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Jonathan Attwood

MA (Oxon) BMBCh PGCert

DPhil Student and NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow


Jonathan is a Clinical Neurosciences DPhil Student and NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow training in Neurology and Internal Medicine at Oxford University Hospitals. His research supervisors are Professor Gabriele De Luca and Professor Edward de Haan, and he is mentored by Professor Margaret Esiri.

Jonathan completed his medical training at the University of Oxford in 2017, before pursuing a clerkship in Neurology at Harvard Medical School and an attachment in Neurosurgery at the University of California San Francisco.

Jonathan has performed research alongside his clinical training since 2017, publishing in the fields of neurology, neurosurgery, neuropsychology, and histopathology. He has served as Research Lead on the national committee of the Neurology and Neurosurgery Special Interest Group, and has presented his research to the British Neuroscience Association, the Society of British Neurological Surgeons, and the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies. In 2021 he gained an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship to combine specialty training in neurology with neuroscience research.


My research addresses the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries.

A traumatic brain injury is a head injury which results in symptoms of brain dysfunction. One in two people will experience a traumatic brain injury in their lifetime. 

Suffering a traumatic brain injury significantly increases the risk of developing common neurological conditions in later life, including dementia, stroke, and epilepsy, as well as common psychiatric disorders such as depression. More research is needed to understand why this is the case and what can be done to reduce these risks. 

Recent studies have revealed important insights into the long term effects of certain types of brain injuries, especially concussion. However, we still know very little about other types of brain injuries, including the most severe cases which involve direct damage to the brain caused by injuries that penetrate the skull. 

To address this, I am studying a uniquely detailed collection of information gathered over the lifetime of several thousand veterans who survived for decades after penetrating brain injuries. I am working to answer the following questions: 

1. What are the long-term effects of penetrating brain injuries on physical health, mental health, and life expectancy?

2. What can we learn about the processes which cause dementia from the study of brain tissue donated by survivors of penetrating brain injuries?

3. What are the specific problems faced by people living with damage to particular regions of the brain after penetrating brain injuries?

By answering these questions I hope to contribute towards improving the lives of people affected by traumatic brain injuries.

Recent publications

More publications


Jonathan has taught regularly at Oxford Medical School for more than five years. He is an Honorary Clinical Teaching Fellow in NDCN and a Medical Tutor at Harris Manchester College. 

His teaching experience ranges from resuscitation training to anatomy demonstration, and he has co-supervised a number of successful student research and education projects. He now provides regular clinical tutorials, seminars, and lectures on clinical neuroscience and also contributes towards teaching in medical humanities. In 2022 he was recognised by the Medical Sciences Division as Tutor of the Term. 

In 2023 Jonathan led the design and delivery of a new medical student teaching program entitled Sports Neurology, Psychiatry, and Rehabilitation. This program addresses the currently unmet need for medical student training in the recognition and management of concussion and its complications. Jonathan has worked with a team of colleagues with expertise in Sports Psychiatry, Physiotherapy, and Exercise Medicine from Oxford University, Oxford Brookes, Exeter University, and the Concussion Legacy Foundation to develop this program.

This initiative is part of a broader mission to raise awareness about concussion and brain injuries, and to provide training which equips healthcare professionals to practice with competence and confidence at the increasingly important interface between medicine, exercise, and sport.


As a student I played hockey for the University of Oxford and cricket for Oxford Medical School. As a doctor I still enjoy playing tennis and run regularly. I have cycled from London to Paris and competed in the Oxford Half Marathon, Blenheim Palace Triathlon, and Paris Marathon.