UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology celebrates achievements at Annual Address

5 November 2021

This year's annual address began with a review of the year by Professor Michael Hanna, Director of UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, followed by the Annual Address by UCL President & Provost, Dr Michael J Spence AC & vote of thanks by Dr Helene Crutzen, Institute Manager.

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Review of the year

Professor Hanna highlighted ION activities over the past year, including contributions to COVID research, pivoting to online learning and staff volunteering in hospitals and vaccination centres. COVID research included emerging spectrum of COVID 19 neurology, understanding vaccine associated cerebral venous thrombosis, and genetic links between Alzheimer's Disease and severe COVID outcomes, alongside innovations in effective therapy and support, e.g. N-ROL tele-rehabilitation service. Professor Hanna thanked the ION leadership and Professional Services team for their contributions over the past year, welcomed our four new Deputy Directors, and acknowledged support from the Faculty and Divisions, and all our external partnerships. 

He also highlighted ION's impressive research output: increased peer review publications, including over 130 publications on COVID-19, and highly cited researchers, as well as the REF submission, and major grants: 14 grants of over £1m and 12 over £500k, £15m active enterprise grants and spinouts.

Professor Hanna showcased wide-ranging examples of ION's research impact, from algorithms in epilepsy surgery, SUDEP risk tool and the Octopus MS trial, to RNA biology and biomarkers in MND, and discovery science at UK DRI at UCL .

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The ION recently held a PI Science Away day which highlighted all departments' engagement in bidirectional translational research. Professor Hanna highlighted the translational work at Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre, including antisense therapies for Huntington's Disease, and pre-clinical gene therapies for epilepsy, spasticity and MND, the construction of the dual hub for UCL translational neuroscience, which held a ground breaking ceremony in May 2021, and the appointment of the Deputy Director for Enterprise, Translation and Advanced Therapeutics.

These achievements were complemented by many individual IoN researchers' awards and appointments, including new Fellows of Academy of Medical Sciences and Royal Society, alongside success in 2021 senior and early career promotions.  

Professor Hanna also highlighted ION-wide EDI initiatives, including successful renewal of Athena SWAN Silver award, mentoring scheme and award, as well as Educational achievements, including success in PRES results, new PhD fellowships and PhD supervisor award to Professor Schiavo, and the ION's sustainability initiatives, including the development of the UCL NeuroClimate Consortium.

He congratulated all our students on their recent graduation.

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Annual Address

We were delighted to welcome as the guest speaker UCL President & Provost, Dr Michael J Spence AC on "Universities and a health system for the future". Dr Spence began by highlighting the impact of changing demographics, rising inequalities and costs of technologies and care, and the shifts in demand, placing pressures on healthcare systems. He discussed how they might face these through increased multi-disciplinary approaches and engagement with partners, and increased health systems and management research.

Dr Spence emphasised the complexities and challenges in bringing together multiple disciplines and partners, including career structures, resourcing, communication and leadership. He cited existing examples of best practice at UCL, how UCL cross-working increases the impact on public health and quality of life, and his commitment to the whole of the University being stronger together.

Vote of Thanks


The event closed with a vote of thanks by Dr Helene Crutzen, Institute Manager, who reflected on her past six years in office, particularly Professional Services and ION cultural changes during that time, as well as the contributions of the Professional Services team over the past two years. 

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mike hanna speaking

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helene crutzen speaking


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