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Research into genetic influences on epilepsy and migraines
Publication date: 30 June 2015
Researchers at UCL Institute of Neurology have begun to investigate genetic influences on neurological disorders such as ataxia, epilepsy and rare and severe headache disorders.
Professor Lees awarded ABN Medal 2015
Publication date: 1 June 2015
We are pleased to announce that Professor Andrew Lees, Professor of Neurology, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and Emeritus Director, Reta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies, UCL Institute of Neurology, is the ABN Medallist 2015.
ABN Medal is awarded annually to recognise outstanding contributions by British
and Irish neurologists to the science or practice of neurology, or for
contributions to the Association. Professor Lees’ medallist lecture
was entitled Butterflies of the Soul.
Professor Hardy elected member of EMBO
Publication date: 21 May 2015
Professor John Hardy, UCL Institute of Neurology, has been elected to EMBO membership, alongside other outstanding researchers in the life sciences.
Working with Saracens to monitor concussion in rugby
Publication date: 21 May 2015
A new genetic switch uncovered in the long genes expressed in our brain
Publication date: 14 May 2015
A new mechanism for splicing-based gene
regulation has been discovered in vertebrates by a team of researchers at UCL Institute of
Neurology and UCL Genetics Institute, showing that sometimes
cells select a piece of a gene as an exon, but then later discard this piece in
the process called ‘recursive splicing’.
Professor Mary Reilly is elected to be the first female President of the Association of British Neurologists in 83 years
Publication date: 24 March 2015
Professor Mary Reilly has been elected ABN President from 2017-2019 and is President elect from 2015-2017.
Professor Reilly has been a consultant Neurologist at Queen Square since 1998 and was promoted to Professor of Clinical Neurology at UCL in 2010. She is head of the Division of Clinical Neurology and Co-Director of the MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases in the Department of Molecular Neurosciences at UCL Institute of Neurology. She is internationally recognised for her expertise in research and clinical practice related to peripheral nerve diseases.
Structure of genetic messenger molecules reveals key role in diseases
Publication date: 19 March 2015
Messenger RNAs (mRNA) are linear molecules that contain instructions for producing the proteins that keep living cells functioning. A new study by UCL researchers has shown how the three-dimensional structures of mRNAs determine their stability and efficiency inside cells. This new knowledge could help to explain how seemingly minor mutations that alter mRNA structure might cause things to go wrong in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
BRC awards £700,000 to neuroscience projects
Publication date: 21 January 2015
The BRC have awarded over £700,000 to three exciting clinical research projects in neuroscience.
The awards were confirmed last month for the following innovative projects:
Professor Lees receives Jay Van Andel Award for Outstanding Research in Parkinson’s Disease
Publication date: 12 September 2014
Creating brain cells from skin to study Alzheimer's
Publication date: 8 September 2014
GCH1 gene and Parkinson’s risk
Publication date: 5 August 2014
A study published in Brain, led by researchers at UCL Institute of Neurology, has shown that genetic mutations which cause a decrease in dopamine
production in the brain and lead to a form of childhood-onset Dystonia,
also play a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease.
Double mutation linked to frontotemporal dementia
Publication date: 5 August 2014
Immune system implicated in dementia development
Publication date: 18 June 2014
Vitamin B3 treatment for ataxia shows promise in first human trial
Publication date: 1 May 2014
Professor Hardy awarded Thudichum Medal by Biochemical Society
Publication date: 14 March 2014
Professor Hardy awarded Dan David Prize for work on the amyloid gene encoding APP
Publication date: 24 February 2014
Professor John Hardy, Head of Molecular Neuroscience at UCL Institute of Neurology, has been
awarded the Dan David Prize for his work on the amyloid gene encoding the amyloid precursor protein (APP).
This is a prestigious international prize which annually awards three prizes of US$ 1 million each for achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world. Each year fields are chosen within the three Time Dimensions - Past, Present and Future.
NIHR award £650,000 for research into rare neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases
Publication date: 21 February 2014
The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Rare Diseases Translational Research Collaboration has awarded a total of £650,000 to extend research into rare neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases.
Predicting age at onset in SCA1 : does size matter?
