UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Research Communications

These case studies demonstrate just a selection of the fantastic engagement happening across the Institute. Read on to find out more and learn how you can get involved.

Crick/MRC Engagement Day: Neuroscience

Neuroscientists from the Crick presented an afternoon of talks ending with a keynote from Professor Bart De Strooper.

MND Engage

The first MND Engage event was held on the 23rd July 2019 at the Francis Crick Institute. For the first time, along with the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND Association) we brought together several London laboratories working on motor neuron disease (including the Patani Lab), patients and carers, to explore innovative strategies of public engagement in MND. 

Crick chat on Motor Neuron Disease

Rickie Patani, a group leader at the Francis Crick Institute, associate professor at UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and a consultant neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, together with Michael Hanna, Director of the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, discussed the challenges of researching the disease, and what’s being done to improve diagnosis and new therapies.

Crick Chat


It's All Academic festival: Saturday 5th October 2019

Including #MadeAtUCL marquee talks and exhibition stands highlighting IoN discoveries.

HDC stand

Join Dementia research stand
ION-DRI stand


created out of mind phones
dear world project logo

Created out of Mind campaign impacts public perception on people living with dementia

How the campaign is changing the way dementia is portrayed and perceived amongst people living with this condition, carers and the public.

Dear World Project

A collaboration between The Rutledge Lab, at the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, and artist Alban Low. We invite you to talk about your perceptions of mental health and explore how this interacts with approaches taken by researchers and clinicians

Patani Lab, Institute of Neurology

From a colouring-in competition to choreographing a nerve cell, the Patani Lab embraces unique and artistic ways to engage the public.

patani lab drawing

aphasia event

Sharing research findings on aphasia study with participants

UCL researchers invited participants to a forum, sharing their findings on an aphasia study, in an effort to enhance research credibility and make participants feel more a part of the process

Dr Tammaryn Lashley breaks down barriers to understanding dementia

UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and Alzheimer's Research UK Senior Research Fellow Dr Tammaryn Lashley believes raising public awareness and understanding is crucial to reduce the global burden of dementia.


dementia event

Brain Bee brings aspiring teenagers to the Sainbury Wellcome Centre

Future neuroscientists, psychologists, neurologists and doctors from secondary schools in London and beyond came together to participate in the annual London Brain Bee championship. Participants had the chance to participate in some interactive demonstrations put on by academics from the SWC and Dementia Research Centre.

Latitude Festival

Latitude group
The MetaLab, from the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, and Kilner Lab, from IoN, featured in the Faraway Forest at Suffolk music festival Latitude. Festival goers were able to actively contribute to science through two experiments. The MetaLab, headed by Dr Steve Fleming, had visitors testing their metacognition through an app called ‘Metacogmission’. This app, still in development, looks at your decision making skills and how confident you are when you make a decision.
“The festival was a brilliant platform to test a new way of running this type of experiment. While typically we would need people to come into the Centre and participate, this app allows us to broaden our group of people who can contribute.” Dr Steve Fleming

Through engaging with festival goers, the MetaLab were able to gain key feedback on the app and further refine it.

The Kilner Lab, headed by Prof James Kilner, are veterans of Latitude festival. They ran a survey based experiment which looked at how you physically perceive your emotions.

“We have been attending Latitude for three years now, and always find this method of engaging people in science research really valuable.”Professor James Kilner

With over 700 people participating in the experiments, it was a fun weekend of science engagement.

Mind altering cocktails at Science Museum lates

Science Museum lates
Last July, researchers from the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging (WHN) paired up with the Science Museum for their Science Lates program on Medicine.

Dr Tim Tierney, a researcher on the project, demonstrated a new wearable brain imaging technology that will advance the way we image the brain. The technology detects the weak magnetic fields emitted by communicating neurons in the brain, allowing scientists to track the communication pathways in the brain.

Visitors were then exposed to a truly mind altering experience; miracle berries. Miracle berries are a rare fruit that once taken, will turn everything sour to sweet. Suddenly you’re eating lemons like strawberries.

Researchers were then able to show how, through the use of an older version of this imaging technology, the brain has been altered (temporarily) to perceive sour as sweet. 

Pint of Science Festival 2019

Thinking meta: how to build a self-aware brain: Dr Steve Fleming

Self-awareness is often held up as a crowning achievement of the human mind. But it remains unclear what it is about the brain that gives it this weird and wonderful ability to think about itself – what psychologists refer to as “meta” cognition. In my talk I will reveal how we can measure metacognition in the lab, ask whether it’s really uniquely human, and explore whether it's possible to build a metacognitive machine.

Stem cells getting on your nerves? Patani Lab

Find out how stem cells are being used to build the human nervous system in a dish and answer the crucial questions in neurodegenerative disease.

Team FTD (frontotemporal dementia) from the Dementia Research Centre

Team FTD (frontotemporal dementia) from the Dementia Research Centre at Queen Square Institute of Neurology hosted an event for the second year running at international science festival Pint of Science. Mica Clarke, a PhD student at the institute, was the event organiser and coordinated the sold-out event. This year the team, led by Dr Jonathan Rohrer, wanted to focus on a different aspect of cognitive change in FTD, language. The event was called Speechless, held again at The Water Rats pub on Grays Inn Road.

Our ability to express ourselves and understand others is central to our day-to-day lives. In FTD that ability can be lost slowly over time whilst memory and other parts of thinking remain unaffected. Dr Jonathan Rohrer spoke about the development of language and how we lose it, Rhian Convery (research assistant) discussed the different types of language loss we see in FTD, and Mollie Neason (research assistant) used neuroimaging findings to explore the loss of brain cells in FTD in areas important for language.

pint of science ftd groupThe event was a huge success – tickets sold out in 4 days and 60 members of the public came to learn about language loss in FTD. In between talks there were a number of activities for the audience to get involved with, and a competitive quiz to finish demonstrated how much the audience learned throughout the evening! Pint of Science is a fantastic initiative offering a great platform for scientists to share their research with the public, and team FTD hope to continue their annual contribution to the festival.

Pint of Science festival 2018

Pint of Science
Pint of Science is an international science festival that takes place every May in cities around the world. Team FTD (frontotemporal dementia) at the Dementia Research Centre, led by Dr Jonathan Rohrer, put on their own event during this year’s festival: The ‘self’ and frontotemporal dementia.

Mica Clarke, a PhD student at the Institute of Neurology, was the event organiser and coordinated the sold-out event. The team spent an evening at a pub on Grays Inn Road, London, talking to 60 members of the public about FTD and how this group of diseases affects various aspects of cognition, including language, problem solving and social cognition - how we interact with those around us. The concept of the self fades with disease progression and many aspects of one’s own personality are lost, and three members of the team gave talks discussing what contributes to this. Dr Jonathan Rohrer spoke about what contributes to the concept of the self, Lucy Russell (PhD student) discussed what social cognition is and how we can measure it, and Mica Clarke discussed what causes the concept of the self to change by exploring the loss of brain cells and connectivity in the brain in FTD. Other members of the team ran interactive activities for the audience to get involved with including tracking eye movements using an iPad and guessing games to test the audience!

It was a great event with fantastic feedback, and the team look forward to hosting another evening at next year’s festival focusing on other changes seen in FTD.