Prestigious funding success for three Rowling Fellows

David Breen, Liz Elliot, Rickie Patani

Feb 2019: Congratulations to three Rowling Fellows: David Breen, Liz Elliott and Rickie Patani (left to right in photo), who have all obtained prestigious fellowship funding to enable them to continue and expand their research.

One of the missions of the Anne Rowling Clinic is to train the next generation of clinical academic researchers. Through our Rowling Fellows scheme, ambitious doctors who have a strong interest in research into neurodegenerative conditions can step away from clinical practice for a few years, to experience planning, conducting and reporting clinical research studies.

Personal fellowships

When new Rowling Fellows join the Anne Rowling Clinic, they are encouraged to apply for funding to external bodies such as the Scottish Government, the UK Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust. If an applicant is judged to be of an outstanding calibre, these bodies can award a "personal fellowship". A fellowship is a mark of confidence in both the individual and the proposed research, which is judged by a panel of experts to be likely to lead to interesting new findings.

We are delighted to report that three of our Rowling Fellows, two current and one former, have recently been awarded personal fellowships. Many congratulations indeed to all.

Dr David Breen

Awarded Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship to investigate the influence of sleep disruption on brain health. 

“Following my return from Canada in July 2018, the Rowling Fellowship has enabled me to secure independent funding to develop my own research plans. Alongside this, I will continue to lead the development of the Parkinson’s research infrastructure within the Clinic, which will give every patient the opportunity to participate in research (including drug trials).

I am hugely grateful to J.K. Rowling and the Clinic, particularly Professor Chandran, for their confidence and investment in me and other early career researchers."

Dr Liz Elliott

Awarded a Clinical Research Fellowship jointly funded by MND Scotland and the Chief Scientist Office (Scottish Government) to investigate variability among people with motor neurone disease.

"As an aspiring clinical neurologist early in my career the Rowling Fellowship has provided a unique opportunity to accelerate the development of my clinical academic skills. Working amongst a world leading specialist team over the last year has allowed me to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to progress to the next stage of my academic career. 

Through working at the Rowling Clinic and assisting in trials and studies I have been privileged to meet many patients from across Scotland. These experiences have inspired my PhD concept for which I have been awarded funding and am now due to start.

I am very grateful for the learning opportunities afforded to me through the Rowling clinical fellowship, which now form the foundation of my future research career.”

Dr Rickie Patani

Awarded Medical Research Council Senior Clinical Fellowship to investigate what goes wrong in the cells of people with motor neurone disease.

Dr Patani, who was one of the first Rowling Fellows, is currently a Consultant Neurologist and Group Leader at University College London and The Francis Crick Institute. In his research he investigates what causes the neurodegeneration in cells that leads to motor neurone disease.

“I have had the privilege and honour of being a Rowling Fellow over the last 7 years. I’m immensely grateful to Siddharthan Chandran for his confidence in my research vision and, of course, to the generous and visionary donation from Dr J.K. Rowling. This pioneering scheme enabled me first to secure a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship in 2013 to start my independent laboratory, and later this MRC Senior Fellowship. It is difficult to express the depth of my gratitude for the continued support of the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, which has had significant impact in enabling my group to tackle some fundamental issues in neurodegeneration research.”


Dr Rickie Patani photo credit: The Francis Crick Institute

Related links

Dr David Breen's profile

Dr Liz Elliot's profile

Rowling Fellows scheme

This article was published on: Monday, February 04, 2019