Dr Alex Doney

Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant

Stroke Medicine
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Dr Alexander Doney is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Dundee and Honorary Consultant Physician at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee.  He is currently working within the Medicines Monitoring Unit (MEMO) with Professor Tom MacDonald and Dr Isla Mackenzie.  He also directs the development of the eClinical Phenome within the Health Informatic Centre, Dundee which manages large bioresources in Tayside linked to electronic Medical Records (EMR).  He initially studied pure genetics and went on to a PhD in molecular genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular disease and dyslipidaemia but subsequently trained in clinical medicine specialising in clinical pharmacology and General Internal Medicine.  His clinical interests led him towards Acute Stroke Medicine and neurovascular health and he led the Acute Stroke programme in Ninewells Hospital for a number of years.

Research interests have been in genomics combined with health informatics and information technology as a means of providing a substrate for high quality studies in investigating genetic determinants of disease risk and therapeutic response with the ultimate aim of translation of this knowledge into clinical health benefits.  He has played a central role in inaugurating and expanding large EMR-linked bioresources at the University of Dundee including GoDARTS, GoSHARE and BIOSTA CHF.  He has joined MEMO to develop skills in large pragmatic EMR based trials with the eventual aim of delivery of genomically informed Precision Medicine.

A few of Professor Alexander Doney’s Publications:

  1. 1. Flynn RW, MacDonald TM, Murray GD, MacWalter RS, Doney AS. Prescribing antiplatelet medicine and subsequent events after intracerebral hemorrhage. Stroke. 2010 Nov;41(11):2606-11.
    • This paper investigated the use of antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin, in people who have had bleeding in or around the brain.  Using antiplatelet medication in this context is generally contraindicated because of the worry of causing further bleeding.  However, people with bleeding in the brain often have similar risk factors for coronary heart disease, when aspirin or similar drugs are needed. In this paper we demonstrated that it was probably safe to take aspirin if there had previously been bleeding in the brain when an individual also has coronary artery disease.
  2. Donnelly LA, Doney AS, Tavendale R, Lang CC, Pearson ER, et al. Common nonsynonymous substitutions in SLCO1B1 predispose to statin intolerance in routinely treated individuals with type 2 diabetes: a go-DARTS study. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Feb;89(2):210-6
    • People who are prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs called statins can often experience side effects.  We have been studying how genes may influence the likelihood of experiencing side effects.  In this paper we demonstrated that certain common variants of a particular gene can predispose individuals to statin side effects and intolerance.  This work might lead to an ability in the future to identify who is going to develop side effects in advance enabling more personalised approaches to prescribing.
  3. Doney AS, Dannfald J, Pearson E, Morris AD, Palmer CN, et al. The FTO gene is associated with an atherogenic lipid profile and myocardial infarction in patients with type 2 diabetes: a Genetics of Diabetes Audit and Research Study in Tayside Scotland (Go-DARTS) study. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2009 Jun;2(3):255-9
    • Research in Dundee contributed to the discovery of the “FTO” gene which we were later able to show influences eating behaviour to increase the likelihood of becoming overweight and developing diabetes.  In this paper we were able to demonstrate that this also leads to an increased likelihood of developing unhealthy levels of cholesterol and raised blood pressure and as a consequence an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, we were also able to show that people with this gene who took statins could have their risk reduced.
  4. Elder DH, Singh JS, Levin D, Donnelly LA, Choy AM, George J, Struthers AD, Doney AS, Lang CC. Mean HbA1c and mortality in diabetic individuals with heart failure: a population cohort study. Eur J Heart Fail. 2016 Jan;18(1):94-102
    • In patients with diabetes it is important to regulate blood sugar.  In this paper we demonstrated that in patients with diabetes who then develop heart failure, a common problem in diabetes where the heart is unable to pump optimally, there is an optimum level for maintaining the blood sugars such that if it is maintained either too low or too high there is an increased risk of death.
  5. Donnelly LA, van Zuydam NR, Zhou K, Tavendale R, Carr F, Maitland-van der Zee AH, Leusink M, de Boer A, Doevendans PA, Asselbergs FW, Morris AD, Pearson ER, Klungel OH, Doney AS, Palmer CN. Robust association of the LPA locus with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol lowering response to statin treatment in a meta-analysis of 30 467 individuals from both randomized control trials and observational studies and association with coronary artery disease outcome during statin treatment. Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2013 Oct;23(10):518-25
    • In this study we were able to demonstrate that 1 in every 7 people who are prescribed statin drugs and who have inherited a variant of a gene called “LPA” remain at significant increased risk of a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke. This means that such people might need to receive more intense medical management with higher doses or additional medications to minimise this risk.