Sheffield Institute for
Translational Neuroscience

Dr Simon Bell BSc(Hons), MB ChB, MRCP, PG Dip.

4Ward North Clinical Fellow


Research Interests

My research focuses on analysing the metabolism of astrocytes and other cell types in Alzheimer’s disease using an induced Neuronal Progenitor Cell model system (supervisors, Prof Dame Pamela Shaw, Dr Heather Mortiboys, Dr Laura Ferraiuolo, Dr Daniel Blackburn and Professor Stephen Wharton). I wish to understand how metabolic abnormalities in astrocytes, specifically those seen in mitochondria, effect neuronal support and might contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Current Projects

  • Developing a induced Neuronal Progenitor Cell (iNPCs) model of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Characterising astrocyte metabolic deficits in sporadic and familial AD to identify new therapeutic targets.
  • Identifying correlations between clinical biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease and metabolic abnormalities seen in different cell types taken from patients with the condition.
  • Sub-Investigator MIROCALS clinical trial.

Publications

Bell SM, Barnes K, Clemmens H, Al-Rafiah AR, Ebtisam AA, Leech V, Bandmann O, Shaw, PJ, Blackburn DJ Ferraiuolo L, and Mortiboys H. Mitochondrial abnormalities found in fibroblasts from sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease patients recover with Ursodeoxycholic acid treatment 2018. Journal of Molecular Biology, 430, 3942-3953.

Dennis M, Mead G, Forbes J, Graham C, Hackett M, Hankey GJ, et al. Effects of fluoxetine on functional outcomes after acute stroke (FOCUS): a pragmatic, double-blind, randomised, controlled trial. The Lancet. 2018

Blackburn DJ, Zhao Y, De Marco M, Bell SM, He F, Hua-Liang W, Lawrence S, Unwin Z, Blythe M, Angel J, Baster K, Farrow TF, Wilkinson ID, Billings SA, Venneri A, Sarrigiannis PG. A Pilot Study Investigating a Novel Non-Linear Measure of Eyes Open versus Eyes Closed EEG Synchronization in People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Controls. Brain Sciences 2018. 8(7), 134.

Hosty J, Kaas-illyya L, Bell SM, and Paling. Safe monitoring of natalizumab therapy in multiple sclerosis. British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, 14, 160-164.

Bell SM, Sokhi D, Hughes T, and Randal M. Treatment of the unknown patient; insights from acute stroke. Practical Neurology 2017. [July 25th 2017, Published ahead of print].

Bailey C, Bell SM, and Blackburn DJ. How the United Kingdom describes functional memory symptoms. Psychogeriatrics.  [ February 1st 2017published ahead of print]

Bell SM, Maniam, R, Patel A, Harkness K and Blackburn DJ. Patients who are not driving 6 weeks after Transient Ischemic Attack have higher levels of anxiety. Psychogeriatrics. 17:146;2017.

Bell SM, Cooper J, Doubal F, Hart S and Harkness K. A career in Stroke Medicine. Student British Medical Journal. 24: 90-91;2017.

Bell SM, Sharrack B, and Snowden J. Autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation in multiple sclerosis. Expert Opinion On Biological Therapies. 17:77-86;2017.

Bell SM, Patel P, and Grunewald RA. Hospital presentations: Blackouts and collapse (eLearning Module for CMT doctors). British Medical Journal.2017. http://learning.bmj.com/learning/module-intro/cmt-blackouts-collapse.html?moduleId=10060327&locale=en_GB

Bell SM, Blackburn DJ, Ghosh R, and Harkness K. Case Based Discussion: the Confused Patient. Foundation Years Journal. 10:27-30;2016.

Poon M, Bell SM, and Al-Shahi Salman R. Epidemiology of Intracerebral Haemorrhage. New Insights in Intracerebral Haemorrhage. Frontiers Neurology and Neuroscience. Basel, Karger, 37:1-12;2016.

Al-Shahi Salman R, and Bell SM: The contemporary conundrum of antithrombotic drugs after intracerebral haemorrhage. Advances in Clinical Neurosciences and Rehabilitation. 3:6-9;2015.

Bell SM, Dickson J, Harkness KA, Blackburn DJ: A diagnosis for £55: what is the cost of government initiatives in dementia case finding Letter to the Editor. Age Ageing 4:344-345;2015.

Coates, R Bell SM, Coley S, and Blackburn DJ. Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy: a clinical feature and radiological sign. Practical Neurology. Practical Neurology. 15:124-126;2015.

Bell SM, Cosgrove J, Davies M, Warren D, Hill A, Hillmen P, Kelly RJ and Dunn E. Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis caused by Paroxysmal Nocturnal Haemoglobinuria: A rare cause not to be missed. Advances in Clinical Neurosciences and Rehabilitation. 14:24-25;2014.

