UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

Prof Tony Schapira

Prof Tony Schapira

Professor of Neurological Science

Clinical and Movement Neurosciences

UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

Joined UCL
1st Aug 1998

Research summary

The University Department comprises Professor A H V Schapira, Head of Department and Chairman of Clinical Neurosciences Specialties, Professor Wise and Professor Warner, 3 Readers (Drs Anette Schrag,  Jan-Willem Taanman, Dr JM Cooper,) 1 clinical Senior Lecturers (Dr Orrell), 2 permanent senior technicians and one academic secretary. Additional research staff includes post-doctoral scientists, post-graduate PhD students, MRC Training Fellows, Wellcome Training Fellows and research technicians. The primary area of research in the department is the investigation of the aetiology and pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Specifically the department has an interest in the genetics and biochemistry of Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and Friedreich's ataxia. The department has established an international reputation in this area and in the area of diseases of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and inborn errors of mitochondrial function. There are also extensive research programmes on the genetics and pathogenesis of dystonia, motor neurone disease and peripheral nerve disorders. A joint appointment with the Hammersmith Hospital has provided an additional research interest in neuropsychology. Facilities for research are extensive. There are general laboratories for biochemistry, molecular biology, tissue preparation etc, in addition to specialist laboratory space for tissue culture (4 hoods), molecular biology, radioactive work, fluorimetry, spectrophotometry, lipid chemistry and histochemistry. There are advanced facilities for image analysis including an electron microscope.

Teaching summary

Supervised 11 PhDs and one MD and a frequent PhD examiner nationally and internationally. Currently supervising a large group of post-graduate and post-doctoral scientists working in the field of Parkinson’s disease.

The department was twice voted ‘Best Teaching’ service (2003 & 2004), and received the UCL ‘Excellence in Medical Education’ award 2007-2008.

Published our 300 peer reviewed articles, authored or edited numerous books for basic science and clinical graduates, including acting as Chief Editor for Neurology and Clinical Neurosciences, a major textbook (>1400pp).


Royal College of Physicians
Doctorate, Member of the Royal College of Physicians | 1982
Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School
Doctorate, Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery | 1979
King's College London
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1976



Head of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at UCL Institute of Neurology (ION), Professor of Neurology and Consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) and the Royal Free Hospital.



Undergraduate training as a Scholar at Westminster Medical School. Completed post-graduate training in London and was appointed to the University Chair of Clinical Neurosciences in 1990. Currently Vice Dean of the University College London Medical School, and Director of the Royal Free Campus. Visiting Professor at Harvard in 2009 and at Yale in 2010. Co-Editor in Chief of the European Journal of Neurology, and is on several Editorial Boards of neurology and neuroscience journals. Elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999.



Main research interests are in neurodegeneration and are focussed on the molecular pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and in the development of drugs for slowing the progress of this disease. Basic science expertise includes mitochondrial biology, and his group was the first to identify mitochondrial abnormalities as a contributing factor to the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. He direct a large group investigating the interaction of PINK1, parkin and alpha synuclein mutations in PD and how these lead to neuronal dysfunction and death, and the biochemical relationship between glucocerebrosidase mutations and an increased risk for PD. His clinical research is focussed on PD and encompasses both symptomatic and disease modifying therapies. Principal investigator on several international clinical trials in the development of novel symptomatic treatments for PD and neuroprotection studies. Currently leading research on the clinical phenotype of patients at risk of developing PD including those with glucocerebrosidase mutations. This work is designed to identify clinical and biochemical features of prodromal PD. Co-Principal Investigator on the MRC-Wellcome Strategic Award in Neurodegeneration (6 million) and on the Wolfson Award (£20 million)