UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology celebrates achievements at Annual Address
14 December 2020
This year's annual address on 14th December 2020, with 275 virtual attendees, began with a review of the year presented by Professor Michael Hanna, Director of UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, followed by Education Prizes and Annual Address given by Dr Richard J Youle.
Review of the year
Professor Hanna showcased wide-ranging examples of IoN's research impact, from COVID-19 and stroke and the N-ROL collaboration with SameYou charity, to gene therapy for refractory focal epilepsy and gene discovery in SORD neuropathy, to the MS-SMART trial and anti-sense oligonucleoside trials at LWENC, DRC cohort studies and public engagement and the HD-YAS study. He also highlighted IoN's impressive research output: one paper every 5 hours on average, including over 60 publications on COVID-19, with 11 out of the 45 of UCL's Highly Cited Researchers being at IoN.
Highlights from the year included the renewal of the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging and ARUK DDI funding, and of the International Max Planck Research School; major grants, including £19m Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) funding, £10m for International Brain Lab; £12.5m investment in ION enterprise; and ION-DRI programme, including a number of new initiatives to improve laboratory support and ways of working and new IoN-DRI website.
These achievements were complemented by many individual IoN researchers' awards and appointments, including new Fellows of the Royal Society and Academy of Medical Sciences, alongside 100% success in 2020 senior promotions, proleptic appointments and the appointment of a clinical academic lead for ALS.
Professor Hanna also highlighted ION-wide EDI initiatives, including the appointment of the first EDI Deputy Institute Director, Athena SWAN Silver award renewal and relaunched website, as well as Educational achievements, including Distance Learning Programme diversity, and a UCL One PS award for David Blundred. He congratulated all our students on their recent graduation.
ION Education Prizes
Professor Hanna then announced the Annual Education prizes 2020.
- Haymon Gorlov Prize: Sophie Newton
- Queen Square Essay Prize : Paul Zeun and Edwin Jabbari
- Hugo James Ross Prize - Huda Shujaa Aldeen
We were delighted to welcome as the guest speaker the 2021 Breakthrough prize winner ($3m) in Life Sciences, Dr Richard J Youle, Senior Investigator in Biochemistry NINDS, Bethesda, USA, who gave a presentation entitled "Relationships between Mitophagy, Inflammation, STING and Parkinson’s Disease"
Dr Youle won this prestigious prize for his ground-breaking work on elucidating a quality control pathway that clears damaged mitochondria and protects against Parkinson’s Disease. This is a topic which is potentially relevant to many neurodegenerative diseases and therefore of great interest to the Institute of Neurology, the Faculty of Brain Sciences and the wider UCL Neuroscience community.
The event closed with a vote of thanks by UCL President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur.