UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology celebrates achievements at Annual Address

25 November 2022

A review of the year by Professor Michael Hanna, Director of UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, followed by the Annual Address by Dame Anne M. Johnson, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, and President of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

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Review of the year

Professor Michael Hanna began by thanking everyone for all their work over the past two years, including impactful COVID-19 research - 25 PIs have been involved in 145 papers, from early highly cited papers in March 2020 to apps to support patients in the stroke service. 

Professor Hanna highlighted achievements over the past year, including successful £90m renewal of UCLH BRC, and the Dementia theme and Translational Neuroscience themes which are based at ION, Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre's successful £10m NIHR CRF bid for 2022-27, and UK DRI's Quinquennial Review. 

Professor Hanna thanked the ION leadership and Professional Services team for their contributions over the past year, and acknowledged support from the Faculty and Divisions, and all our external partnerships. He paid specific thanks to staff who had left ION in 2022, including Libby Bertram and Paul Whiting. 

He also highlighted ION's impressive research output: increased peer review publications, as well as success in the REF2021, and the highest number of active grants including 9 grants of over £1m and 14 over £500k, and £15m income from Enterprise activities.

Professor Hanna showcased wide-ranging examples of ION's research impact, including novel therapeutic targets for ALS, MRI guided focused ultrasound, an intensive comprehensive aphasia programme, brain charts over the lifespan, the new UK DRI fluid biomarker platform, multi-stage multi-arm MS trials, gene therapy for brain circuit disorders, the Huntington's Disease REF impact case study, and primary human mitochondrial disease research.  

ION's Science Away Day had reviewed ION's strategic plan with its emphasis on actively translating knowledge, and Professor Hanna highlighted our Translation and Enterprise activities, supported by the new Translational Research manager, and the Symposium which took place before this Annual Address. He also emphasised ION's gene therapy research, including plans for a new gene therapy accelerator centre.

Professor Hanna also gave an update on the creation of the world-class centre of excellence in neuroscience on Grays Inn Road, including the burial of a time capsule in May 2022.

These achievements were complemented by many individual ION researchers' awards and appointments, including a knighthood for Professor Sir John Hardy, and new Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the British Academy, alongside success in 2022 senior and early career promotions, and a Wellcome Career Development Award.  

Professor Hanna also highlighted ION-wide EDI initiatives, with 12% of ION staff involved in EDI activities, as well as Educational achievements and scholarships, and ION's sustainability initiatives, including Professor Sanjay Sisodiya's work on Climate Change and Epilepsy. He closed by awarding the Queen Square Essay Prize to Kanza Tariq, and introducing Dame Anne M. Johnson's Annual Address. 

Annual Address

We were delighted to welcome as the guest speaker Dame Anne M. Johnson MD, FMedSci, FFPH, FRCP, FRCGP, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology & President of the Academy of Medical Sciences ‘Making Medical Science work for everyone: What is the role of a National Academy’

annual address slide

annual address slide

dame anne johnson

Dame Anne's Address focused on three strands of the Academy of Medical Sciences' strategy: Policy, People, Communications. 

She began with an overview of the Academy's role in influencing policy with an evidence based approach, including recent examples on investment in Science, Horizon Europe, COVID-19 Winter Reports, Future of Public Health and the NHS-Academia Interface; 

Dame Anne's second strand focused on People: and the Academy's support for the next generation of researchers, across the whole spectrum, from undergraduates onwards, including starter grants for clinical lecturers, Sustain: enabling female researchers to thrive, and the FLIER leadership programme.

In the final strand, Communications, she emphasised the need for meaningful PPI, including digital communications, as well as workshops and reference groups, with initiatives such as the People's Perspective report, young adults DIVOC-91 comic book, and Departure Lounge pop-ups. 

Dame Anne ended with an overview of future challenges in supporting UK R&D, and new activities for the Academy, including cross-sector schemes, sustainability of health research, and the UK Young Academy, and closed with an encouragement and suggestions for how attendees can get involved in the Academy's work. 

Vote of Thanks

The vote of thanks was given by Professor Linda Greensmith, Head of Department, Neuromuscular Diseases, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. As a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Professor Greensmith thanked Dame Anne as the first female president of the Academy for such a thought provoking and timely lecture. Professor Greensmith also thanked the organisers of the Symposium which preceded the Annual Address.

queen square essay prize award
Professor Michael Hanna awarding the Queen Square Essay Prize to Kanza Tariq. 

dame anne johnson professor michael hanna and professor linda greensmith
Professor Michael Hanna, Dame Anne M. Johnson, Professor Linda Greensmith