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Spotlight on researchers - Vishal Rawji

Posted on 14 May 2018 by Helen Robbins



Vishal Rawji                                                                             



MBPhD Student in Clinical Neurosciences


Where are you doing your research?

Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders

The Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, University College London


What is the topic of your research?

There is the hypothesis that a breakdown in behavioural inhibition underlies tic generation in Tourette syndrome. However, conventional behavioural experiments in Tourette syndrome show that behavioural inhibition is normal. Despite the wealth of these studies, two types of inhibition have not been investigated in Tourette syndrome – proactive inhibition (responding with restraint) and automatic inhibition. We aim to employ two behavioural paradigms, which probe these types on inhibition in Tourette syndrome. We will also use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to investigate how the brain’s motor system is changed in Tourette syndrome.


How will this help people with TS?

This line of research will aim to answer why patients with Tourette syndrome get tics. Characterising the inhibitory behavioural and physiological deficits in Tourette syndrome can also be used to inform therapies to address tic management. 


What stage of the research are you at?

We are recruiting patients diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, aged 18-65. The experiment lasts for 2-3 hours and requires one session only at our laboratories at Queen Square, London. The testing session comprises of completion of two behavioural tasks (both reaction time tasks) and a session of non-invasive brain stimulation with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). If you would like more information or are interested in taking part, please contact me at




What will happen next in the study?

Once the study concludes, the results will be analysed, and experiment written up as part of a scientific publication. Results from the study may also be disseminated as presentations and conferences. Patient information will be kept confidential and no patient identifiable information will be presented. I will also use this study as part of my doctoral thesis. 


Why do you want to be a researcher?

As an MBPhD student, I am at the interface between the clinic and the laboratory. I thoroughly enjoy asking questions from the patient I see in clinics and going to the laboratory to try answering them. I hope that my experiences doing clinical research now will eventually lead to a career as an academic clinician. If you’d like to know more, please see the following video

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Spotlight on researchers - Vishal Rawji







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