Dr Richard Mead

BSc, MSc, PhD

Neuroscience, School of Medicine and Population Health

Senior Lecturer in Translational Neuroscience

Dr Richard Mead
Profile picture of Dr Richard Mead
+44 114 222 2256
+44 114 222 2278 (Administrator: Heather Cartledge)

Full contact details

Dr Richard Mead
Neuroscience, School of Medicine and Population Health
Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN)
385a Glossop Road
S10 2HQ

2018 - present: Senior Lecturer in Translational Neuroscience, Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience

2017- present: Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer - Keapstone Therapeutics (UoS spin-out)

2019 - 2023: Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Lead, Faculty of Health

2013 - 2018: Kenneth Snowman-MND Association Lecturer in Translational Neuroscience

2010 - 2013: SITraN Senior Research fellow in Translational Neuroscience, University of Sheffield, UK.

2005 - 2010: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Sheffield, UK.

2002 - 2004: Pharmacology Team leader, Celltech/UCB, Cambridge, UK.

2001 - 2002: Postdoctoral research assistant, Department of Biochemistry, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK.

1998 - 2001: PhD (Neuroimmunology), University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK.

Research interests

Research focused on preclinical drug discovery in motor neurone disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (MND/ALS), frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Parkinson’s disease. All stages from target identification to in vivo disease model testing and development of translational biomarkers for early clinical studies. Specific areas include:

  • Pharmacological manipulation of in vitro and in vivo model systems to dissect mechanisms in MND and find new targets
  • Small molecule drug development for inflammatory and oxidative stress targets including NRF2 pathway activators
  • Improving screening methodologies, evolving new in vivo screening paradigms with improved welfare, reduced biological variation and faster throughput
  • Identification of ‘translational’ biomarkers, applicable in both preclinical and clinical settings
  • Investigating novel cell therapy paradigms in MND/ALS

A large proportion of the work in my group is conducted in collaboration with Pharma and Biotech.

I am also co-founder and CSO of Keapstone Therapeutics, a spin-out from the University of Sheffield investigating KEAP1 inhibitors for disease modification in ALS and PD.


Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

  • Ciervo Y, Coldicott I, Myszczynska M, Stopford M, Allen C, Grierson A, Xu J, Ferraiuolo L, Ning K, Shaw PJ & Mead RJ (2019) Adipose derived stem cells for cell therapy of motor neuron disease (MND). HUMAN GENE THERAPY, Vol. 30(8) (pp A16-A16) RIS download Bibtex download


Research group

Post-Doctoral Research Associates

  • Dr Amy Keerie
  • Dr Ali Malik  (With Dr James Alix)
  • Dr Martyna Matuszyk
  • Dr Alannah Mole
  • Dr Ruth Thomas

Research Technicians

  • Tania Atienzar
  • Chiara Sander
  • Tyler Wells
  • Ailsa Williams

Current PhD Students

  • Marilina Douloudi (Neuroscience Institute Scholarship)
  • Finbar Gaffey (Royal Commission of 1851 Scholarship)
  • Scott McKinnon (UoS/Industry Funded Scholarship. Collaboration, with SoseiHeptares)
  • Sophie Badger (Staff candidate MNDA funded, Secondary supervisor; PI: Dr James Alix)

Former Staff and PhD students

  • Dr Nazia Maroof (Biomarker Experimental Medicine Scientist, Roche)
  • Dr Matthew Stopford (Medical Writer, Helios Medical Communications)
  • Dr Nora Markus (Senior Scientist, Mission Therapeutics)
  • Dr Nicole Stone (Associate Scientist, Compass Pathways)
  • Dr Trong Khoa Pham (Post Doctoral Research Associate, University of Sheffield)
  • Dr Matthew Sellwood (Associate Director at IQVIA)
  • Dr Jodie Watkins (Senior Scientist, MSD)
  • Dr Heledd Brown-Wright (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Queensland)
  • Dr Yuri Ciervo (Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, Università degli Studi di Padova
  • Dr Maria Plesia (Teacher Training, Sheffield Hallam University)
  • Ms Amisha Parmar (PhD scholarship, University of Turin)
  • Ms Shivani Suresh (DPhil scholarship, University of Oxford )
  • Medical Research Council
  • Parkinson’s UK
  • Fight MND
  • ALS Association (US)
  • Motor Neuron Disease Association, UK
  • University of Sheffield IP development and commercialisation fund
  • Various Industry funded projects
Teaching activities

