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Health & Social Care Research Across North East & North Cumbria.

Dementias and Neurodegeneration (DeNDRoN)

Meet the Team

The Dementias and Neurodegeneration specialty covers four neurodegenerative diseases - dementia, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and motor neurone disease, each with a sub-specialty lead. We work across our region to help support the delivery of our research. 

Steve Pratt

Research delivery manager

CRN North East and North Cumbria

Dr Bob Barber

DeNDRoN specialty group lead

Cumbria Northumberland and Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Andrew Byrne

Dementia research lead

Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Alison Yarnall

Parkinson's disease research lead

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University

Dr Suresh Komati

Huntington's disease research lead

Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Tim Williams

Motor neurone disease research lead

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Steve Pratt's research experience

I am the research delivery manager for children and young people's research, which includes schools, reproductive health and childbirth, genetics, mental health and dementias and neurodegenerative disease specialties for CRN NENC. Since joining the NIHR CRN in 2008 I have worked in a number of operational and strategic leadership roles supporting the delivery of health and care research.

Prior to joining the NIHR I worked as a postdoctoral academic researcher at Durham University and The University of Sheffield within the field of biomedical sciences. I am passionate about enabling the development, delivery and implementation of research that impacts positively on health and care outcomes, through partnership working. Tips to get involved in research include contacting your research and development and CRN specialty team and speak to colleagues who are already involved in research about their experiences.

Connect with Steve Pratt

Email Steve

Dr Bob Barber's research experience

I am specialty group lead for DeNDRoN. My own research has focused on the role of neuroimaging in understanding dementias as well an investigator on a number of commercial and non-commercial clinical trials. I am an honorary clinical senior lecturer with Newcastle University.

Connect with Dr Bob Barber

Email Bob

Dr Andrew Byrne's research experience

I work as a consultant old age psychiatrist and I am the Local Clinical Research Network Dementia Research Lead as well as a member of several research groups, such as the North East and North Cumbria DeNDRoN Speciality Group. My main research interest is dementia treatment. I am Principal Investigator for several NHS dementia research studies, facilitating patient and carer involvement in research.

Connect with Dr Andrew Byrne

Email Andrew

Dr Alison Yarnall's research experience

I completed my PhD in 2013 at Newcastle University, which entailed looking at biomarkers of cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease. I am now Professor of Geriatric Medicine; Deputy Director of the Clinical Ageing Research Unit (CARU); and Honorary Consultant in Older People’s Medicine at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

I have a particular interest in mobility, cognition, gait and falls in people with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases and have published more than 100 articles in this topic area.  I run a specialist clinic for older adults with Parkinson’s and complex health needs in NuTH, in addition to a general medical memory clinic.

Connect with Dr Alison Yarnall

Email Alison

Dr Suresh Komati's research experience

I am a consultant in a regional, tertiary care specialist neuropsychiatry service based at Walkergate Park Hospital in Newcastle and am the clinical lead for specialist Huntington’s disease service in the North East of England. I am a principal investigator for Huntington's disease NIHR portfolio studies and work closely with the colleagues within the NIHR.

My other roles include; Huntington’s disease specialty lead for the North East and North Cumbria Clinical Research Network (CRN) and I form part of the national portfolio management group for Huntington’s disease. I also am the regional specialty representative (RSR) for neuropsychiatry in the North East of England and an executive committee member in neuropsychiatry faculty at Royal College of Psychiatrists


Connect with Dr Suresh Komati

Email Suresh

Dr Tim Williams's research experience

I am a consultant neurologist at the Royal Victoria Infirmary's Neurosciences Centre where I specialise in motor neurone disorders.

How to get involved

Get in touch

Please contact Dr Bob Barber, specialty lead for DeNDRoN with any questions relating to this specialty.

Join Dementia Research

Promote the Join Dementia Research (JDR) register with colleagues and patients - this is a great way for people to find out what research is taking place and how to get involved - there are already over 50,000 volunteers. You can find out more about JDR here

Refer to our registry

We also run a local registry and are currently accepting referrals for studies. Once a study is available, we will get in touch to see if you are interested. You can refer people via [email protected] 

Meet and shadow

Meet and shadow the clinical trials team - this can be a great way to see what the team do especially if you're thinking about a career in research. Contact Bob Barber for more information.


Explore our national specialty page here

For Parkinson's disease specialists

If you are interested in Parkinson's disease research, sign up to the Clinical Research Network specialty meetings, such as the Parkinson's disease specialty meeting. These meetings take place on a bi-annual basis. Contact Alison Yarnall for more information.

Brain and Movement Research Group

Explore and join the brain and movement research group, this research group aims to deliver innovations in the assessment and treatment of mobility issues across diverse health conditions using the latest technology and digital health resources. 

Biomedical Research Centre involvement

Explore research into dementias and neurodegenerative diseases taking place in the Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre

Spotlight topics

"Make sure you reach out and get the support you need"

Spotlight on supporting NMAHPs

"Make sure you reach out and get the support you need"

Annette is our lead for supporting NMAHPs in DeNDRoN - so do contact her if you would like any advice. Also Annette features in the podcast in Getting Started - so take a listen to hear more!

Becoming a rater for research studies

Spotlight on the new Rater Programme

Becoming a rater for research studies

Sarah Edwards is our regional Practice Lead Facilitator for the recently launched NIHR Rater Programme. This programme aims to help staff develop the experience and training to become a rater. Sarah is a nurse in CNTW with lots of experience as rater and she will help guide you though this programme. She can be contacted via [email protected]

What's happening in DeNDRoN research?


There are many different types of studies across the dementia portfolio including clinical trials. 
We also have some leading dementia researchers based in the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.
Researchers here have a major role to play in the delivering the latest dementia research. The work has led to impacts on:
  1. early, accurate diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies, particularly in prodromal stages
  2. understanding of the Lewy body disease course and potential modifiers
  3. understanding of the pathophysiology of key Lewy body disease related symptoms
  4. novel biomarkers for tracking Lewy body disease in terms of prognosis, predicting dementia conversion and response to treatment
  5. trialling of dementia with Lewy bodies specific interventions
  6. the role of frailty, sarcopenia and delirium in Lewy body disease.

We also run many of our clinical trials in dementia via the Clinical Ageing Research Unit in Newcastle.

Motor Neurone Disease

Motor neurone disease, a rare neurodegenerative condition, impacts the brain and nervous system. Although motor neurone disease is ultimately a fatal disease, thanks to research and innovation, many patients with motor neurone disease continue to live with their condition for many years, maintaining a quality of life. Research has allowed new drugs to be trialled, as well as new diagnostic and monitoring techniques for those in the early stages of the disease.

Dr Timothy Williams (consultant neurologist and regional motor neurone disease care centre director) is the regional medical lead and principal investigator for motor neurone disease research. If you are interested in working with Tim to support research, please get in touch, the regional motor neurone disease research centre is based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Huntington's disease

Huntington’s disease, a hereditary condition, is a disease that damages nerve cells in the brain, impacting on a patient’s movement, cognition and mental health. Huntington’s disease cannot be cured, however, there are studies that endeavour to establish the underlying genetic cause of the disease, as well as treatments that manage the symptoms to allow those living with Huntington’s to enjoy a quality of life. 

Dr Suresh Komati leads research activity as a principal investigator into Huntington’s disease across the North East and North Cumbria, working in collaboration with the Clinical Research Network.

Helpful resources