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Neurology Research Groups

Wood Group

Research Aims & Objectives

Neurological disease biology and therapeutics

Our major focus is the study of rare, inherited, childhood neurological and neuromuscular diseases and development of therapeutics. We aim to:

  • Understand neurological/neuromuscular disease biology and identify novel therapeutic targets
  • Develop existing and novel gene-based, nucleic acid therapeutic platforms, 
  • Evaluate these platforms in disease models and in parallel develop advanced delivery technologies for targeting relevant tissues and cells e.g. skeletal muscle, heart and nervous system. 
  • Advance the science underlying these diseases, develop innovative precision medicines and to pioneer their translation to the benefit of patients.

Details of research interests

Our focus is the study of rare, inherited, childhood and neonatal neurological and neuromuscular diseases e.g. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) to understand disease biology and identify and validate therapeutic targets.

Focussing on these diseases, we have developed existing and novel gene-based RNA and nucleic acid therapeutic platforms for evaluation in mouse and higher species animal models and for clinical translation. For example we have focussed extensively on development of novel oligonucleotide and RNA editing therapies for neuromuscular disorders including DMD and DM1. These childhood, rare result in progressive muscle-wasting, neuromuscular degeneration and life-span reduction. We have pioneered development of novel oligonucleotide drugs designed to modulate RNA splicing by exon skipping or exon inclusion in target tissues of skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle and throughout the brain and spinal cord, many of which are now in clinical translation. 

We have also focussed on improving therapeutic efficacy and targeted cell delivery for neurological and neuromuscular diseases, and in parallel have discovered and advanced a range of delivery technologies including peptide, antibody and exosome-based extracellular vesicle nanotechnologies. 

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are heterogeneous nanovesicles and fundamental mediators of intercellular communication in health and disease. We are currently focussed on studying fundamental EV biology relevant to the neuromuscular system and EV-based therapeutics.  We are developing bioengineered EVs for drug delivery for delivery of biotherapeutics such as therapeutic RNA and proteins for neuromuscular diseases including DMD.

Peptide-based technologies are developed for the targeted delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics. We have a major focus on peptide discovery, peptide chemistry and peptide-based conjugation to a range of nucleic acid drugs, principally charge-neutral phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligonucleotides (PMOs), which we develop as steric block splice-switching therapeutic agents to combat a variety of rare neurological and neuromuscular diseases. 

Group Leader

Matthew Wood

Group Members

Post-doctoral researchers:

  • Dr. Corinne Betts
  • Dr. Mariana Conceicao
  • Dr. Mitra Forouhan
  • Dr. Hans Friedrichsen 
  • Dr. Antonio Garcia Guerra 
  • Dr. Yahya Jad 
  • Dr. Yulia Lomonosova
  • Dr. Graham McClorey 
  • Dr. Jacopo Oieni
  • Dr. Richard Raz
  • Dr. David Seoane-Miraz
  • Dr. Miguel Varela-Muino 
  • Dr. Lauren Watson
  • Dr. Catheryn Lim

PhD students:

  • Scott Bonner
  • Katarzyna Chwalenia
  • Larissa Goli
  • Britt Hanson
  • Ashwin Jainarayanan
  • Ania Kordala
  • Carla Martin
  • Hanifi Muhammad
  • Oana Pelea
  • Nenad Svrzikap

Research Assistants:

  • Nina Ahlskog
  • Ruth Ellerington
  • Mathieu Fischer
  • Jess Stoodley 
  • Besarte Vrellaku
  • Ambra Special

Support staff:

  • Chantelle Alderson (Operations Manager)
  • Amarjit Bhomra (Laboratory Manager)
  • Louise Gillane (Personal Assistant)

Collaborators

Collaborators - Oxford:

  • Prof. Andrew Turberfield - Department of Physics
  • Dr. Michael J. Booth - Department of Chemistry
  • Prof. Tom Brown - Department of Chemistry
  • Prof. Clive Wilson - Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG)
  • Prof. Michael Dustin - The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology
  • Prof. Kevin Talbot - Nuffield Dept of Clinical Neurosciences
  • Prof. Andrea Nemeth - Nuffield Dept of Clinical Neurosciences

Collaborators - External:

  • Dr. Raquel Manzano - Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
  • Dr. Fabienne Burlina - Sorbonne, UPMC
  • Prof. Glenn Burley - University of Strathclyde, UK
  • Dr. Julie Dumonceaux - University College London, UK
  • Dr. Kenneth Fischbeck - National Institutes of Health, USA
  • Prof. Linda Greensmith - University College London, UK
  • Dr. Maaike van Putten - LUMC, Netherland
  • Dr. Annemieke Aartsma-Rus - LUMC, Netherland
  • Associate Prof. Maria Pennuto - University of Padua (Italy)
  • Dr. Mikko Turunen - UEF, Finland
  • Dr. Tarja Malm - UEF, Finland
  • Associate Prof. Minna Kaikkonen - UEF, Finland
  • Prof. Nicole Meisner-Kober - University of Salzburg, Austria
  • Pascual Torres Cabestany - Univesidad de Lleida, Spain
  • Prof. Manuel Portero Otin - Univesidad de Lleida, Spain
  • Dr. Pieter Vader - University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Prof. Pietro Fratta - University College London, UK
  • Prof. Denis Furling - Sorbonne University, France
  • Prof. Ruben Artero - Universidad de Valencia, Spain
  • Prof. Sarah Tabrizi - University College London, UK
  • Prof. Yoshi Aoki - National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan
  • Prof. Richard Morimoto - Northwestern University (USA)
  • Associate Prof.  Samir EL Andaloussi - Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Funders

  • AFM Telethon 
  • BBSRC
  • European Commission
  • Funds for Cures
  • John Fell Fund
  • Kennedy's Disease Association
  • La Caixa
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • Muscular Dystrophy UK
  • Medical Life Science Translational Fund
  • Medical and Physical Life Sciences
  • Medical Research Council 
  • UKRI Covid
  • Wellcome Trust

Public Engagement

We are involved in public engagement through television radio and Newspaper articles, as well as podcasts.  We have been involved in IF-Oxford Science outreach programme for the last few years, where we engage with children through organised activities.   We also have our webpage https://thewoodlab.paediatrics.ox.ac.uk/

Recent Publications

Publications Directory

Contact Information

mjaw-pa(at)paediatrics.ox.ac.uk

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