Coordinated approach to integrate neurodegenerative diseases data from all real world clinical and research sources across Scotland
Dr Mario Parra Rodriguez
Mario is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and member of the Scottish Dementia Research Consortium Executive Committee.
Mario graduated as a Medical Doctor in 1993 and as a Clinical Neurophysiologist in 1997. He worked at the Cuban Neuroscience Centre and at different University Hospitals in Cuba and in Colombia. During his clinical work he focused on neuropsychological and neurophysiological aspects of dementia syndromes and other neurological disorders and taught neuroscience related subjects in the field of medicine and psychology.
Mario's motivation for teaching and research led me to a major career change into academia. This started with his PhD in 2005 at the University of Edinburgh and continued with three Postdoctoral Fellowships and a position as a Clinical Studies Officer within the NHS Scotland. Mario was as an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh from 2015 until 2018 before joining the University of Strathclyde.
Dr Amir Dehservi
Amir is a researcher developing automatic methods for detecting (brain imaging, speech, etc.) biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, by considering the novel application of Evolutionary Algorithms.
In his position as a Research Fellow at teh University of Aberdeen Biomedical Imaging Centre, Amir is working with a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and scientists who are focused upon unravelling the mechanisms of chronic fatigue, a salient issue across the chronic disease spectrum. Specifically, he is looking into the analysis and understanding of a multi-modal MRI/fMRI brain study, using machine learning techniques (including Evolutionary Algorithms), in order to characterise the mediators of fatigue in patients with rheumatoid arthritis among other diseases.
Dr Norman Alm
Norman is an Honorary Research Fellow in Computing at Dundee University. His most recent research areas are computer-based communication support for people with dementia and their carers and computer-based games usable by people with dementia.
Norman was part of a multidisciplinary group that developed CIRCA, a system for supported reminiscence conversations for people with dementia. The same group also developed the Living in the Moment (LIM) games, which were playable without the need for working memory. CIRCA and LIM were taken to the market through a spin-out company.
The BBC RemArc (Reminiscence Archive) system was inspired by CIRCA.
Currently Norman is advising on a project to explore the use of ambient everyday sounds to stimulate reminiscence conversations in people with dementia.
Archie joined Generation Scotland as Data Analyst / Programmer in 2007, after 15 years in commercial software development. He subsequently became Data Manager, then overall Project Manager. Archie is now Generation Scotland Chief Technology Officer
Dr Sammy Danso
Sammy is a Research Fellow in applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science at the University of Edinburgh Dementia Prevention. Prior to joining the Dementia Prevention group, Sammy held a number of post-doctoral research positions within the University of Edinburgh and Newcastle University focusing on application of AI to a variety of problems. He also worked for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Sammy holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Leeds. He also has a background in Software Engineering and has extensive experience developing systems to facilitate large-scale epidemiological and clinical studies.
His research interest is in the area of application of AI and Big Data technologies to Brain Health research with particular focus on dementia and healthy aging. This involves developing novel machine learning approaches that utilise low-cost multi-modal data obtained from a variety of sources, including natural language to detect brain health issues and the modifiable risk factors responsible in order to improve the utility of AI technologies globally.
Dr Katherine Walesby
Katherine is a clinical research fellow at the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre, University of Edinburgh and Specialist Registrar in Geriatric and General Medicine. Her PhD is investigating geographical variation of dementia using big data in Scotland and New Zealand.
Within research, she is particularly interested in the use of routinely collected electronic health data and big data sets at a local and national level for dementia ascertainment and improving healthcare delivery for those living with dementia.
During her PhD, she received an MRC PhD Studentship travel grant to visit New Zealand. Whilst there she formed collaborations with researchers to investigate dementia and geographical variation within their routinely collected national big data system (Integrated Data Infrastructure, IDI, System). In 2020, they published their work investigating New Zealand’s dementia prevalence using nationally collected secondary care health big data from New Zealand.
Within Scotland, she is currently investigating dementia ascertainment and geographical variation in the Scottish Mental Survey 1947 (SMS1947) which has been Chi-linked to healthcare data.
In the future, she hopes to work clinically at providing holistic dementia care in medicine, and academically use her skills to analyse routinely collected healthcare data to improve healthcare delivery for dementia care.