Meet the researchers

Cassy Ashman

How and why did you get into MND research?

Neuroscience has always been a subject of huge fascination for me, mainly as I have a younger brother who is severely Autistic and my father was diagnosed with Schizophrenia when I was at secondary school; so the brain and how it works I could say is an innate interest of mine from a very young age.

After reading Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield, I soon began to realise that many neurological disorders were centred on the idea of cell survival. When I saw this PhD project working at SITraN to help promote the cell survival of neurons in MND I was instantly attracted to apply.

Dr Janine Kirby

My name is Janine Kirby. My undergraduate degree was in Genetics at the University of Sheffield and I then studied for my PhD at the MRC Human Biochemical Genetics Unit, University College London.

My first post-doc job was with the MND Research Group at the University of Newcastle, and I subsequently moved back to the University of Sheffield in 2001. I am now a Non-Clinical Senior Lecturer in Neurogenetics at SITraN.

Find out more about Dr Janine Kirby.

Dr Johnathan Cooper-Knock

My name is Johnathan Cooper-Knock. I qualified as a medical doctor in 2006 at the University of Oxford. I came to Sheffield in 2008 to do a hospital job which also included time in MND research.

I am now in full time research in order to obtain my PhD. I aim to be a scientist and a doctor – to act as a bridge between the clinic and the lab because I firmly believe that, particularly in the struggle against MND, both are essential.

Find out more about Dr Johnathan Cooper-Knock.

Dr Esther Hobson

My name is Esther Hobson. I studied medicine at Cambridge University and qualified as a doctor at Oxford University in 2006.

I am currently a National Institute for Health Research Academic Clinical Fellow. This has allowed me some time to concentrate on research during my training in neurology and I have been lucky enough to work at SITraN.

Find out more about Dr Esther Hobson.

Dr Emily Goodall

Emily is a researcher within the Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) and active member of SMND RAG. Her father died of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 1998 which has motivated her to pursue a research career in this field.

Emily has been working with Professor Pamela Shaw in the Sheffield research team for five years and is currently funded by the MND Association to develop a blood test to help speed up the diagnosis of MND.