Dr Patrick Kearns

Dr Patrick Kearns

Rowling Scholar
Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh

Dr Patrick Kearns is researching the causes and distribution of multiple sclerosis (MS), and in particular plans to use geographical data and laboratory-based techniques to look for clues as to the environmental cause(s) of the disease. He is particularly interested in investigating whether infection with Epstein-Barr virus (the virus that causes glandular fever), or other early-life viral infections, might help explain why people later go on to develop MS.

The overall aim of his research is to understand why certain areas in Scotland have one of the highest rates of MS in the world. This might provide ideas for strategies to treat and prevent MS and other neurodegenerative conditions.

Patrick studied medicine and an intercalated degree in physiology at the University of Edinburgh, before completing his medical training in Glasgow. Thereafter he studied for a master’s degree in public health at Harvard University as a Frank Knox Fellow, and was briefly a visiting scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.