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Bates Lab

Professor Gill Bates began her work on Huntington’s disease in 1987 when she joined Hans Lehrach’s laboratory at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund as a postdoctoral fellow. The Lehrach lab was at the forefront of developing techniques to identify disease-causing genes and was a member of the international Huntington’s Disease Collaborative Research Group. This comprised six groups in the USA and UK that worked together under the umbrella of the Hereditary Disease Foundation, of which, Nancy Wexler was president. The HD Collaborative Group cloned the HD gene in 1993 and identified the HD mutation as a CAG repeat expansion.

In 1994, Bates established her independent research group at King’s College London (KCL). Her lab published the first mouse models of HD in 1996, which, with Stephen Davies, led to the identification of huntingtin in inclusions in 1997. Bates became Professor of Neurogenetics at KCL in 1998 and Head of the Division of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at KCL in 2011.

In 2016, she moved her lab to the Institute of Neurology at University College London to establish the Huntington’s Disease Centre with Professor Sarah Tabrizi. She is Professor of Molecular Neuroscience at the Institute of Neurology and Co-Director of the Huntington’s Disease Centre.

Bates was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999, the European Molecular Biology Organisation in 2002 and the Royal Society in 2007. She was awarded the Royal Society Glaxo Wellcome Award in 1998, the Max Planck Research Award for International Cooperation in 1999 and the Leslie Brenner Gehry Prize for Innovation in Science in 2012 by the Hereditary Disease Foundation, among others.

 

Bates Lab

 

Sarah Aldous – Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Nadira Ali – Graduate Research Fellow

Marie Bondulich - Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Maria Canibano-Pico – Research Assistant

Sandra Fienko – Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Rachel Flomen – Research Project Manager

Casandra Gomez-Paredes - Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Zixin Kang – Research Assistant

Christian Landles – Senior Research Fellow

Iulia Nita – Research Assistant

Georgina Osborne - Graduate Research Fellow

Aku Owusu-Afriyie – Research Assistant

Aikaterini-Smaragdi Papadopoulou – Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Jemima Phillips - Graduate Research Fellow

Kirupa Sathasivam - Senior Research Fellow

Edward Smith - Postdoctoral Research Fellow

 

Tabrizi Lab

Professor Sarah Tabrizi graduated with first class honours in Biochemistry, then studied medicine at Edinburgh University where she was awarded the 1992 Leslie Gold Medal for the most distinguished medical graduate. During her time as a trainee neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN), Queen Square, Sarah worked for Professors Anita Harding and David Marsden, both of whom would make a lasting impression on her. She undertook an MRC Clinical Training Fellowship PhD studying mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegeneration with Tony Schapira and Gill Bates from 1996-1999, and it was during this time that Sarah developed a passion for Huntington’s disease (HD) research. Sarah obtained a prestigious Department of Health National Clinician Scientist Fellowship at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology in 2002, was promoted to UCL Clinical Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Neurologist in 2003, to Reader in 2007 and Full Professor in 2009. Sarah is Director of the UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre, which she co-founded with Professor Gill Bates in 2016, and Joint Head of Department Neurodegenerative Disease at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. Since 2003, she has led a highly effective and innovative clinical service for patients and families with Huntington’s disease at the NHNN.

In addition to basic bench science, which focuses on basic cellular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Huntington’s disease (HD), she also leads a large translational research programme in HD that is working towards finding effective disease-modifying treatments. Sarah has published over 300 peer-reviewed publications to date and her research work has been the subject of articles in NEJM, The Economist, Scientific American, and The Lancet. She serves on several panels including the UK HD association, the European HD Network and NINDS/NIH. She co-founded, with Sir Michael Rawlins, the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for HD in 2010. In 2014, she was elected a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2017 she received the seventh Leslie Gehry Brenner Prize for Innovation in Science awarded by the Hereditary Disease Foundation. In 2018 she received the Cotzias Award from the Spanish Society of Neurology and in 2019 she received the Yahr Award at the World Congress for Neurology and the Alexander Morison Medal from the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. In 2022, she received the Osler Medal from the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland, and the MRC Millennium Medal for her outstanding achievements in medical research, including her pioneering work to advance understanding and translation of therapies for neurodegeneration. In 2023 she received the Arvid Carlsson Award from Lund University for her research in Huntington’s disease mechanisms and therapeutics.

