Professor Iain D Wilkinson


Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease

Emeritus Professor of Magnetic Resonance Physics

IICD Reward & Recognition Lead

NIHR-Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre: Advanced Medical Imaging Lead

Consultant Clinical Scientist (MR Physics), Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
+44 114 215 9500

Full contact details

Professor Iain D Wilkinson
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
C Floor
Royal Hallamshire Hospital
Glossop Road
S10 2JF

I am Professor of Magnetic Resonance (MR) Physics and lead the adult neuroimaging research programme within the Academic Unit of Radiology, part of the University's Medical School based at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. I particularly enjoy the clinical applications of MR and am a UK state-registered Clinical Scientist.

I am an honorary Consultant with our local acute healthcare partner, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, one of the largest NHS Foundation Trusts in the country (>2,000 beds and 16,000 staff).

Prior to joining the University of Sheffield in 1997, I was an NHS physicist at The Middlesex Hospital (UCLH), part of a team using MR imaging and spectroscopy to investigate the neurological sequelae to HIV infection. Before that I was at Addenbrooke´s Hospital in Cambridge, funded by the UK Department of Health to study MR on a whole-body system built to image at different static magnetic field strengths.

I obtained my Bachelors in Physics from the University of Lancaster (the Physics ultra-low temperature lab was at that time the coolest place in the world), Masters in Radiation Physics from St Bartholomew´s Hospital Medical College and Doctorate in MR from the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College).

Research interests

I aim to further our understanding of neurological disease and aid its diagnosis and treatment via human in-vivo MR imaging & spectroscopy. Emphasis is on the translation of MR techniques and the findings of MR studies into clinical use. Clinical areas thus far concentrated on have included:

  • central nervous system involvement in Diabetes Mellitus (particularly diabetic ‘peripheral’ neuropathy/ pain sensation)
  • neurodegeneration: MND / the dementias
  • cerebrovascular pathologies (particularly associated with Type-2 Diabetes)
  • psychiatric illness
  • neuro-oncology
  • retroviral infection/encephalopathies

I´m also interested in the non-medical applications of MR particularly with respect to our understanding of the human mind.

I am Principle Investigator of a Wellcome Trust - funded 3T human clinical research MR scanner within our Unit’s base at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital where we partner with many groups that form Sheffield Neuroscience.

I am indebted to the Garfield Weston Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Neurocare, Action for M.E, EAFD/Novo Nordisk, JDRF, Diabetes UK, EU, MRC, DH / NIHR, EPSRC, University of Sheffield Alumni, Ataxia UK, Sheffield Health & Social Research Consortium, Sheffield Hospital’s Charitable Trust, Pfizer IIR and Philips Healthcare for their financial help in support of collaborative imaging research endeavours.

Current projects

  • Sheffield is home to a NIHR-funded Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) which focuses on experimental medicine and translational neuroscience. I lead the cross-cutting ‘Advanced Medical Imaging’ theme where we apply MR techniques to areas that include neurodegeneration (MND, the dementias, Parkinson’s disease), neuro-inflammation (MS, the ataxias) and cerebrovascular disease (carotid stenosis and stroke). Our BRC forms a very important infrastructure that links we-lab and genomics work (such as that undertaken in SITraN) with the real patients’ needs (Sheffield Teaching Hospitals).
  • Cerebrovascular autoregulatory dysfunction in Diabetes (analysis techniques linked to this study form part of Sheffield’s NeuroImaging in Cardiac Disease (NICAD) Network).
  • Type-2 Diabetes, cognitive status and concurrent quantitative Cardiac and Brain imaging.
  • Status of the CNS on MR Imaging & Spectroscopy in Diabetic Neuropathy.
  • MR (1H-imaging and 31P-spectroscopy) of brain & muscle status Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (MND).
  • Cerebellar status in the ataxias & neuronal degenerative disorders.
Research group
  • Kevin Teh
  • Maria-Eleni (Marialena) Dounavi
  • Gordon Sloan
  • Leanne Hunt
  • Marni Greig
  • Shillo Pallai
Teaching interests
  • Supervision of research projects for students undertaking BMedSci, MSc, MD and PhD projects
  • Undergraduate tutor for students studying on Sheffield’s Medical Course
Teaching activities

Links to teaching resources:

Professional activities

In addition to being a Fellow of the Institute of Medical Physics & Engineering in Medicine (IPEM), I am currently a corresponding member of the IPEM´s MR Special Interest Group that organises scientific and educational meetings and deals with professional matters relating to the Institute´s involvement in MR Physics.

I am an active member of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) and the British Chapter of the ISMRM that hold `cutting edge´ scientific meetings and symposia. I´m also a member of the British Institute of Radiology which is a forum for the multidisciplinary teams who are professionally involved or interested in medical imaging.

When applying physics to medicine and clinical research, it is important to grasp an understanding of what drives clinical problem solving and to link with the medical professionals involved.To this end, I am an Affiliate (non-clinical Fellow) of the Royal College of Physicians and an Associate of the British Society of NeuroRadiologists (BSNR). Since one of my main current interests is in `Diabetes and the Brain´, I am a Professional Member of Diabetes UK and a member of the American Diabetes Association, NeuroDiab and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. Work in this area has recently led to a Visiting Professorship at Shanghai Jiao Tong University Medical School, China.