Bell SM, Thomson S Retroperitoneal fibrosis causing spinal claudication British Journal of Neurosurgery 26:564-565;2012.

Blackburn DJ and Bell SM, Alzheimer Association International Conference report. 2016. Advances in Clinical Neurosciences and Rehabilitation.16:27-27:2017.

Selected Publications

Bell SM, Barnes K, Clemmens H, Al-Rafiah AR, Ebtisam AA, Leech V, Bandmann O, Shaw, PJ, Blackburn DJ Ferraiuolo L, and Mortiboys H. Mitochondrial abnormalities found in fibroblasts from sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease patients recover with Ursodeoxycholic acid treatment 2018. Journal of Molecular Biology, 430, 3942-3953.

Blackburn DJ, Zhao Y, De Marco M, Bell SM, He F, Hua-Liang W, Lawrence S, Unwin Z, Blythe M, Angel J, Baster K, Farrow TF, Wilkinson ID, Billings SA, Venneri A, Sarrigiannis PG. A Pilot Study Investigating a Novel Non-Linear Measure of Eyes Open versus Eyes Closed EEG Synchronization in People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Controls. Brain Sciences 2018. 8(7), 134.

Professional Activities

  • Member of the Royal College of Physicians (London)
  • Member of the Association of British Neurologists
  • Member of the Alzheimer Research UK Yorkshire Network
  • Student rep for year 2 intake 4ward North Clinical Academy
  • Member of the South Yorkshire Interest Group in Dementia.
  • Member of Special Interest Group in Cognitive Disorders – Association of British Neurologists

Biography

My interest in Neurosciences and Alzheimer’s disease started whilst performing my undergraduate medical studies at Bristol University. Here I intercalated in Neuroscience under the supervision of Dr Shelly Allen-Burt, Dr David Dawbarn, and Professor Seth Love. For my BSc I characterised the Bondi Body, a pathological aggregate found within the Choroid Plexus, which is seen in increased numbers in Alzheimer’s disease.

After qualifying in Medicine I did junior doctor jobs in Gloucester, Bristol, Leeds and Brisbane Australia. I gained clinical experience in Neurology, Neurosurgery and Stroke Medicine and research experience at the University of Leeds where I performed a post-graduate diploma in Health Research.  On completion of my junior doctor jobs and after passing my Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP), I took up a Neurology Speciality Training post in Sheffield and continued my research into Alzheimer’s disease, with an Alzheimer Research UK (ARUK) preparatory Clinical Fellowship, and NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship.

Currently, supported by a Wellcome 4ward Noth Clinical Fellowship I am pursuing a PhD in analysing the metabolism of astrocytes and other cell types in Alzheimer’s disease using an induced Neuronal Progenitor Cell model system (supervisors Prof Dame Pamela Shaw, Dr Heather Mortiboys, Dr Laura Ferraiuolo, Dr Daniel Blackburn and Professor Stephen Wharton). I wish to understand how metabolic abnormalities, specifically those seen in mitochondria, effect neuronal support and might contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Awards

Grants Awarded

  • Alzheimer Research UK Small Project Grant £4,000 (Awarded January 2019)
  • Sheffield BRC NIHR Consumables Grand £10,000 (Awarded December 2018)
  • Wellcome 4ward North PhD Clinical Fellowship £172,602 (Awarded August 2018) PI
  • Alzheimer Research UK Small Project Grant £2250.00 (Awarded May 2017)
  • Alzheimer Research UK Preparatory Clinical Fellowship £69,997.78 (Awarded September 2016). PI
  • Travel Bursary Sheffield University £250.00 (Awarded July 2016)
  • Sheffield Neurology Department PG Development Grant £2000.00 (Awarded September 2014). PI

Awards and Prizes

  • Oral presentation prize PPE event Awarded best oral presentation by a group of scientists and people with AD June 2018
  • 2nd Prize for Poster Presentation UDCA as a treatment for AD Received at the Yorkshire Clinical Academic Presentation Day July 2018.
  • Highly Commended Poster prize at the National Foundation Doctors Presentation Day, Bristol. An audit I supervised was presented as a poster and won a commendation. June 2016.
  • The Dean’s Prize for Music, Art and Drama. Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bristol, UK 2008

Teaching Interests

I am the module lead for the Neurodegeneration module which forms part of the MSc in Clinical Neurology. I teach MSc students on the Masters courses in Clinical Neurology and Translational Neuroscience. I teach medical students of all levels and teach junior doctors neurological examination and PACES examination technique. I Supervise MSc Research Projects on both the clinical neurology and translational neurosciences courses.

Contact Details

Department of Neuroscience
SITraN
University of Sheffield
Room B32
385a Glossop Road
Sheffield
S10 2HQ

T: +44 (0) 114 2222273
E: s.m.bell@shef.ac.uk