UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Department of Molecular Neuroscience

Head of Department: Professor John Hardy

The Department of Molecular Neuroscience and the Reta Lila Weston Institute investigate the genetic, molecular and cellular processes which underlie a variety of neurological diseases. The department is structured in themes but these are not firm boundaries and the real strength of the department comes from its ability to interact and collaborate. This can perhaps best be illustrated by the departments work on the pathogenesis of parkinsonism. The identification of the gene PINK1 as responsible for a significant minority of early onset cases of Parkinson’s disease, allowed a detailed assessment of the role of the gene at a neurochemical, cell biological and pathological level. This involved the application of a range of skills and techniques. It is very likely that only through these cross disciplinary approaches will we be able to understand the complex pathways involved in neurological disease.

To enhance the department’s ability to develop its integrated approach to the research of the molecular pathogenesis of neurological disease we have significantly improved our infrastructure through the complete refurbishment of the laboratories in Wakefield Street to house the Reta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies, in addition to the Queen Square Brain Bank and the Sara Koe (PSP) Research Centre.

The translational elements of our work are important and we have close links with the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Neurogenetics and Neurometabolic services and the Centre for neuromuscular disease.

The training of students is the lifeblood of our academic activities and in the past 18 months we have seen the award of 7 PhD/MD degrees. There are currently 60 students registered for a higher degree.

Impact case studies (from the UCL Impact website)