About Us

We are researchers at Newcastle University’s Institute of Neuroscience.  

We are interested in therapies which can help children with hemiplegia to improve their hand function.

Dr Anna Basu

NIHR Career Development Fellow and Honorary Consultant Paediatric Neurologist 

Biography

Dr Anna Basu studied preclinical medicine at Cambridge, including a research year with Professor Roger Lemon and Research Occupational Therapist Ailie Turton using transcranial magnetic stimulation to investigate the corticospinal tract in adults following stroke. She trained in clinical medicine at Oxford and then in paediatric neurology in Newcastle upon Tyne. She completed a PhD in neuroscience with Professor Eyre in 2007, looking at assessment of cortical plasticity following early brain lesions – this led to papers in Annals of Neurology and the Journal of Neuroscience. She recently completed an NIHR Clinical Trials Fellowship and has been awarded an NIHR Career Development Fellowship around early intervention in perinatal stroke. Her research focusses on assessing and intervening to improve upper limb function in children with, or at risk of, hemiplegic cerebral palsy.  She works at Newcastle University and also as a consultant paediatric neurologist at the Great North Children’s Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne.


Janice Pearse

Senior Research Occupational Therapist 

Biography

Janice Pearse is a senior paediatric occupational therapist with many years of experience in the management of the upper limb in children with cerebral palsy. In 2013 she completed an MPhil based on a trial investigating the effects on upper limb function of botulinum toxin and play-based therapy compared to placebo injections and play based therapy in children with hemiplegia. She has subsequently worked as an investigator on a number of other research studies focussed on improving upper limb function in children with, or at risk of, hemiplegic cerebral palsy. She currently works part-time at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne where her role includes the Regional Upper Limb Neurodisability Service, and part-time as a researcher on the Early Therapy in Perinatal Stroke study (eTIPS).


Emma Kirkpatrick

Research Trial Manager 

Biography

Emma Kirkpatrick completed a PhD in paediatric neuroscience under the supervision of Anna Basu in 2014. This looked at the mirror neuron system and its relationship to upper limb function in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy - asking, through a randomised controlled trial, whether watching and copying movements led to greater improvements in hand and arm function than repeated practice alone. The results of the trial were published in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. As part of this work, she developed tailored instructions for a range of games which focused on practising particular movements that are challenging for children with hemiplegia. The aim was to help children reach their therapeutic goals whilst also having fun!  Having completed this work, she went on to work as a research fellow at the National Institute for Health Research Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre. She is now a trial manager at Southampton Clinical Trials Unit.