UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Dr Rita Guerreiro wins Alzheimer’s Research UK Young Investigator of the Year Award

10 March 2016

We are delighted to announce that Dr Rita Guerreiro (Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology) is the first ever winner of the Alzheimer’s Research UK Young Investigator of the Year Award. The Award celebrates excellence in dementia research and recognises the huge impact of Dr Guerreiro’s work across the world.

In 2012, Dr Guerreiro and an international team uncovered a new genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The landmark discovery inspired the research community to intensify efforts to understand the role of the immune system in dementia. Through careful analysis of thousands of DNA samples, Dr Guerreiro revealed that faults in TREM2, a gene which plays a key role in regulating the brain’s immune response to damage, increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.

"It is an incredible honour to receive this prize. ARUK has supported my work for many years and this award helps validate the hard work we have done in these past years. This is not only my work but the work of an amazing team and I have to thank them all. In particular I have to acknowledge my husband who is a brilliant geneticist and my mentor, Prof. Hardy for his vision and support." Dr Rita Guerreiro

Dr Guerreiro received the award at the Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference on 9 March 2016.

"Rita’s work has transformed Alzheimer research.  She discovered genetic variants in Alzheimer’s disease in a gene, TREM2, known to be involved in the microglial response to damage.  This work puts this damage response centre stage in Alzheimer research and has led to the initiation of research programmes in academia and in the pharmaceutical industry designed to understand and optimise this damage response.  This is the research highlight, but it comes on top of many other papers defining the genetic bases of neurodegenerative disease" Professor John Hardy, Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology
" I am delighted that Rita's outstanding work has been recognised in this way. The Institute of Neurology is actively supporting the best young researchers as part of our strategic plan to undertake world leading discovery science to tackle dementia and neurodegenerative diseases" Professor Michael Hanna, Director of UCL Institute of Neurology
“The Young Investigator of the Year Award was established to celebrate excellence in dementia research and Rita’s work deserves to be recognised in this way. Her hard work and insight has helped the global research effort to understand the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. From this new knowledge we hope to see progress in the search for new treatments. We wish her every success in her future work. Alzheimer’s Research UK is committed to funding research that will bring us closer to a world free of dementia. By supporting talented researchers like Rita and increasing investment in pioneering science, we will reach that goal sooner.” Dr Simon Ridley, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK

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