Publication date: 18 December 2013
Research at the UCL Institute of Neurology, led by Paola Giunti, and the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, and published in the journal PloS Genetics, has shown how the length and the nature of gene repeat expansions affects spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1).
Riboflavin Treatment for Childhood onset Motor Neuron Disease
Publication date: 5 December 2013
A clinical and genetic study based at UCL Institute of Neurology and the Institute of Child Health, recently published in Brain, has used next generation sequencing to identify riboflavin transporter gene defects as the defective pathway in a severe form of childhood motor neuron disease. Children with these defects significantly respond to high dose riboflavin.
Different gene expression in male and female brains helps explain differences in brain disorders
Publication date: 22 November 2013
UCL scientists have shown that there are widespread differences in how genes, the basic building blocks of the human body, are expressed in men and women’s brains.
Genetic mutations linked to Parkinson's Disease
Publication date: 12 August 2013
Research led by Dr Helene Plun-Favreau (UCL Institute of Neurology) has discovered how genetic mutations linked to Parkinson’s disease might play a key role in the death of brain cells, potentially paving the way for the development of more effective drug treatments.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation awards grant for Exenatide research
Publication date: 17 July 2013
Following encouraging results recently
published in the Journal of Clinical
Investigation describing the
progress of a cohort of patients treated with Exenatide for their Parkinson’s
disease (PD), The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has
awarded a grant of $1.98 million to Dr. T Foltynie to pursue this avenue of
From Bedside to Bench in the Institute’s MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases
Publication date: 1 July 2013
'Back translation' provides new insights into mitochondrial biology
Researchers working at the Institute’s MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases have made a potentially important discovery relevant to understanding both mitochondrial biology and human mitochondrial neurological disease. The research is a good example of “back-translation” in which careful research observations in patients can inform knowledge about normal biology.
Gene mutation causes familial form of cranio-cervical dystonia
Publication date: 25 January 2013
Researchers from UCL’s
Institute of Neurology have identified mutations in the gene ANO3 as the
cause of a familial form of cranio-cervical dystonia. Dystonia itself
is a common neurological disorder
which results in involuntary muscle spasms and is characterised by
severe abnormal postures due to involuntary muscle spasms and affects an
estimated 70,000 people in UK. Currently, there are no cures found for
this disabling condition.
The team of researchers, led by Professor Nick Wood and Professor
Kailash Bhatia found six changes throughout the gene that might be
linked to cranio-cervical dystonia, which triggers abnormal twisting or
tremulous movements affecting the face, neck and arms.
Of these six changes, three have shown to segregate with disease in
three separate families. The work was published in December in the
American Journal of Human Genetics (Charlesworth et al., 2012).
Insights into the causes of rarer, familial forms of the disease may
help shed light on the cellular pathways involved in the disease as a
whole. The new ANO3 gene determines a channel that is found in the
striatum, a part of the brain concerned with movement.
It is hoped that an ion channel might represent a feasible target for
the development of new treatments.
Hereditary Whispering Dystonia gene identified
Publication date: 20 December 2012
A genetic study at UCL Institute of Neurology
has identified the gene responsible for a rare form of dystonia called
‘hereditary whispering dysphonia’ or DYT4. The study found that a
mutation in the autoregulatory
domain of the β-tubulin 4a gene (TUBB4a) is responsible for this
disease which is known to affect a large family who emigrated to
Australia from the UK in the late 19th century.
This unusual form of dystonia is characterised by a progressive limb and cervical dystonia together with a severe dysphonia which resulted in most of the affected individuals being unable to speak and who exhibited an unusual ‘hobby horse’ gait. This was first reported by the late Neville Parker in 1985 who instigated a collaboration with Anita Harding to try to identify the genetic cause of this disease in this family. Using the exome sequencing platform at ION together with a robust genetic linkage study, a team led by Prof Henry Houlden has identified the causative gene, with the results now published in the Annals of Neurology.
The mutation is located within a very small region of the TUBB4a protein that is important in auto-regulating the levels of TUBB4a mRNA. As part of previous work published in 1988 in Nature, it was shown that mutations in this region result in a loss of this autoregulatory function. This disease mechanism has not hitherto been reported and provides further insight into the pathogenesis of dystonia in general.