I teach and co-lead a module on the MSc course in Translational Neuroscience and lead a module on the Masters course in Advanced Therapies running in SITraN. My teaching focusses on preclinical study design, analysis of motor function, statistics and drug discovery.

Professional activities and memberships
  • Panel Chair My Name’5 Doddie Foundation Research Review Committee Mrach 2023 to present
  • Expert Steering Group member of the MND drug discovery and development (MND-DDD) roadmap with the MND Association, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and Medicines Discovery Catapult
  • Alzheimer’s Research UK Drug Discovery Alliance Advisory Group member Jan 2020- present
  • Member of the EU COST action BenBedPhar- Bench to bedside transition for pharmacological regulation of NRF2 in noncommunicable diseases
  • PI and Panel Chair – MRC Impact Acceleration Account, University of Sheffield July 2019 –present
  • MNDA Biomedical Research Advisory panel (BRAP) member April 2015 –October 2019
  • Full Member, British Pharmacological Society
  • Grant reviewer for MND association, MRC, BBSRC, Welcome Trust, UKRI
Current projects and Collaborators
  • CAR Treg cell therapy in ALS: Quell Therapeutics, Professor Pamela Shaw
  • Machine learning for identification of novel targets and preclinical development in ALS: Benevolent AI, Prof Laura Ferraiuolo
  • mGlu5 in ALS: SoseiHeptares Therapeutics
  • Development of M102 for ALS, Aclipse Therpaeutics, Prof Pam Shaw, Prof Laura Ferraiuolo
  • Standardisation of iPSC derived motor neuron screening platforms for ALS; LifeArc, Dr Zhi Yao
  • miRNA-adapted shRNA technology for Gene targeted Therapy in ALS: Drishti Discoveries
  • Cortical Hyperexcitability in ALS: Dr Matthew Livesey, University of Sheffield
  • Development of novel readouts of disease progression in preclinical models: Dr James Alix, University of Sheffield
  • Ambient native mass spectrometry imaging in ALS preclinical and post-mortem tissue: Dr Helen Cooper and Dr Oliver Hale, University of Birmingham. Dr Robin Highley, University of Sheffield
  • Metabolic defects in ALS related to NRF2 pathway signalling: Dr Scott McKinnon, University of Sheffield
  • Axonal Transport in ALS: Dr Kurt DeVos, Dr Andrew Grierson, University of Sheffield


Author on 38 published patents and patent applications in 5 patent families:

  • Method for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis by Inhibiting IL17 activity. Inventors Christie MI, Mead RJ, Robinson MK, Rapecki, SE. (2005) EP1687026 2006-08-09. WO2005051422. CA2544920. AU2004292393.
  • Benzophenone Compounds. Inventors Shaw P, Mead R, Higginbottom A, Barber SC (2009). Publication number WO2009081141 . Describes compounds that inhibit oxidative stress in an in vitro model of MND
  • Therapeutics for neurological disorders. Inventors Shaw P, Mead R, Higginbottom A, Barber SC (2010).  Publication number WO2010046710 (A1) describing NRF2 activating compounds for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • 'Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases' Richard Mead, Laura Ferraiuolo, Peter Richardson (30/03/2017). WO2017051188 University of Sheffield and BenevolentAI. Describes methods for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, in particular motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
  • ‘Treatment of Neurological Diseases’ Richard Mead, Pamela Shaw, Claude Ogoe, Ning Shan, Laura Ferraiuolo (23/4/2020) WO2020/081973 A1 Aclipse One Inc and University of Sheffield