Institute of Neuroscience

Staff Profile

Dr Rhys Thomas

Clinical Int Fellow/Honorary Consultant


Rhys joined Newcastle University from Cardiff University in August 2017. He is an Honorary Consultant in Epilepsy at the Royal Victoria Infirmary. Where he leads on epilepsy and learning disability, genetic testing in the epilepsies and epilepsy in mitochondrial disorders. 

His research interests include the causes and consequences of epilepsy - primarily the genetic causes of the epilepsies. Understanding the genetic contributions to epilepsy have recently led to a number of medications being repurposed to help control seizures, so called 'precision medicine'.

Rhys was the 2017 Royal College of Physicians Linacre lecturer. He spoke about the risks and benefits of Sodium Valproate for women of child-bearing age.

Rhys is the Clinical lead for the Mitochondrial disorders PSP (Priority Setting Partnership) which is a collaboration of patients, carers and clinicians to identify the research questions most important to children and adults with mitochondrial disorders, This is due to report in 2020 and is funded by Genetic Alliance UK.

He is an Associate Editor of Practical Neurology, Web Editor of Seizure and is on the editorial board of Clinical Medicine.

Google Scholar: Click here.


Rhys is interested in the interplay between common and rare genetic variants and how these contribute to produce common and rare epilepsies.

Alongside colleagues at Cardiff University he is looking at the effects of copy number variation in the general population (Kendall et al. Biol Psychiatry 2017), in families with genetic generalised epilepsy, and in people with drug-resistant juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. In 2013-2014 he had a year on an epilepsy fellowship under Professors Sam Berkovic and Ingrid Scheffer at the University of Melbourne. Here he worked on the Epi4K families project (Brain 2017). He retains close links with Professor Mark Rees and Dr Owen Pickrell at Swansea University using data-linking to look at epilepsy comorbidities.

He is a member of -


A collaboration of European Epilepsy researchers. Rhys is the lead for epilepsy associated with CHD2 variants (Thomas et al. Neurology 2015)


An international consortium utilising deep sequencing techniques at scale to identify rare variants in common epilepsies

The Epi4K Consortium for Familial Epilepsies

Harnessing the power of large families to understand heritability, phenotypic expression and to drive gene discovery (Epi4K, Brain 2017; Epi4k/EPGP Lancet Neurology 2017)

The International League Against Epilepsy Consortium on Complex Epilepsies

Genome wide association studies to understand common epilepsies


Using indices of ictogenicty to stratify a genome wide association study of people with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy


A mega-analysis of imaging from people with epilepsy (Whelan et al. Brain 2018)