Faculty of Medical Sciences

Staff Profile

Professor Raj Kalaria

Professor of Cerebrovascular Pathology (Neuropathology)


Roles and Responsibilities

Professor of Cerebrovascular Pathology (Neuropathology), personal chair appointed 1997

Lead PI, Newcastle Cognitive Function After Stroke (CogFAST) Longitudinal Study, MRC funded 2000-2010 

Director, Neurovascular Research Group (NRG), Institute of Neuroscience

Past Co-ordinator, Newcastle NE ARUK Network Centre,  Alzheimer's Research UK (ARUK)

Secretary-General, International Society for Vascular Behavioural and Cognitive Disorders (VasCog)

Previous Positions

Associate Professor of Neurology, Neurosciences and Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA


Royal College of Pathologists (Fellow), Society of Biology (Fellow), International Society for Vascular Behavioural and Cognitive Disorders (Secretary-General), British Neuroscience Association (past Hon Sec), International Brain Research Organisation (past member of Executive Committee)

Honours and Awards

Gold medal from President Diouf of Senegal, appointed Officier L’Ordre National du Lion for services to promote research and teaching of neurosciences in Africa

Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology


Research Interests

Cerebrovascular diseases, Vascular Dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Post-Stroke Dementia

Current Work

Neuropathology of Cerebrovascular Disease; CADASIL and Small Vessel Diseases of the Brain

Esteem Indicators

Member, Centres of Excellence (CoE), Academy of Finland, Review panel, 2009-2012.

Member, Canadian Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) Review panel, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2008-2011.

Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Alzheimer's Research UK, 2000-2010, (2011, also Fellowships)

Member (and chair) Scientific Review panel, Fogarty NIH Brain Disorders Across the Life Span, 2003- 2011.

Member, MRC Clinical Pharmacology and Pathology Fellowships Board, 2009-2010.

Chair, Steering Group, MRC Brain Banks (Sudden death, HIV and CJD), Edinburgh, UK, 2007-2010.


Medical Research Council UK (MRC), Dunhill Medical Trust (UK), Alzheimer's Research UK (ARUK)

Neurovascular Research Group (NRG)

Interests: Increasing age is the strongest risk factor for cognitive dysfunction, which may result from primary cerebrovascular or neurodegenerative mechanisms, such as those involved in vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD), or both. Like neurodegenerative disease, cerebrovascular disease (CVD) leads to high morbidity and mortality and is the second most common cause of dementia. Over the past 17 years, Prof Kalaria and his team in Newcastle have collected abundant evidence from epidemiological, genetic, clinical-pathological and animal studies to demonstrate the impact of systemic vascular and cerebrovascular diseases on cerebral neural processes and cognitive function. 

We have also contributed to diagnostic criteria guidelines for vascular dementia and vascular cognitive disorders (DSM V). The NRG has also built a reputation for students to publish at 2-3 peer-reviewed papers prior to completion of their doctoral studies. 

Potential Project(s) for students:

In collaboration with colleagues in Edinburgh and Japan (Kyoto and Osaka), the NRG has worked to share their expertise in human ageing, dementias and animal models (mice) of disease to probe mechanistic insights into the effects of altered brain perfusion and downstream consequences. Through these efforts, we have developed rigorous models in order to demonstrate how CVD causes nerve cell degeneration and affect dementia. 

The student will test the hypothesis that reduced brain perfusion in genetically altered mice, bred for their suitability to track specific modifications, leads to microvascular changes and subsequent damage to nerve cells, synapses and communication tracts between brain regions, which manifests as white matter disease. He/She will explore how reduced local cerebral blood flow (CBF) leads to neurodegeneration and culminates in cognitive impairment and dementia. Synaptic and dendritic structures are particularly vulnerable targets of ischaemic or hypoperfusive (oligaemic) insults, and likely contribute to cognitive impairment.

The student will also explore how improved perfusion through readily implemented interventions (physical exercise or active lifestyle) protects cortical (and strategic subcortical) structures from degeneration of their neuronal, synaptic, and microvascular network. This research will have impact on the global burden of dementia; identifying strategies, which will enable to reduce common dementing illnesses of old age.

The project is ideally suited to students from a physics based, mathematical or similar background, as they will join a team whose purpose will be to develop and refine the use of multiphoton (MP) laser imaging and its related technology to monitor CBF (laser speckle), blood rheology, perfusion across cerebral capillaries and assess synaptic/neuronal networks in live rodents. The data will be derived from a depth of ~900μm in specified regions of live mouse brains by the interaction of two photon collisions at the site of in vivo fluorochromes. This exciting project has only recently become possible due mainly to current understanding of multiphoton collision at increased tissue depth and the advent of innovative MP equipment design. The development of in vivo imaging using MP microscopy also affords a tremendous opportunity for the IoN and the Wellcome Trust Centre on Translation Research. 

Supervision of doctoral and MRes students and fellows (last 2 years):

Primary supervisor :

M Burke (PhD 2013), Elizabeth Gemmell (PhD 2014), R Akinyemi (PhD 2014), Felicity Dewhurst (MD 2013), V Foster (PhD 2015), Stella-Maria Paddick (MD 2015).

Secondary supervisor:

Kirsty McAlleese (PhD 2014), Laura Barratt (PhD 2014), S McParland (PhD 2015)

MRes students:

Jennifer Horn (MRes 2014); Phoebe J Meyer (MRes 2013), Georgia Raey-Robinson (MRes 2013), R Fenwick (MRes 2013), S Tiwari (MRes 2013). Secondary; Natalie Shek (MRes 2014), M Li (MRes 2014), Noreen Ishaq (MRes 2014)

Vacation Scholarships:

J Eklid (2014), Shobana Analapakhan (2014)

Postdoctoral fellows:

Dr Lucy Craggs (UK), Dr Yoshiki Hase (Japan), Dr Rufus Akinyemi (Nigeria)



Postgraduate Teaching

MRes Medical and Molecular Biosciences. Scientific Basis of Neurological Disease module

MRes Ageing and Health module.  Neuropathology Lectures

MRCPsyh Parts I and II, Neuroanatomical localization and Neuropathology of Dementia