A chat with Dr Marwa Elamin, visiting research fellow

5 November 2014

We caught up with the Clinic’s newest member,  Dr. Marwa Elamin, recently for a coffee and a chat.

Marwa comes from Prof. Orla Hardiman’s motor neurone disease (MND) / amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research group in Trinity College Dublin, and is supported by the Academic Unit of Neurology in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute. She is on secondment to the Anne Rowling Clinic and Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences in Edinburgh to do a Clinical Fellowship in Neurodegeneration as part of her clinical training in neurology.  We were intrigued about what brought her to Edinburgh.

Marwa was born in Sudan where she did her medical training followed by a 2-year internship and military service. Once this was finished she moved to Ireland where she has lived and worked since 2003. She started her Neurology training there and did her PhD in the neuropsychology of MND. Her PhD involved travelling around Ireland visiting MND patients in their homes. She clocked up enough mileage to send two cars to the scrap yard but she says it was more than worth it as she loved meeting the patients and families and caught the research bug as she was doing it. 

This has led to her doing her final year training in Edinburgh as she wants to focus more on neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, MND, multiple sclerosis, and young-onset dementia.

The Anne Rowling Clinic — with its broad focus on neurodegenerative disease and specialist Cognitive Disorders Clinic — provides fantastic training opportunities for me. The additional strength of the Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research, and the synergy between the collaborative work in Edinburgh and Dublin, are a bonus. I would like to thank Dr Suvankar Pal, Prof Sharon Abrahams and Dr Thomas Bak for this excellent opportunity.

Dr Marwa Elamin, Visiting Clinical Research Fellow


Although Marwa has only been here a few months she feels she has settled in well. She describes Edinburgh as a compact friendly city and is comforted by the knowledge that no matter where she is when she gets lost she is always walking distance from home. She has had the opportunity to see some of the tourist attractions when her family visited but is hoping for the chance to see much more of Scotland before she leaves.

We asked Marwa to name one thing we could teach her and she could teach us. Apart from teaching her the secret to finding the location of the staff shuttle bus which keeps changing, she wants to learn how to provide a combination of excellent clinical care in a research environment with patient involvement without compromising quality of care. She’s not sure there is anything she could teach us but she would love to see the reams of red tape needed to do clinical research in the UK become more streamlined which would be of benefit to researchers and patients alike.

Marwa hopes to return to Trinity College and bring a stronger focus on cognitive disorders in neurodegeneration to an existing multi-disciplinary team.

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