Profile – Dr Harri Sivasathiaseelan

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Dr Harri Sivasathiaseelan

Job title:

Wolfson Clinical Researcher

Place of work / study:

Dementia Research Centre, UCL Institute of Neurology

Area of Research:

I am interested in how neurodegenerative disorders result in changes in social and emotional responsiveness. I have a particular interest in the frontotemporal dementias and am looking at how perception of non-verbal emotional vocalisations (laughs, cries, screams etc) can be used to better understand the breakdown of socio-emotional behaviour in these syndromes.

How is your work funded:

The Wolfson Foundation        

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am originally from just outside Watford and went to Southampton University to study medicine. Whilst there I did an intercalated BSc in Biomedical Sciences. I initially worked as a junior doctor in Southampton before moving to London where I have been based since. I have been training as a neurologist at the Royal London Hospital and over the last 3 years have been working on my PhD at the Dementia Research Centre, UCL.     I live in South East London with my wife and 8month old daughter.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:

I am film fanatic and, at the age of 17 (the year of my A-levels), made a vow to watch one film a day for a whole year – I ended up watching 565 films that year!        

Why did you choose to work in dementia?

I was initially attracted to neurology and neurosciences in general due to the sheer complexity of the brain. I find the fact that it is more than the sum of its parts alluring. The fact that such complex processes such as memory, creativity and imagination arise from this ball of cells fascinates me. Dementia affects these higher processes and therefore affects the things that make us uniquely human. As a clinician I have seen the impact of these conditions and the frustrations in our lack of understanding and treatments. The opportunity to contribute to the general understanding of this complex group of conditions was therefore highly attractive.

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