Our Team

Our clinical research team specialises in epilepsy, MS, Parkinson’s and Dementia.  Please find out more about our experts below.  Their research will enable us to deliver clinical trials which will lead to better diagnosis and treatment for patients in Yorkshire and beyond.


Melissa MacGuire

Dr Melissa Maguire, Consultant Neurologist Epilepsy

Dr Melissa Maguire is the NIHR Epilepsy Research lead for Yorkshire and Humber and has also recently become an Editorial Board member for the Cochrane Epilepsy Group.

She trained in Neurology at the Walton Centre, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation trust and James Cook University Hospital, Middlesborough. She achieved a medical doctorate in epilepsy therapeutics at the University of Liverpool in 2010.

Dr Maguire was appointed to her Consultant post at Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust in 2011. Dr Maguire is part of the multi disciplinary Epilepsy Team at Leeds and is also involved in the adult Epilepsy Surgery programme. She is a member of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) expert panel for epilepsy.

She has an active research interest in Epilepsy therapeutics and collaborates on a number of national epilepsy clinical trials together with her Epilepsy Research Nurse. She is a reviewer for the Cochrane Epilepsy Group, Clinical Evidence online and has published numerous papers on therapeutics in epilepsy. Her current interest is in the association between music and epilepsy.

In her spare time, Melissa enjoys mountain trekking, pilates and music (particularly Mozart) and plays piano, double bass and bass guitar.


Helen Ford

Dr Helen Ford, Consultant Neurologist, MS

Helen Ford is a consultant neurologist with a special interest in multiple sclerosis. Helen leads a multidisciplinary MS team based at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. The team provide a local service for people with MS in Leeds and a tertiary MS Treatment Programme for West Yorkshire and parts of North Yorkshire. Helen is also the joint lead of the Leeds Headache Service. Helen is the West Yorkshire regional specialty lead for Nervous System Disorders for the UK Clinical Research Network. In September 2013 she was appointed as the Clinical Lead for the Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Clinical Network for acute and chronic neurological conditions. Helen was Clinical Director of Neurology in Leeds from 2006 to 2011.

Helen’s research interests are in the epidemiology of MS, the development of patient reported outcome measures in MS and health needs assessment. She has developed a neurology research team in Leeds with three neurology research nurses and two clinical trial assistants. Recently the team have been awarded funding by the MS Society for a project grant to explore the psychological determinants of job retention in MS.


Jane Alty

Dr Jane Alty Consultant Neurologist, Parkinsons

Dr Jane Alty qualified from Cambridge University Medical School and trained in neurology at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery London and St James’s University Hospital Leeds before commencing the Specialist Registrar neurology training scheme in West Yorkshire.

She has specialist interests in movement disorders, neuroimaging and dementia and has undertaken a Movement Disorders Fellowship in Melbourne, Australia. She has published papers on Parkinson’s disease, cognitive impairment and tremor, co-authored three books on ultrasound imaging and is writing an MD thesis evaluating how abnormal movements in Parkinson’s disease may be more accurately measured using modern technology.

She was appointed Consultant Neurologist at Leeds General Infirmary and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds in April 2013 and is currently collaborating with the University of York, University California San Francisco, and Monash Medical Centre Melbourne on a number of research studies.

Professor Peter Selby

Professor Peter Selby

Professor Peter Selby wrote the strategic business case to launch the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre Appeal.  Professor Selby has spent over 20 years leading oncology services at Leeds and has built tremendous research and clinical trials capabilities within the field of cancer.  Professor Selby is a welcome mentor to the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre.




Dr Mark Lewis

Mark Lewis was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield. He studied medicine at Newcastle University and trained as a neurologist in Yorkshire. During his neurology training he was awarded an NHS Clinical Research Fellowship and studied for his doctoral thesis in “The Neurology and Neuropsychology of Liver Disease” at Leeds University.

He was first appointed, as a consultant neurologist at the Neurosciences Centre at Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust in 2003, where he developed a regional neuro-otology clinic and went on to become the head of service in 2011. In 2016 he took up a new post at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and has been an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Leeds University since 2004.

His research interests are varied and include dizziness and balance disorders as well as continuing his doctoral work on the metabolic encephalopathies.

In addition to publishing a number of articles and book chapters in these areas, he has also been involved with innovative on-line resources such as the e-Brain project and Clinical Knowledge Summaries from NICE.

Dr Rumana Chowdhury

Dr Rumana Chowdhury is the latest Neurologist to support the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre.

Rumana graduated from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne with a First Class BMedSci and MBBS. She trained in general medicine in Newcastle upon Tyne (MRCP 2006) and in neurology in London at King’s College Hospital, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (MRCP Neurology 2010). Her PhD thesis, funded by a Wellcome Trust fellowship, investigated cognition in healthy older age using structural and functional MRI and pharmacotherapy. For this she was awarded the national British Neuroscience Association award (2013) and produced several publications (Journal of Neuroscience, 2012 and Nature Neuroscience, 2013).

She was appointed as a Consultant Neurologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust in 2016 where she runs general neurology clinics and is developing a cognitive neurology service. Her on-going research interests involve using neuroimaging to investigate cognitive processing and brain networks in older age and dementia.

Dr Oliver Lily

Graduated with an honours in medicine from Leeds University and also completed a first-class degree in pharmacology, including studying the effects of medications on the brain. Trained as a junior doctor at St James Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary before researching the causes of multiple sclerosis at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University.

Currently Lead Clinician in the Neurology Department at Leeds and sees MS patients both in Leeds and Harrogate. Over the years has been an investigator in many of the pivotal trials of MS therapy such as Interferons, Tysabri and Teriflunamide. Research interests continue to be Clinical Trials in MS as well as Neuro-immunology and Neuro-opthalmology.