Who we are

The Rapsodi study is being led by Professor Anthony Schapira and his team in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University College London. They work closely with Professor Atul Mehta and Dr Derralynn Hughes and their team in the Department of Haematology at the Royal Free Hospital, Professor Tim Cox and his team at Addenbrookes Hospital and other leading haematology and metabolic medicine teams around the UK.

The study is supported by the Medical Research Council, the European Union, the Javon Charitable Trust, the Leonard Wolfson Centre for Experimental Neurology along with the Gauchers Association and Parkinson’s UK.

Together with our supporters we work closely to ensure the study is participant friendly and easy to use. With their help all the information regarding the study and its progress is disseminated on a regular basis to participants and interested parties.

For more information on the work being done by the Gauchers Association or Parkinson's UK please refer to www.gaucher.org.uk and www.parkinsons.org.uk. The study team can be contacted by emailing: rapsodi@ucl.ac.uk

Principal Investigator

Prof. Tony Schapira

Professor of Neuroscience and Head of the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University College London Institute of Neurology. Professor Schapira’s research interests include the molecular and clinical aspects of neurodegenerative diseases, with special emphasis on Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. He leads an internationally renowned laboratory focused on the understanding and developing treatments for Parkinson’s caused by the GBA gene. Prof. Schapira is also a consultant neurologist at the Royal Free Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Study Team

Dr. Stephen Mullin

Clinical lecturer at University College London and The University of Plymouth. His principle research interest is the development and delivery of drugs to prevent the progression of Parkinson’s caused by the GBA mutation. Dr. Mullin runs the study together with Dr. Toffoli.

Dr. Marco Toffoli

Clinical Research Fellow at University College London Institute of Neurology and a neurology registrar at the Royal Free Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. He is a member of Professor Schapira’s laboratory. Together with Dr Mullin he is responsible for the day to day running of the study.

Soraya Rahall

Research Assistant at University College London Institute of Neurology. Soraya is a Psychology graduate from Durham University and is primarily responsible for participant recruitment and communications for RAPSODI. She is very interested in research surrounding the psychosocial impacts of receiving a neurodegenerative disease diagnosis and hopes that by involving as many patients and their families in the study as possible that we will be able to work towards new and innovative treatments for both Parkinson's and Gaucher Disease. 

Dr. Alastair Noyce

Clinical Research Fellow at University College London Institute of Neurology and a neurology registrar at the Royal London Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Dr. Noyce is in charge of PREDICT PD, our sister project looking for early symptoms of Parkinson’s in the general population. He is also an advisor to the Life Lab project. Together with Andy Cartwright, he has developed the keyboard tap test, which is used in the Rapsodi study and which measures the accuracy and speed of movement in hands and arms.

Prof. Atul Mehta (Royal Free site, London)

Professor of Haematology at University College London and Clinical Director of the Lysosomal Storage Disorders Unit at the Royal Free Hospital. His research interests center on the development and testing of drug therapies for Gaucher disease. He has been heavily involved in the design of the Rapsodi project and is responsible for identification of participants at the Royal Free site.

Prof. Tim Cox (Addenbrookes site, Cambridge)

Professor of Medicine at the University of Cambridge and a Consultant haematologist at Addenbrookes Hospital. He is principal investigator of the Cambridge site. He runs a world leading laboratory focused upon understanding and developing treatment for Gaucher disease and other lysosomal storage diseases. He is also Principal investigator of the Gaucherite study.

Dr. Derralynn Hughes (Royal Free site, London)

Consultant haematologist at the Royal Free Lysosomal Storage Disorders Unit and Senior lecturer in haematology at University College London. Dr Hughes has advised on genetic counselling for the study and as part of the research team has been key in the study design.

Jonathan Bestwick

Jonathan is the project statistician and a lecturer in medical statistics at the Wolfson Institute of preventative medicine, Queen Mary, University of London. He has a particular interest in medical screening and has been heavily involved in the PREDICT PD project.

Dr. Aimee Donald (Addenbrookes site, Cambridge)

Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge and Manchester Children’s Hospital. She is a paediatric neurologist by training and is involved in the identification of participants for the Rapsodi study. She is also a co-investigator for the Gaucherite study, a project aiming to gather as much information about Gaucher disease to better inform treatment. Aimee has a particular interest in type 3 disease and also why some people develop Parkinson’s and others don’t.

