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Prof Sarah Tabrizi
Huntington’s Disease Centre and Department of Neurodegenerative Disease
UCL Institute of Neurology
Box 104, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery Queen Square
  • Joint Head of Department of Neurodegenerative Disease
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Head of Department

Sarah graduated in biochemistry and medicine in Edinburgh, and was awarded the University Prize for Biological Sciences for BSc for highest First class degree, and 9 other prizes at the University of Edinburgh Medical School including the Gold Medal for most distinguished MBChB graduate and the Hewlett-Packard Prize for top Scottish Graduate. Sarah has worked on research into neurodegenerative diseases since her PhD as an MRC clinical training fellow at UCL (1996 – 1999). After near-completion of her clinical training in neurology and neurogenetics (1999-2003), she was successful in obtaining a Department of Health National Clinician Scientist Fellowship in the Dept of Neurodegenerative Disease, UCL Institute of Neurology in 2002. Sarah was made a UCL Clinical Senior Lecturer and Hon. Consultant Neurologist in 2003, and promoted to Reader in 2007 and Professor in 2009.  In the last 5 years, she has generated over £10 million grant funding for her research from MRC, EU FP7, Wellcome Trust, CHDI Foundation, and other charities. Since establishing her own independent research group in 2003, she has published over 200 peer-reviewed publications including senior-author papers in high impact journals such as Journal of Clinical Investigation, Molecular Cell, Lancet Neurology (2009, 2011, 2012, 2013), Nature Communications, Journal of Experimental Medicine, EMBO Journal, and PNAS.  Sarah was elected a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014. Her research has been the subject of a review article in New England Journal of Medicine, scientific articles in The Economist, Lancet Neurology, Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology and Scientific American, and a personal profile in The Lancet (June 2012) and has had widespread lay media coverage. Sarah serves on executive advisory and review panels including the UK HD association, the European HD Network and to NINDS/NIH, and the Wellcome Trust Expert Review Group for Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience. In 2017 Sarah received the seventh Leslie Gehry Brenner Prize for Innovation in Science awarded by the Hereditary Disease Foundation.

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

At UCL’s Institute of Neurology, Sarah leads a synergistic research programme in neurodegeneration from basic cellular mechanisms of protein misfolding to translational clinical research. Sarah has had a major research interest in Huntington’s disease (HD) since her PhD, and Sarah’s team is spearheading a major effort to develop and test new disease-modifying therapies for HD. Sarah is global clinical PI for the Ionis Pharmaceuticals ASO HTT Rx trial which is a first into human clinical trial testing a huntingtin lowering (sometimes called ‘gene silencing’) drug for Huntington’s disease.   Her work leading TRACK-HD, an international study to understand the neurobiology of HD, has already identified biomarkers of disease progression that track the earliest phase of the neurodegenerative disease process in clinically-well individuals who carry the HD expansion mutation and those with early disease symptoms.  Her work at the laboratory level aims to translate these approaches to patients within the next few years. Sarah also identified a key role for the innate immune system in the pathogenesis of HD that has given rise to important new avenues for research into biomarkers and disease-modifying therapies for HD.  Sarah’s research programme is translating HD research directly from the lab to patients with a programme that is ultimately aimed at preventing the neurodegenerative disease process itself.



Teaching Summary

Sarah teaches on the MSc Clinical Neuroscience course, MSc advanced Neuro Imaging course and the MSc Clinical Neurology course at the UCL Institute of Neurology. She also teaches on the MSc in Neuro-Science at UCL. She regularly teaches on the Expert teaching Short Courses run by the UCL, Institute of Neurology; and the Federation of European Neuroscience teaching courses. Sarah also teaches on the BSc course in Molecular Medicine at KCL. At UCLH Trust, she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate medical trainees on Neuroscience, Neurogenetics and Neurology. Her main teaching areas are in Neurogenetics, Huntingtons disease, Prion biology, and other inherited Neurodegenerative disorders.

OCT-2009 Professor of Clinical Neurology & Neurogenetics Department of Neurodegenerative Disease Institute of Neurology, Univeristy College London, United Kingdom
2007 – 2009 Reader inNeurology & Neurogenetics Department of Neurodegenerative Disease Institute of Neurology, UCL, United Kingdom
01-JAN-2003 – 01-FEB-2007 Clinical Senior Lecturer UK Department of Health National Clinician Scientist  , United Kingdom
01-FEB-2001 – 31-JAN-2002 Neurology Specialist Registrar Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, United Kingdom
01-APR-1999 – 31-JAN-2001 Neurology Specialist Registrar   The Royal Free Hospital, United Kingdom
01-APR-1996 – 31-MAR-1999 MRC Clinical Training Fellow for PhD Department of Clinical Neurosciences The Royal Free & University College School of Medicine, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2007 FRCP Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians – Neurology Royal College of Physicians
2000 PhD Doctor of Philosophy University College London
1995 MRCP Member of the Royal College of Physicians – Clinical Medicine Royal College of Physicians
1992 MB.ChB Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery – Clinical Medicine University of Edinburgh
1986 BSc Hons Bachelor of Science (Honours) – Biochemistry Heriot-Watt University
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