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Dr Janice Holton
Queen Square Brain Bank
1 Wakefield Street
Dr Janice Holton profile picture
  • Emeritus
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

Janice Holton is Professor in Neuropathology, Honorary Consultant Neuropathologist and Director of Neuropathology at the Queen Square Brain Bank. She studied medicine at Leeds University Medical School and completed a PhD at the University of Southampton. This was followed by training in neuropathology at UCL Institute of Neurology and she is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists. She was appointed as Director of Neuropathology at the Queen Square Brain Bank in October 2014 leading the diagnostic and research teams. She is the Clinical Lead for the adult muscle diagnostic pathology service at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and a member of the Medical Research Council Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases. She has a research interest in inflammatory muscle disorders including inclusion body myositis. Janice took up the position of Editor-in-Chief of Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology, the journal of the British Neuropathological Society, in January 2014.

Research Themes
Research Summary

Research at the Queen Square Brain Bank (QSBB) aims to improve our understanding of disease mechanisms in the neurodegenerative diseases utilizing the extensive tissue collection of the QSBB. This type of research often employs a multi-disciplinary collaborative approach with contributions from neuropathologists, geneticists, biochemists and neurologists.
I am currently active in research into multiple system atrophy (MSA) which is grouped with Parkinson’s disease (PD) as one of the alpha-synucleinopathies. This project aims to understand the mechanisms underlying the accumulation of alpha-synuclein in oligodendrocytes in this disease. We have described a novel mutation in the gene encoding alpha-synuclein which gives rise to a familial early onset parkinsonian disorder. Neuropathological examination of the brain from one family member revealed a unique alpha-synucleinopathy with some features of both PD and MSA. Further study of this case and other alpha-synuclein mutations is under way as this may help to elucidate the disease mechanisms of both MSA and PD.
My interest in muscle disease is in the area of inflammatory myopathies with projects in juvenile dermatomyositis and inclusion body myositis (IBM). Of these, IBM shares with many neurodegenerative diseases, the feature of accumulation of fibrillar proteins.

Teaching Summary

Teaching and training activities include regular lectures to MSc students at UCL Institute of Neurology and delivery of teaching to a wide range of doctors and research staff  in the form of clinico-pathological presentations. I am involved in the training of Specialist Registrars in Neuropathology locally and also by the provision of lectures at nationally organized training courses. I supervise post-graduate research students.

Academic Background
1998   Member of the Royal College of Pathologists Royal College of Pathologists, UK
1991   Doctor of Philosophy University of Southampton
1983   Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery University of Leeds
1980   Bachelor of Science University of Leeds
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