Basic Science Laboratory 

Experimental Medicine and Clinical Trials

Wellcome Trust Treat-HD Study

Administrative Team

  • James Behagg - Research Coordinator
  • Rose Hopkins - Executive Assisant to Professor Sarah Tabrizi
Team Wild

Professor Ed Wild is a clinician scientist and Associate Director of UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre, where he has been a Principal Investigator since 2015.

Ed has authored 6 book chapters and over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles. His team has been central to the discovery and validation of numerous biofluid biomarkers for Huntington’s including mutant huntingtin and neurofilament light proteins and has twice been awarded Huntington Study Group Insight of the Year awards.

Ed is the global Chief Investigator of the international HDClarity study, the largest cerebrospinal fluid collection in Huntington’s disease. He is also centrally involved in the design and execution of numerous clinical trial programs including the first antisense oligonucleotide huntingtin-lowering trial (tominersen) and others targeting central mechanisms of Huntington’s disease.

Ed serves on the Medical Advisory Panel of the Huntington’s Disease Association, the Association of British Neurologists Neurogenetics Advisory Panel, and the Translational Neurology Panel of the European Academy of Neurology. He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Huntington’s Disease and co-Lead Facilitator of the European Huntington’s Disease Network’s Biomarkers Working Group.

In 2010, he co-founded HDBuzz, an online source of reliable, impartial, easy-to-understand information about HD research. In recognition of this and his research contributions, Ed was awarded the 2012 Community Leadership Award by the Huntington Society of Canada and the 2014 Research Award by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

Ed is @ProfEdWild on Twitter.

Team Wild

  • Fiona Kinsella - Study Research Officer
  • Dr Opeyemi Kinyomi - Clinical Research Fellow
  • Dr Gail Owen - Trials Manager
  • Mara Terres Rodriguez - Study Admin Assistant
  • Dr Kat Schubert - Study Coordinator
  • Chloe Young - Study Research Assistant

 

Byrne Lab

Dr Lauren Byrne obtained her BSc in Biology at Imperial College London in 2014. During the final year of her BSc, she first discovered Prof. Sarah Tabrizi. Having a strong personal interest in Huntington’s disease (HD), Dr Byrne was immediately inspired. She came to UCL Institute of Neurology with the sole aim to of working within Prof. Tabrizi’s HD research team, and consequently completed an MRes in Translational Neurology in 2015. She successfully carried out an MRes research project in HD, focusing on neuroimaging biomarkers with Diffusion Tensor Imaging. After completing her MRes, Dr Byrne secured a research assistant position with Prof. Ed Wild, establishing and managing a HD biofluid cohort called HD-CSF.

Dr Byrne carried out her PhD thesis under Prof. Wild part-time (2016-2020), focusing on developing biofluid biomarkers for HD. Most notably, her work on neurofilament light protein (NfL) in blood was published in 2017 in the Lancet Neurology and received a ‘HD Insight of the year’ award from the Huntington Study group. During her tenure at UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, she was promoted to UCL Research Fellow in 2018, and UCL Senior Research Fellow in 2021. She became the 2019 winner of the HDSA Berman-Topper Postdoctoral Research fellowship. In 2022, Dr Byrne was awarded a prestigious Medical Research Council Career Development Award fellowship and established her independent research team within the UCL HD centre.

In addition to her academic career, Dr Byrne is a committed HD Advocate and family member. She sits on the boards of two HD charities. In her position with the Huntington’s disease Youth organisation, she set up their Research Committee and is leading the Juvenile-onset initiative for HD (JOIN-HD) – the first global registry for JoHD – as Chief Investigator.

The Byrne lab (commonly referred to as House of Byrne) is working on developing at-home biosample collection methods to analyse biomarkers remotely, in particular, blood NfL. Remote assessment measures could improve research uptake and recruitment for populations with many barriers to research participation. The frequent sampling of biomarkers that could be achieve through remote collections may elucidate the natural disease related dynamics of biomarkers. House of Byrne is passionate on facilitating research in Juvenile-onset Huntington’s disease (JoHD) patients, which currently lacks robust outcome measures for clinical trial endpoints.  

Keep up to date on the Byrne lab’s latest activities by following it on twitter @houseofbyrne.

Lauren is @LaurenByrne7337 on twitter.

Please see the Biomedical research page for further information on the Labs