Sarah Cable

Clinical research nurse for the project. As well as a nursing background she has a degree in psychology and a research interest in the delivery of genetic counseling in those with inherited Parkinson’s disease. She also has a background in encouraging patient involvement and engagement in science in Parkinson’s research.

Helen Brooker

Helen Brooker is the Head of R&D at Wesnes Cognition and managed the implementation of CogTrack (the online cognitive test platform) for use within the Rapsodi portal. She has a research interest in the remote assessment of cognition and works extensively with collaborators in designing online research portals.

Alex Howard

Alex Howard is the software developer for the study and director of AAH software. He designed the internet platform for the Rapsodi portal and is responsible for its ongoing development. He has an interest in streamlining processes in healthcare and healthcare research through the use of internet based tools.

Vincent Harding

Digital Design Manager at UCL Health Creatives. The Health Creatives team designed the Rapsodi.org.uk and GBA-PD.com websites.

Study Collaborators

Prof. Keith Wesnes

Prof Keith Wesnes is the Director of Wesnes Cognition, visiting Professor of Psychology at Northumbria University and Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University Melbourne. Keith has specialized in measuring human cognitive function in clinical trials. He created the CogTrack battery which forms the basis of the memory tasks used in the Rapsodi portal and in particular focuses on aspects of attention and memory in movement disorders and Parkinson’s.

Prof. Anette Schrag

Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at University College London Institute of Neurology and Consultant neurologist at the Royal Free Hospital. Professor Schrag is an internationally renowned researcher in identifying early symptoms of Parkinson’s and leads a research group focused on understanding the clinical features of early and late stage Parkinson’s disease. She is also a co investigator for the PREDICT PD project.

Prof. Huw Morris

Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at University College London Institute of Neurology and Consultant neurologist at the Royal Free Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Professor Morris runs a laboratory focused on understanding the genetics of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. He is also a principal investigator on the PROBAND Tracking Parkinson’s study and the Parkinson’s Families Project studies and works with Dr Rimona Weil on visual cognition in Parkinson’s

Prof. Henrik Zetterberg

Prof. Zetterberg is Professor of neurochemistry at University College London Institute of Neurology and the University of Gothenberg. He heads a world leading laboratory focused on the identification of chemicals in the blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid which are present in those with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Using information from the Rapsodi study he will aim to develop tests to allow us to diagnose the very earliest features of Parkinson’s in GBA carriers.

Dr. Rimona Weil

Senior lecturer in neurology at University College London Institute of Neurology. Rimona has a research interest in the visual problems which occur in early Parkinson’s disease. She provides advice and expertise on the memory changes in Parkinson’s caused by the GBA gene.

Dr. Elaine Murphy (National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery site, London)

Dr Murphy is a Consultant in metabolic medicine at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. The Rapsodi study is working with Dr Murphy to identify people at the Charles Dent Metabolic Unit, Queens Square, London who may be interested in participating.

Dr. Robin Lachmann (National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery site, London)

Dr. Lachmann is a Consultant in metabolic medicine at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Along with Dr Murphy he is helping to identify people who may be interested in participating in the study

Dr Anupam Chakrapani – (Great Ormond Street site, London)

Dr Chakrapani is a Consultant in metabolic medicine at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He is working with the study to identify potential family participants in the study.

Dr Tarekegn Gerberhiwot (Queen Elizabeth Hospital site, Birmingham)

Dr. Geberhiwot is a Consultant and Director of the Inherited Metabolic Disorders Service at New Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. He and his team are working with the Rapsodi study to identify people who may be interested in participating in the study.

Dr. Reena Sharma (Salford Royal Infirmary site, Salford)

Dr Sharma is Consultant in metabolic medicine at Salford Royal Infirmary, she and her team are working with the Rapsodi study to identify people at The Mark Holland Metabolic Unit, who may be interested in participating in the study.

Dr Simon Jones – (Manchester Children’s Hospital site, Manchester)

Dr Jones is a Consultant in metabolic medicine at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. He is working with the study to identify potential family participants in the study.