Our story so far

The Patrick Wild Centre was established in 2010 with the generous support of Dr Alfred Wild, who studied Medicine at Edinburgh, and Gus Alusi and Reem Waines, a family whose son Kenz has fragile X syndrome.

Professor Peter Kind, Dr Andrew Stanfield and Professor Sir John Savill, Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, host Gus Alusi and Reem Waines at a special even to celebrate the Centre's opening
Professor Peter Kind, Dr Andrew Stanfield and Professor Sir John Savill, Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, host Gus Alusi and Reem Waines at a special even to celebrate the Centre’s opening.

The Centre is named in memory of Dr Wild’s brother Patrick, who was severely autistic, and as a tribute to the brothers’ parents, who cared for Patrick throughout his life.

Dr Alfred Wild is joined at the Universits of Edinburgh's Old College by senior Uiversity figures and members of his family to unveil the Patrick Wild Centre plaque
Dr Alfred Wild is joined at the University of Edinburgh’s Old College by senior Uiversity figures and members of his family to unveil the Patrick Wild Centre plaque.

Our work comprises fundamental laboratory-based research as well as clinical studies. The Patrick Wild Centre’s fundamental research is underpinned by the philosophy that improving our understanding of the nervous system will lead to better treatment options for autism spectrum disorders, fragile X syndrome and intellectual disabilities.

To that end, we study early development, genetics, informatics, neural control systems, neuronal development & plasticity, preclinical imaging and stem cell biology.

Essential to our progress in these areas is our increased imaging capabilities, which have been made possible by Dame Stephanie Shirley, a pioneering figure of the IT industry now turned philanthropist. The Shirley Imaging Suites comprise state-of-the-art laser microscopes that can take pictures of live tissues during experiments as well as look deeper into brain tissue than previously possible.These microscopes also enable our PhD students and Post-Doctoral fellows to test chemical compounds on tissue samples where neuronal circuits work differently — as in autism spectrum disorders — to see if these circuits can be rectified.

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in 2011 Dame Stephanie Shirley gifted a generous donation of £1million to the Centre to fund our world-class imagining facilities.

Our clinical research is similarly exciting and groundbreaking. We initiated the first medicine trials for fragile X syndrome and we have since coordinated multiple sites in the UK.

We have also completed studies of non-medical therapies including social skills groups and technology based interventions. Ultimately, we believe that it is by combining medical and non-medical interventions that we will achieve the greatest benefits for affected people and their families.

As well as coordinating trials of new treatments, we are also working to develop better ways of tracking responses to interventions using unbiased biologically relevant methods, such as measuring brain function using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). To this end, we have pioneered techniques to conduct MRI scans in people with intellectual disability and ASD.

Importantly, MRI measures of brain function can also be carried out in laboratory models of intellectual disability leading to truly translational science.

Read more about the work we do on out Research page.