Our principal investigators


Professor Volker Straub leads the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre and holds joint appointments between Newcastle University and the NHS. Professor Straub’s time is split between research and clinical commitments, with a focus on neuromuscular disease, and provides leadership across the five strands of the centre.

Professor Straub has recently been joined by Professor Jordi Díaz-Manera who is working as Professor of Neuromuscular Disorders and as Honorary Consultant Clinical Geneticist with the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


Giorgio Tasca
Clinical Professor of Neuromuscular Science
Volker Straub
Harold Macmillan Professor of Medicine Consultant in Neuromuscular Genetics and Paediatrics
Emma Heslop
DMD Hub Manager & Networking Strand Lead
Michela Guglieri
Senior Clinical Lecturer, Honorary Consultant Neurologist
Jordi Díaz-Manera
Professor of Neuromuscular Disorders, Translational Medicine and Genetics Honorary Consultant in Clinical Genetics
Chiara Marini Bettolo
Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer and Consultant Neurologist


Colleagues who represent each of the strands of activity in the Centre



Dr Chiara Marini Bettolo

Clinical research

Dr Michela Guglieri


Dr Rita Barresi


Networks & collaboration

Emma Heslop

In addition, important supporting activities are coordinated by the following

Finance & human resources

Emma Heslop


Cathy Turner