I am delighted and honoured to take on the role of Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) Chair, at what is a hugely exciting time for Epilepsy Research UK. I arrive in this post after a three-year appointment to the SAC, where I was continually amazed by the enthusiasm and dedication of this group of highly committed scientists and clinicians.
One aspect that sets ERUK apart from similar charities is the rigour, guidance and oversight that this group of expert individuals provide. I can therefore say with confidence that the money that ERUK spends on both research grants and people is targeted to the highest quality science, which aims to deliver maximum impact for people living with epilepsy.
I’m a basic (although fundamental sounds better!) neuroscientist by trade, specialising in how brain cells talk to each other when things are going well and also when things are not (such as in epilepsy). I’ve had a long relationship with ERUK, and it was an initial grant from the charity that provided the springboard for a large part of my laboratory’s research output for the next 15 years. This highlights a key aspect of the SAC’s approach in selecting proposals, which is to develop and leverage additional funding to build capacity in epilepsy research.
My appointment also coincides with the arrival of our new Director of Research & Innovation – Dr James Pickett, who will help shape and drive the future research strategy of the charity. Since both James and I had a similar PhD training in vesicle biology, we should hopefully be on the same page! The appointment of James, in combination with the leadership of both Maxine Smeaton and the Trustees, makes this a great time to take on this role.
I know the value ERUK places in the guidance provided by the SAC, and I am relishing the prospect of helping to nurture and develop our research portfolio.
In summary, I’m looking forward to working with everyone that makes ERUK such as important contributor to epilepsy research over the next few years to help advance the understanding and treatment of this condition.
– Professor Mike Cousin