as neurosurgeons in the future, to help improve outcomes for patients who have suffered a TBI.”

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