My major research achievements have been:
- Development of an in-vivo imaging technique to demonstrate neurotransmitter fluxes induced by epileptic activity or through behavioural challenges. This widely cited and replicated work was the basis for a large programme of activities by the Psychiatry, Movement Disorder and Epilepsy Group at the MRC-CU. The main epilepsy-related finding from a series of experiments funded by this grant is the first direct human in vivo evidence for changes in opioid receptor availability over a time course of hours following spontaneous seizures, emphasizing further an important role of the opioid system in terminating seizure activity. Recently, we were able to show endogenous opioid release during a shift in mood in orbitogrontal and temporo-limbic areas known to be involved in processing positive memories.
- Conducted at the MRC Cyclotron Unit as an external program with funding from the MRC, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, I closely supervised investigations of the central benzodiazepine receptor complex in refractory epilepsy. The clinically most relevant publication evaluating the role of 11C-flumazenil PET for refractory focal epilepsies with normal MRI was awarded the prestigious biennial Michael Prize in 2001 by the International League against Epilepsy. Recently, I instigated investigations using a novel uncompetitive NMDA antagonist, 11C-CNS5161.