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Prof Paola Giunti
Institue of Neurology
Queen Square
United Kingdom
Tel: 44 845 155 5000
Fax: 44 2072785616
Prof Paola Giunti profile picture
  • Professorial Research Associate
  • Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

Paola is a Professorial Research Associate at the Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. She studied Medicine specializing in Neurology and also gained her PhD at the University of Rome, La Sapienza, in Italy.  During 1992-1995 she was a Research Fellow at the Institute of Neurology UCL, Queen Square in Department of Clinical Neurology,  before returning to the  Rome.  In 2004 she was successful in gaining a Fellowship from Ataxia UK and was made a Senior Clinical Associate again in the Department of Clinical Neurology at Queen Square.  In 2005 the Ataxia Centre she established was given a Centre of Excellence Award and based on this model, three additional Centres have been established in the UK.  In 2009 she was promoted to Principal Clinical Research Associate based on her relevant contributions to research, funding, teaching and enabling activities.  She serves on several National and International Steering Committees. In 2016 she was endowed with the Health Professional Award (Neurology Advocacy Awards) by the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA).

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

Paola has a longstanding interest in the pathogenesis of neurological disorders, in particular the inherited cerebellar ataxias and other movement disorders. At UCL, Paola has been researching the mechanisms that underlie neuronal degeneration in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Paola's contribution has been instrumental in the identification of genes causing different autosomal dominant cerebellar disorders. Paola's research has also expanded the clinical spectrum of several rare inherited disorders. Paola's research team focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases with a particular emphasis on triplet repeat conditions. This implies the use of molecular and cell biology techniques and more recently, live imaging. Paola is an active major contributor to two European consortiums on focused on the natural history of the  inherited ataxias (EUROSCA and EFACTS) and is involved in the translation of basic research findings into the clinic for use in both diagnostic testing and therapeutic trials.She have been PI and Co-PI in multicentre multinational drug trials in Friedreich’s ataxia. One of these studies have identified a well tolerated dose of nicotinamide ( vit B3) that can address the causative deficit in this disorder. 

Teaching Summary

Paola's priority is research and clinical work, but also enjoys teaching, as she strongly believes in the transfer of knowledge to colleagues to create a work environment of clinical and scientific excellence. She has been regularly teaching SHOs, SpRs, Specialist Therapists, PhD students, Bsc and MSc students, formally and in clinical/scientific meetings at the Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and in other National and International Institutions.  She has been involved in teaching courses for more than a hundred doctors with good feedback.

Paola is an invited teacher to the following undergraduate and post graduate courses:
2006 she organised a teaching course for training neurologists on rating scales for ataxia, ICARS and FARS. This course has enabled the sponsor, Santhera Pharmaceutical Company, to unify the scores of the rating scale across investigators and roll out the large European multicentre drug trial study with Idebenone in patients with Friedreich’s ataxia, a rare genetic disorder. More than 30 persons attended with excellent feedback. She created as a teaching aid a CD so that the investigators in the trial could use her scoring scale as a reference. The CD has been used subsequently by the sponsor’s medical team to teach and enrol other new sites to the study.  
From 2008-to date she is teaching the SSC UCL 5th year students module
2009 to 2011   she has been invited to teach at the Postgraduate Medical Education Programme at Queen Mary Hospital, Sidcup.  
2011-to date she is teaching in the MSc Prenatal Genetics and Foetal Medicine Module:   Genetic Mechanism and Medical Genetics at UCL
2011-to date she is teaching in MSc course Neurology at IoN,UCL
2014 to date she is teaching in MSc Neuroscience at IoN
2014-to date she is teaching in MSc course Translational Neurology at IoN UCL
She is currently the first supervisor of four PhD students and Master students.

Academic Background
1993   Doctor of Philosophy Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza
1985   Doctor of Medicine Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza
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