Dr Iain Croall

PhD, MRes, BSc

Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Iain Croall
Iain Croall
I.Croall@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 215 9151

Full contact details

Dr Iain Croall
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
Polaris
18 Claremont Crescent
Sheffield
S10 2TA
Profile

I am a cognitive neuroscientist with expertise in various forms of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and psychometric testing, which I have applied to study a variety of different conditions involving brain pathology and neurodegeneration. I joined the University of Sheffield in 2017, and since 2019 have been working here as a Research Fellow. I have previous postdoctoral experience at the University of Cambridge (2015-2017). Before that, I gained my PhD, masters (Neuroscience) and undergraduate (Psychology) degrees from Newcastle University.

Research interests

During my time at the University of Sheffield, I have predominantly been engaged in research examining how the brain is affected in gluten-related conditions. The Sheffield Institute of Gluten-Related Diseases (SIGReD) is world leading in this area of study. We conduct research to better understand brain pathology associated with coeliac disease, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, and other more severe forms of gluten-related phenotypes which are primarily neurological in nature, such as gluten ataxia and gluten encephalopathy.

This is generally an understudied field of research, and I have been excited to apply various forms of “advanced” MRI which are entirely novel in this context. Tools such as Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) generate highly-sensitive measures of white matter health, and have been integral in demonstrating the extent and pattern of injury to white matter tracts in patients with coeliac disease. We are also studying the utility of a new serological biomarker developed at Sheffield (transglutaminase 6 antibodies), which appears to be sensitive at identifying patients with gluten sensitivity who are at greater risk of neurological sequalae, including atrophy of the cerebellar grey matter and thalamus. I am currently running a project which uses advanced imaging in combination with cognitive testing to study if members of the general, healthy population who have other forms of gluten-specific antibodies (gliadin antibodies) show any evidence of “sub clinical” brain injury. This is extremely important to ascertain, as adopting the gluten-free diet is known to arrest any further progression of neurological damage in people at risk.

I have previous expertise working within clinical trial teams studying vascular dementia. Imaging abnormalities associated with this such as leukoaraiosis, microbleeds and lacunes appear to have a synergy with coeliac disease, where similar findings are reported alongside an increased risk of vascular dementia.

Workstreams include:

  • Multi-modal MRI (including diffusion, perfusion, spectroscopy and volumetric study).
  • Vascular-related brain pathologies.
  • Cognitive test administration and assessment.
Publications

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Journal articles

All publications

Journal articles

Chapters

Conference proceedings papers

Research group

The majority of my research is conducted in collaboration with Professors Nigel Hoggard, Marios Hadjivassiliou and David Sanders, and Dr. Paul Armitage. This takes place under the overall stewardship of Professor Jim Wild.

Professional activities
  • Review editor for Frontiers in Psychology.
Projects

Current projects:

  • 11/2019 - 01/2023. Gluten as a Risk Factor for Dementia (GLUDEM) project. Role: Chief Investigator and named grant holder.
  • 09/2021 – 09/2023. “Neuropathology in gluten-related disorders; progression and treatment” Role: Chief Investigator.

Past projects:

  • 2017-2019. Neuropsychological Consequences of Gluten Consumption in NCGS. Role: Chief Investigator.
  • 2015-2017. “PRESERVE” clinical trial. Role: Research Associate.