UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


22nd Queen Square Symposium Thursday 17th June 2021

2 August 2021

The 2021 Symposium was hosted in virtual scenery to allow the IoN community to come together in spite of in-person restrictions, with poster sessions based on the interactive Gather Town conference platform and keynote talks over Zoom.

The day started with a talk from Professor Elizabeth Fisher titled “Insights from physiological, humanised mouse models for neurodegenerative disease”. Prof Fisher provided a fantastic overview of the history of mouse models, the technical challenges associated with generating novel humanised models and key findings in disease biology identified through their use so far.

The day continued with two poster sessions split across the morning and afternoon. We saw over 20 PhD and MSc/MRes students across all domains of neuroscience take the time to present their research projects during our virtual poster sessions. All of the presenters overcame obstacles with the online format to deliver a very lively (virtual) conference hall!

morning poster session

Morning poster session and presentations in full swing!

As part of the Symposium, we held poster prize competitions to highlight students who produced exceptional posters and presentations. The MSc competition was judged by Prof Pietro Fratta and Dr Adam Liston, and the PhD competition Prof James Kilner and Dr James Sleigh.

We are pleased to announce that the prize winners were:


  • 1st - Sylvia Blackmore
  • Joint 2nd - Anna Pujol Castiblanque & Louis Dannatt


  • 1st - Angeliki Zarkali
  • 2nd - Cliona Farrell
  • 3rd - Thamir Eid

Congratulations to all of the prize winners!

After a science-packed day, the Symposium continued to go from strength to strength with our closing talk from Dr Nikhil Sharma titled “The role of the microbiome in neurodegenerative diseases”. The relatively new field of microbiome research was masterfully navigated by Dr Sharma, who discussed the link between the microbiome and neurodegenerative disease with a refreshing restraint and explored his lab’s exciting contributions to the field. It was a fitting way to end this year’s Symposium, which started with a look to the past on the contributions of mouse models of neurodegenerative disease and continued with a glimpse into the future with IoN student’s research and work from Dr Sharma’s lab!

The Committee would like to extend their gratitude to all attendees, presenters, poster competition judges for taking the time to attend this year. The Committee would also like to say a special thank you to David Blundred at the IoN Education Team for all his help organising the Symposium. The virtual event was great fun but we hope future editions can see the return of in-person events!

The 2021 Queen Square Symposium was organised by the Queen Square Student Committee consisting of:

  • Sam Bryce-Smith - Chair
  • Soyoung Choi - Vice-Chair
  • Sibel Huet - Treasurer
  • Chiara Panzi - Secretary
  • Grace Budgen - Communications Officer

QSS committee on the beach graphic
Queen Square Committee relaxing on the beach after the Symposium