Dr Wessel Woldman

Dr Wessel Woldman

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

Address
Centre for Systems Modelling and Quantitative Biomedicine
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Qualifications

PhD in Mathematics 2016 (University of Exeter)

MSc in Applied Mathematics 2012 (University of Twente, The Netherlands)

MSc in Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society 2012 (University of Twente, The Netherlands)

BSc in Applied Mathematics 2008 (University of Twente, The Netherlands)

Biography

After finishing a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Twente (Netherlands), Wessel was awarded a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Exeter (UK). The focus of his PhD was on developing and applying mathematical and computational techniques to clinical data routinely collected from people with epilepsy, in order to discern differences between healthy controls and people with epilepsy which could potentially decrease misdiagnosis and improve the prognosis for people with epilepsy. For example, his first paper published from his PhD revealed a network endophenotype (a necessary but not sufficient condition) of epilepsy from resting-state EEG (data traditionally considered not to contain useful information by neurologists). This paper was highlighted as a breakthrough study in epilepsy by the Lancet Neurology in 2015. During this time, Wessel expanded his skill-set with various techniques and tools, including advanced data-analysis, time-series analysis and statistical modelling. After his PhD I successfully secured a prestigious MRC Skills Development Research Fellowship, where he is pioneering new approaches for diagnosing epilepsy using complex, state-of-the-art mathematical modelling in partnership with clinicians in both the UK and Australia.

Research

Wessel’s central research focus is around applying mathematical techniques and computational models to clinical and health-care related problems with a strong focus on epilepsy and diabetes. Of interest is the dynamic behaviour of systems in the body, in understanding how transitions between pathological and healthy states occur and might be prevented. In particular, Wessel develops and analyses mathematical models and interrogates clinical and experimental data, in order to discern differences between healthy controls and people with epilepsy which could potentially decrease misdiagnosis and improve the prognosis for people with epilepsy.

Other activities

Alongside his research studies, Wessel has a strong interest in achieving impact from his studies. To facilitate this, he was awarded a setsquare ICURe (Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research) award in 2015, the outcome of which was to lead to co-founding with professor John Terry ‘Neuronostics’, a university start-up focused on providing decision support in epilepsy in 2017. They were immediately successful in demonstrating the potential of the technology: securing a commercialisation prize from the Epilepsy Foundation of the USA, as well as an HLS award from Innovate UK (joint between Neuronostics and the University of Exeter) during the summer of 2017. At present he is working part-time for Neuronostics as Scientific Director, where he is responsible for the design and implementation of a large-scale clinical trial validating the efficacy and accuracy of our technology, underpinned by further development of the mathematical models.

Publications

Woldman W, Cook M, Terry JR. (2019) Evolving Dynamic Networks: an underlying mechanism of drug resistance in epilepsy? Epilepsy & Behavior 94, 264-268, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2019.03.003

Beck RW, Laugharne J, Laugharne R, Woldman W, McLean B, Mastropasqua C, Shankar R (2017). Abnormal cortical asymmetry as a target for neuromodulation in neuropsychiatric disorders: A narrative review and concept proposal. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 83: 21-31, 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.09.025

Schmidt H, Woldman W, Goodfellow M, Chowdhury FA, Koutroumanidis M, Jewell S, Richardson MP, Terry JR (2016). A computational biomarker of idiopathic generalized epilepsy from resting-state EEG, Epilepsia  7(10):e200-e204, 10.1111/epi.13481

Woldman W, Terry JR. (2015) Multilevel Computational Modelling in Epilepsy: Classical Studies and Recent Advances, Bhattacharya BS, Chowdhury F (eds), Validating Neuro- Computational Models of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders, New York, Springer, 161-188.

Chowdhury FA, Woldman W, FitzGerald TH, Elwes RD, Nashef L, Terry JR, Richardson MP. (2014) Revealing a brain network endophenotype in families with idiopathic generalised epilepsy, PLoS One, volume 9, no. 10, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0110136.

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