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Prof Olga Ciccarelli
UCL Institute of Neurology
10-12 Russell Square
Tel: 02031087415
  • Professor of Neurology
  • Neuroinflammation
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

I am Professor of Neurology at the Department of Neuroinflammation, UCL Institute of Neurology. I studied Medicine and Neurology at the University of Rome, La Sapienza, in Italy. In 1999 I came to London as a Visiting Research Fellow and in 2000 I started a PhD project in Neuroscience at UCL, which I completed in 2004. I was then awarded a Wellcome Trust Advanced Clinical Fellowship and in 2008 I was promoted to Reader in Neurology. In 2014 I was promoted to Professor of Neurology in recognition of my excellent contribution to research, as evidenced by grant income and publications, teaching and clinical activities. 

Research Summary

My academic focus has been to deepen our understanding of the biological mechanisms of disability and recovery in MS by using MRI, and to translate this knowledge into improving patient treatment.

My research has provided new insights into disease mechanisms, discovered predictors of clinical outcome, clarified the targets for treatment interventions, and identified new markers to monitor patient response to these treatments in clinical trials. I was the first to demonstrate that MR spectroscopy detects dynamic changes in the mitochondrial metabolism of the spinal cord neurons (J Neurosci 2010), which contributes to clinical recovery of patients over time (Neurology 2010). I have also shown that MR spectroscopy can be utilised in the clinical arena to improve our ability to distinguish between MS and neuromyelitis optica (Ann Neurol 2013). Using brain MRI in progressive forms of MS, I demonstrated that the progression of damage occurs at different rates in different regions across the brain, highlighting the complexity of the evolution of the disease (NeuroImage 2013). I have contributed to grants awarded from Research Councils and Charities, and have published so far more than 110 papers in international journals (2015 H index: 36). 

As a lead clinician in the MS service at UCLH, I have a strong commitment to patient care. I have contributed to the development of important pathways for new MS medications (Alemtuzumab), and developed local NHS MRI protocols for diagnosing MS and monitoring patients on disease modifying drugs. I run specialist MS and diagnostic clinics with multidisciplinary input from therapists and MS specialist nurses.

I am an Associate Editor of Neurology which is the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, leading on the neuroimmunology, neurovirology and neuroinfections portfolio. 

I am a maternity mentor at the UCL Institute of Neurology since I am committed to advancing women's careers in science and medicine (Athena SWAN initiative).

Teaching Summary

I am currently the primary supervisor of 6 PhD students. I am the leader of the recently awarded Clinical Neuroimaging programme of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Medical Imaging at UCL, where 75 postgraduate students are expected to study towards a MRes/MPhil-PhD in the next 5 years.

I regularly give lectures at national and international conferences, and have organised workshops and teaching courses at international conferences. I teach the MSc students enrolled on the MSc in Advanced Neuroimaging. 

01-OCT-2014 Professor of Neurology Neuroinflammation UCL Institute of Neurology, United Kingdom
01-OCT-2008 – 30-SEP-2014 Reader in Neurology Brain Repair and Rehabilitation UCL Institute of Neurology, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2004 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Neural Science University College London
1999 CCST Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training – Clinical Neuroscience Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza
1995 MBBS Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery – Medicine/Surgery Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza
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