UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Alzheimer’s researcher wins top European research award

11 December 2015

Dr Rita Guerreiro, an Alzheimer's Society senior research fellow who works at the Department of Molecular Neuroscience at the UCL Institute of Neurology,  has been awarded the prestigious Fondazione Gino Galletti Neuroscience Prize 2015.

Her innovative work has led to the identification of a new genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, the first discovery of such a gene for the condition in 15 years.

Dr Guerreiro won the prize, which is given to an early-career researcher working in Europe in the field of 'Neurodegenerative pathologies' in recognition of her discovery of the association of the gene TREM2 with the development of Alzheimer's disease.

I believe the drive to do this work comes from a mixture of great mentorship and the understanding of how devastating this disease is. Even though I don't work directly with patients I have the opportunity to interact with patients, families and caregivers, mainly through Alzheimer's Society. This is very important to put our work into perspective. I believe it's a privilege to be able to apply the latest genetic technologies to the study of Alzheimer's disease and do my small part to find a cure. The understanding of the complete genetics landscape of Alzheimer's disease is crucial for the development of therapies and treatments. To know which genes and genetic factors are important in the beginning and during the course of the disease allows us to create a map that can be used for better clinical management and drug development. Dr Rita Guerreiro, Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology

Earlier this year, Rita, who has a background in biomedical sciences, also picked up an Alzheimer's Society Dementia Research Leaders Award in the 'Academic Achievement' category.

Rita is a rising star in neuroscience and Alzheimer's disease research. She's found the first gene in Alzheimer's in 15 years and it's a transformative finding in the field. She has become one of the most well-known young researchers into Alzheimer's in the world and I'm sure she will go on to win many more prizes.Professor John Hardy, Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology
My discovery was due to a large international collaboration with many researchers who all contributed to achieve these results. I have to thank them all for their help and great collaboration, in particular to Dr Jose Bras and Professor John Hardy, who were essential for this study.Dr Rita Guerreiro  

Rita received her prize at a ceremony on 11 December in Bologna, Italy.

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