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Prof Nick Ward
Room 401A, 4th Floor
Clinical Neuroscience Centre
33 Queen Square
Prof Nick Ward profile picture
  • Professor of Clinical Neurology and Neurorehabilitation
  • Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Nick Ward trained in medicine at Charing Cross & Westminster Hospital in London, where he also obtained an intercalated degree in Neuropharmacology. His postgraduate training in neurology took place at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square and The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel. In 1999, he was awarded the first Clinical Fellowship in Stroke Medicine by the Stroke Association. Subsequently, he joined Professor Richard Frackowiak at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging (WTCN), UCL, as a Wellcome Trust funded clinical research fellow. He used fMRI to study motor recovery after stroke and carried out work which led to the award of his MD (University of London). In 2003 he was appointed Consultant Neurologist at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square and at the same time was awarded a Wellcome Intermediate Clinical Fellowship  entitled ‘A study of the functional anatomy of motor recovery after stroke’ involving the design and implementation of a series of experiments  using functional magnetic brain imaging, magnetoencephalography and transcranial magnetic stimulation to investigate the realtionship between brain reorganisation and motor impairment after stroke. In 2007 he was awarded a HEFCE ‘new blood’ Clinical Senior Lecturership. He was promoted to Reader in Clinical Neurology in 2011, and to Professor of Clinical Neurology and Neurorehabilitation in the Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience, UCL in 2017.

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

Globally, the impact of stroke-related impairment is rising. In the UK alone, the economic burden of stroke is estimated at over £9 billion a year and so improving outcomes is an important clinical and scientific goal. In particular, recovery of upper limb function is unacceptably poor and a major contributor to reduced quality-of-life. Our aim is to provide the scientific basis for understanding how to radically improve upper limb recovery after stroke in humans.
He is particularly interested in developing an empirical understanding of cerebral reorganization after stroke and how this will inform treatment strategies for patients with significant motor impairment. He investigates how patterns of brain activity during hand movement change after stroke and as part of normal ageing. Current work is concentrating on further characterisation of these differences using a combination of non-invasive brain imaging tecniques to determine whether imaging and neurophysiological measures will prove useful as biomarkers of the likelihood of responding to various forms of impairment based treatment. This is important because the power of future clinical trials to detect real improvements in function will be greatly enhanced if we are able to stratify patients according to likelihood of response based on strong mechanistic hypotheses.
In 2013, he set up the Queen Square Upper Limb Neurorehabilitation Programme, the only dedicated upper limb rehabilitation facility in the UK. This clinical service offers intensive high dose upper limb neurorehabiltaion to stroke patients and will increasingly become the focus for clinically related research into mechanisms of stroke motor recovery at UCL.

Teaching Summary
  • Nick Ward completed the Programme for Professional Accreditation of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at the Institute of Education (IoE), University of London (2004).
  • He was the editor of the neurology section on Medical Masterclass - a collaboration between the Education Department of the Royal College of Physicians and Blackwell Science, an educational resource for those preparing for the MRCP examination.
  • He is lead for undergraduate Stroke teaching at UCLH and is committed to improving standards with approaches learned at IoE: regular course evaluation; novel self-assessment excercises; peer observation and feedback to all lecturers; providing teaching material online.
  • He co-organises UCLP Centre for Neurorehabilitation seminar series which started in 2013 - http://www.ucl.ac.uk/cnr/seminars. These seminars are attended by clinicians and researchers from throughout UCL Partners. 
  • He is convener of modules on the Clinical Neuroscience MSc (since 2009) and Stroke MSc (since 2015), Queen Square – delivering 2 lectures/year, selecting other lecturers, writing exam questions, marking and moderation of exam essays.
  • He co-organises the Annual Queen Square Upper Limb Neurorehabilitation Course - a 2 day UCLPartners course, which started in 2013.
  • He recently took on the role of a UCL MBBS Years 1-2 Personal Tutor (October 2015).
Academic Background
2007   Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Royal College of Physicians
1994   Member of the Royal College of Physicians Royal College of Physicians
1986   Bachelor of Science (Honours) To be updated
    ATQ09 - Other UK accreditation or qualification in teaching in the higher education sector  
    Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional).  
1989   Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery To be updated
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