The Unit is directed by John Collinge who is also Professor of Neurology and Head of the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease at the UCL Institute of Neurology. He also directs the NHS National Prion Clinic at the adjacent National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.
Professor Collinge trained in medicine at the University of Bristol and in neurology at St Mary’s Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London. He is committed to highly multidisciplinary research and the seamless integration of basic laboratory and clinical research. He established the MRC Prion Unit at Imperial College in 1998 where he held the positions of Wellcome Senior Clinical Fellow and then Wellcome Principal Clinical Fellow. His laboratory demonstrated in 1996 that the new human prion disease, variant CJD, was caused by the same prion strain as that causing BSE in cattle and has been responsible for a number of key advances in the field.
Professor Collinge has served on numerous Government advisory committees on prion disease at a national, European Union and international level. He is committed to public communication of the Unit’s research and gives many media interviews. He is a Founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Society and was awarded a CBE for services to medical research.