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Biography

I studied medicine at the University of Oxford, qualifying in 2006. I completed a PhD in 2003 with Professor Miles Whittington and Professor Eberhard Buhl at the University of Leeds, studying the physiological mechanisms underlying gamma, beta and theta neuronal network oscillation in rodent hippocampus. I completed house jobs in the Oxfordshire area and have worked as a neurosurgeon (SHO and Registrar) since 2008. I took up the academic clinical lecturer position in March 2014 with Professor Tipu Aziz, Mr Alex Green and Mr James FitzGerald.

Martin Gillies

MA BM BCh PhD MRCS


Academic Clinical Lecturer in Neurosurgery

My research focuses on studying the neural signals associated with cognition (thinking) in the deep brain, that is areas under the surface of the brain that are targets for deep brain stimulation surgery. Understanding how structures deep in the brain are involved in cognitive tasks is important to help us understand how the brain achieves complex thinking tasks and also to help us understand how these processes might go wrong.

My work has focused so far on the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the globus pallidus interna (GPi). The ACC is a key node in the salience network – a network of brain regions that is thought to be important in monitoring for conflict, error detection, learning, appreciation of pain and perhaps conscious experience. However, the precise function of the ACC is in doubt owing to conflicting results in animals and humans. Our method, were we record electrical activity from awake patients performing tasks on computer, allow us to probe the electrophysiology of this important brain region aiding our understanding as to how this region functions. A similar approach is taken with the GPi, the output nucleus of the structures known as the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is important in movement, but is also involved in reward-based learning. I am studying the output of this area in relation to tasks involving learning. 

I also work with the HIFU group. We are studying the effect of high intensity ultrasound on the patients with sacral chordoma – a rare type of cancer that is difficult to treat with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Funding

My post is funded by the NIHR, and I have received a grant from the Academy of Medical Sciences of £29,500.

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Recent Publications

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