Institutional Research Information Service
UCL Logo
Please report any queries concerning the funding data grouped in the sections named "Externally Awarded" or "Internally Disbursed" (shown on the profile page) to your Research Finance Administrator. Your can find your Research Finance Administrator at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/research/post_award/post_award_contacts.php by entering your department
Please report any queries concerning the student data shown on the profile page to:

Email: portico-services@ucl.ac.uk

Help Desk: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/portico/helpdesk
 More search options
Prof Rohan de Silva
1 Wakefield Street
  • Professor of of Molecular Neuroscience
  • Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL Principal Supervisor,UCL Subsidiary Supervisor
Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

In the last two decades, the discovery of inherited gene defects in the familial forms of Alzheimers disease (AD), Parkinsons disease (PD) and frontotemporal dementias with parkinsonism (FTDP) and the study of the functions of their proteins within the context of the healthy and diseased neural cells has resulted in great leaps in our understanding of the pathogenic processes involved in these disorders. My research interest involves the tau (MAPT) and alpha-synuclein (SNCA) genes and their proteins in neurodegeneration. MAPT, which is mutated in familial FTDP liked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17), codes for tau, a neuronal microtubule binding protein. Insoluble fibrillar aggregates of tau (tangle pathology) characterise the intraneuronal pathological inclusions that are hallmarks of the group of related neurological disorders called the tauopathies. These include AD and FTDP-17, and the parkinsonian disorder, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). MAPT mutations affect either the microtubule-binding capacity, fibrillogenicity or the production of tau protein isoforms. In addition to mutations in genes such as SNCA and MAPT causing the inherited forms of PD and FTDP-17, respectively, it has been shown that common genetic variation in these genes modulate risk in the sporadic forms of these and related diseases. For long it has been recognised that the H1 haplotype of MAPT increases risk of PSP and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). We have been investigating the functional basis of this association and identified H1c, a sub-haplotype of H1, that accounts for the increased risk. We also observed that individuals with the H1c haplotype have higher MAPT transcription and production of the more fibrillogenic four-repeat isoforms of tau (4R-tau). As part of and MRC-funded 5-year research grant and a PhD studentship from the Alzheimers Research Trust (ART), we are currently investigating the regional expression of tau isoforms in PSP brains, depending on MAPT genotype (to understand if differences will explain the regional variations in vulnerability of neuronal populations) and regulation of MAPT transcription and splicing and the influence of the common genetic polymorphisms in MAPT, using cell culture models and proteomics approaches. We are coupling this work with array-based genomewide association and expression studies. In addition to genetic analysis and gene expression studies in postmortem brain, we are also investigating cellular aspects of alpha-synuclein function/dysfunction using cell culture models. We have potentially important evidence linking alpha-synuclein to mitochondrial function and endoplasmic reticulum stress responses.

01-OCT-2019 Professor of Molecular Neuroscience Queen Sq Institute of Neurology/Reta Lila Weston Institute University College London, United Kingdom
01-AUG-2007 – 30-SEP-2019 Reader in Neuroscience Queen Sq Institute of Neurology/Reta Lila Weston Institute UCL, United Kingdom
01-JUL-2005 – 31-AUG-2005 Visiting Researcher Neurogenetics Laboratory National Institute on Ageing/National Institutes of Health, United States
01-JAN-2003 – 30-JUL-2007 Honorary Lecturer/Honorary Senior Lecturer Reta Lila Weston Institute UCL Institute of Neurology, United Kingdom
01-AUG-2002 – 30-SEP-2002 Visiting Researcher Neurogenetics Laboratory Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, United States
01-JAN-1999 – 31-DEC-2002 Senior Research Fellow Reta Lila Weston Institute UCL Institute of Neurology, United Kingdom
01-JAN-1998 – 31-DEC-1998 Research Assessor   National Lotteries Charities Board, United Kingdom
01-SEP-1996 – 30-AUG-1999 Senior Research Fellow MRC Neurodegenerative Disorders Unit Imperial College School of Medicine, United Kingdom
01-AUG-1995 – 30-AUG-1996 Senior Research Fellow Molecular Genetics Laboratory Marie Curie Research Institute, United Kingdom
15-JAN-1993 – 01-JUN-1995 Teaching Assistant Division of Neurology Duke University Medical Center, United States
01-DEC-1991 – 15-JUN-1995 Research Associate Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Ctr Duke University Medical Center, United States
10-OCT-1986 – 10-OCT-1987 Research Assistant Institut für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie Universität Bern, Switzerland
Academic Background
1991   Doctor of Philosophy University of Oxford
1987   Licentiate Universitat Bern
Please report any queries concerning the data shown on this page to https://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/helpdesk/helpdesk_web_form.php
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999–2011

Search by