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Dr Cilla Haywood

Dr Cilla Haywood, one of the Geriatricians working for Northern Health, is doing a PhD along with Professor Joseph Proietto and Assoc Professor Kwang Lim, who are her supervisors. The team have been successful in obtaining an NHMRC project grant of $594,599.17. Dr Haywood’s project is an intervention study addressing older patients with obesity titled “Obesity in the Elderly: impact of weight loss therapy on physiology and function.” This is a randomised controlled trial of 200 patients over 65 years of age comparing exercise alone, exercise in combination with a very low energy diet and a very low energy diet on its own.

Dr Doug Crompton

Dr Doug Crompton is a full time Neurologist at Northern Health. Prof Chris Semsarian and Dr Richard Bagnall (both University of Sydney) have, together with Dr Crompton, been awarded $600,000 by the NH and MRC for their research project Neuro-Cardiac Genetic Basis of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP).

Doug started his career as a basic scientist, working on genes involved in establishing the nervous system of the fruit fly. After completing his undergraduate degree (University of Cambridge, UK) and his PhD (University of Glasgow) he moved to the Newcastle upon Tyne to study medicine. He completed general medical training in hospitals in and around Newcastle, then embarked on Specialty training in Neurology. This began in Neuroscience centres in North-East England (2002-2006) followed by a Clinical Fellowship in Epilepsy at Austin Health, Melbourne with Professors Sam Berkovic and Ingrid Scheffer (2006-2009). Doug then returned to the UK as Senior Clinical Lecturer in Neurogenetics at Newcastle University and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough (2009-2012) before coming back to Melbourne as full time Neurologist at Northern Health earlier this year. Doug’s clinical practice is in all areas of Neurology, but his research focus is in the genetics of epilepsies, and he continues to work closely with Professors Berkovic and Scheffer at the University of Melbourne, Austin Health, who are world leaders in this field.

SUDEP project outline:
Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the most common epilepsy-related cause of death and accounts for up to 18% of all deaths in people with epilepsy. SUDEP is characterised by a sudden, unexpected, non-traumatic and non-drowning death in a person with epilepsy, where the post-mortem does not reveal a cause of death. This devastating disorder can affect otherwise well young people and the mechanisms are poorly understood, though recent research by Professor Semsarian and his team has shown that mutations in genes which encode cardiac ion channel proteins play a role. In this project we will attempt to better understand the clinical basis of SUDEP by studying families of people who have suffered SUDEP, using a combination of structured interviews, examinations and simple cardiac tests to identify and characterise both epilepsies and cardiac disorders. In addition we will sequence all coding genes (“whole exomes”) in people who have died of SUDEP and in selected family members. We will then use a variety of genetic data analysis strategies to identify gene mutations predisposing to SUDEP. Identification of causative genes should give vital insights into how and why SUDEP happens, potentially enabling preventative strategies to be devised in the