UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology academics elected to Academy of Medical Sciences

18 May 2023

Three ION academics have been elected Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the advancement of biomedical and health science, pioneering research and translating developments into benefits for patients and wider society.

fellows of ams group

UCL has more new AMS Fellows this year than any other university.

Professors Olga Ciccarelli, Henry Houlden, and Ley Sander (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) are among 59 influential biomedical and health scientists elected to the Fellowship this year.

Fellows are drawn from institutions across the UK and their breadth of expertise ranges from molecular imaging to biostatistics to public health policy. This year’s elected scientists join a prestigious Fellowship of 1,400 esteemed researchers who are central to the Academy’s work. 

The academics from UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology are:

Professor Olga Ciccarelli (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology)

Olga Ciccarelli is a NIHR Research Professor of Neurology, Head of the Department of Neuroinflammation at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, and Lead of the NIHR BRC Neuroscience Theme. Her research goal is to develop an AI-based model that predicts individual treatment responses in patients with multiple sclerosis. This crucial information will help patients to select the most appropriate treatment for them.

Professor Henry Houlden (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology)

Professor Henry Houlden has clinical expertise in inherited neurological disorders and movement disorders such as multiple system atrophy (MSA), ataxia, epilepsy, cognitive disorders and neuromuscular conditions. He is particularly interested in genetically diverse, underrepresented populations. His research laboratory has a focus on repeat expansions, rare diseases and gene discovery using the latest technologies such as long-read sequencing.

Professor Ley Sander (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology)

Ley Sander is a Professor of Neurology and Head of the Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy at UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. He is also a consultant neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, with a specialist interest in epilepsy and its epidemiological aspects. He has a keen interest in global health and is involved in research programmes in China, Africa and Latin America.

Professor David Lomas, UCL Vice Provost (Health), said: “I am delighted that the latest cohort of UCL Fellows demonstrates the quality and breadth of expertise within UCL Health with fabulous work being done in genetics and fetal medicine through to systems neuroscience and autoinflammatory diseases. Each of the twelve new fellows from UCL has made an outstanding contribution to biomedical science. Congratulations to each of them on this well-deserved accolade.”
Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Co-Director of UCL Health of the Public, congratulated the new Fellows, saying: “These new Fellows are pioneering biomedical research and driving life-saving improvements in healthcare, from understanding the spread of infectious diseases to developing mental health interventions. It’s a pleasure to recognise and celebrate their exceptional talent by welcoming them to the Fellowship. 
This year, we are celebrating our 25th anniversary. The Fellowship is our greatest asset, and their broad expertise and dynamic ability has shaped the Academy to become the influential, expert voice of health. As we look to the future, the collective wisdom our new Fellows bring will be pivotal in achieving our mission to create an open and progressive research sector to improve the health of people everywhere.”
Professor Michael Hanna, Director, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, said: "I am delighted to congratulate Henry, Olga and Ley on this major achievement recognising their individual significant contributions to advancing different fields of neurological research to benefit patients "
Clare Pelham, Chief Executive, Epilepsy Society, added: "Professor Sander’s election as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences is richly deserved. Ley’s career has been dedicated to increasing our understanding of epilepsy and how it can be better treated. And much of it has been spent at the Epilepsy Society’s Research Centre in Chalfont St Peter. Epilepsy is often described as a ‘Cinderella condition’ because it is hidden away, is still stigmatised in the 21st century and does not receive the research funding afforded other neurological conditions.
"Ley has been, and is, an absolute champion for people with epilepsy, pushing forward the boundaries of research with translational science and supporting and motivating young researchers to address  the challenges of the condition. Ley’s work in understanding the epidemiology of epilepsy has not only made a difference to people in the UK but also to communities in China, Sub-Saharan Africa, South America and Eastern Europe. Ley is a global super star but for his patients in clinic, he is the man who understands their epilepsy on an individual basis and employs his expertise to make a difference.”