Ralph Hector

My research focuses on developing novel genetic therapies for neurodevelopmental disorders. Rett syndrome is a rare X-linked neurological disorder which severely affects the brain development of affected children, causing a wide range of phenotypes including motor impairments, breathing abnormalities and seizures. I use gene therapy and RNA trans-splicing approaches to target the root cause of this disorder, replacing or repairing the affected gene. As a geneticist, I’m interested in gene regulation and understanding how genetic variants affecting patient populations can help the rational design of novel genetic therapies.


Dr Ralph David Hector

Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences
R413, Hugh Robson Building, George Square
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, UK, EH8 9XD
Email: ralph.hector@ed.ac.uk
Tel: (+44) 0131 651 1357


CDKL5 variants: Improving our understanding of a rare neurologic disorder. (2017) Hector RD, Kalscheuer VM, Hennig F, Leonard H, Downs H, Clarke A, Benke TA, Armstrong J, Pineda M, Bailey MES, Cobb SR. Neurology Genetics.

Radically truncated MeCP2 rescues Rett syndrome-like neurological defects. (2017) Tillotson R, Selfridge J, Koerner MV, Gadalla KKE, Guy J, De Sousa D, Hector RD, Cobb SR, Bird A. Nature.

Development of a Novel AAV Gene Therapy Cassette with Improved Safety Features and Efficacy in a Mouse Model of Rett Syndrome. (2017) Gadalla KKE, Vudhironarit T, Hector RD, Sinnett S, Bahey NG, Bailey MES, Gray SJ, Cobb SR. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev.

Improved MECP2 Gene Therapy Extends the Survival of MeCP2-Null Mice without Apparent Toxicity after Intracisternal Delivery. (2017) Sinnett SE, Hector RD, Gadalla KKE, Heindel C, Chen D, Zaric V, Bailey MES, Cobb SR, Gray SJ. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev.

Characterisation of Cdkl5 transcript isoforms in rat. (2017) Hector RD, Dando O, Ritakari TE, Kind PC, Bailey MES, Cobb SR. Gene

Characterisation of CDKL5 Transcript Isoforms in Human and Mouse. (2016) Hector RD, Dando O, Landsberger N, KIlstrup-Nielsen C, Kind PC, Bailey MES, Cobb SR. PLoS One.

For a full list of my publications go to My Bibliography

Grants and awards


Optimisation of gene therapy cassettes for neurodevelopmental disorders – Simons Initiative for the Developing Brain (SIDB) (2017-)

Loulou Junior Fellowship – Loulou Foundation (2017)

Genetic therapies for CDKL5 disorder – CDKL5 UK (2016-2017)


Chancellor’s Fund Award – University of Glasgow (2017)

Glasgow Crucible – University of Glasgow (2017)

New Initiatives Award – University of Glasgow (2016)

Learning and Teaching Development Award – University of Glasgow (2016)

International Exchange Programme Award – Royal Society of Edinburgh (2009)

Young Scientist Travel Award – Transplantation Society, USA (2007)

Conferences and outreach

Invited International Speaker

CDKL5 Forum, London, UK (2016)

3rd European CDKL5 Research Conference, Birmingham, UK (2016)

3rd International CDKL5 Science Symposium, Chicago, USA (2016)


Research blog for CDKL5 UK website

Explorathon Glasgow, ‘3D DNA’ app/interactive exhibit (2017)

Rare Disease Day 2017, Glasgow – lead organiser (2017)

Explorathon Glasgow, ‘Brain Changer’ public talk (2016)

Edinburgh Science Week (2013-2014)


Level 4 Neuroscience (BSc honours, University of Glasgow)

Cutting edge technology used in neuroscience research

Level 3 Neuroscience (BSc honours, University of Glasgow)

Genes and CNS disorders
Omics and large datasets in CNS-disorder research
Genetic therapies
Research workshops

Supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate project students

BSc honours in Neuroscience and genetics
MSc in Brain Sciences, Biomedical Sciences and Medical Genetics