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- Garfield Weston Professor of Clinical Neurology & Neurorehabilitation
- Faculty of Brain Sciences
- School of Life & Medical Sciences
Alan Thompson is Dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, and Chair of the Neuroscience Programme for UCLP Academic Health Science Centre. He is an NIHR Senior Investigator, and an honorary consultant neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square. Alan Thompson has an H-index of 99 (Research ID C-2654-2008), and is ranked 76th out of 5444 in the Essential Science Indicators section for Neuroscience and Behavior. He received his undergraduate degrees in 1979 and MD in 1985 from Trinity College Dublin, was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015, FRCP in 1994, FRCPI in 1995, FAAN in 2009, FANA in 2013, and received an honorary doctorate from Hasselt University, Belgium, in 2008. He was awarded the 'Pioneer of the Nation' award at Buckingham Palace in 2003. His MD thesis on immunological and biochemical markers of disease activity in multiple sclerosis (MS) demonstrated for the first time active demyelination shown by the detection of breakdown products of myelin basic protein in the CSF in the absence of clinical symptoms. His post-doctorate research has been at the UCL Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital, Queen Square, where he carried out the first serial MRI studies of the natural history of individual disease groups in MS, demonstrating the value of MRI in monitoring the disease process, and developed protocols used internationally for the use of MRI in assessing the effectiveness of new treatments. He has developed MR techniques which improve pathological specificity, and developed techniques for measuring spinal cord atrophy and cerebral atrophy (indicating axonal loss). He has identified the unique characteristics of the primary progressive MS group, and is a member of a group of international experts who defined diagnostic criteria for MS in 2001, 2005 and 2010. In 2013 he was part of an expert group which looked at phenotypes in multiple sclerosis and redefined the course of the disease. In 1998 Alan Thompson was appointed to the first chair of Clinical Neurology and Neurorehabilitation in the UK, and in 2007 established and led the Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation at the UCL Institute of Neurology. He chaired MSIF's International Medical and Scientific Board until 2015, Chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee for the International Progressive MS Alliance (PMSA), is a member of the National MS Society (USA)'s Research Programs Advisory Committee, a Guarantor of Brain, and editor-in-chief of Multiple Sclerosis Journal.
Uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate the underlying pathology of multiple sclerosis (MS), measure brain atrophy, and establish reliable markers for disease progression and extent of disability. Methods are being developed to measure grey matter atrophy and abnormalities accurately, which, when incorporated into clinical trials as an outcome measure, will allow effective treatments to be identified, and show the likely relationship between grey matter atrophy and physical disability and cognitive impairment.
With Professor Olga Ciccarelli studies mechanisms of damage in acute lesions affecting the motor tracts and, in particular, the effect they have on the axons that traverse them. New research hopes to establish the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in MS and whether the reversibility of mitochondrial dysfunction causes clinical improvement in MS patients. Leads research to define the imaging characteristics, diagnostic criteria, and underlying disease progression for primary progressive multiple sclerosis, using a unique cohort of patients.
With Dr Ahmed Toosy studies structural/functional recovery mechanisms following optic neuritis to develop new strategies to enhance recovery and identify effective treatments. Collaborates with Dr Patrick Freund and team using imaging to identify morphometric changes which may predict clinical recovery after spinal cord injury. Supports Bernadette Porter, MS Nurse Consultant, in developing NeuroResponse, providing high quality telecare to patients with MS.
Within the Faculty of Brain Sciences leads comprehensive programmes of research in dementia and mental health. As Chair of the Neuroscience Programme for the UCLP Academic Health Science Centre, bringing together researchers and patients groups to enhance information flow, transparency, and clinical effectiveness. Research into neurodegenerative disease is developing to create a dedicated national resource for testing novel therapies. Using a combination of novel biomarkers, at-risk cohorts, and sensitive and precise measures of progression, early proof of concept studies are planned to identify potential disease-modifying therapies. As UCLP Programme Director for Neurological Disorders held overview of improvements in stroke outcome in the London area and establishment of a quality metric across the area. Jointly led on a unified brain cancer service in North Central London culminating in a unified, single-site neurosurgical service and a dedicated Brain Tumour Centre for North Central London, and a collaborative research programme with the Cancer Institute. Established an Academic Medical Centre in Neuroscience, and a Dementia Strategy Board.
Work on Neurological Outcome Measures focused on the development, evaluation, and application of rating scales to measure health outcomes, predominantly from the patient's perspective. Amongst the achievements are the MS Walking Scale, which contributed to the recent approval of a symptomatic treatment for MS (Fampridine), validation of a generic walking scale, and the MS Impact Scale (MSIS-29 with Professor Jeremy Hobart). The MS Impact Scale and the MS Walking Scale are used in clinical trials and epidemiological studies world-wide.
In neurological disability management, Alan Thompson has worked on Quality Standards (2005); the MS World Atlas (with WHO/MSIF, 2008, 2011), and the Global Economic Study (with MSIF, 2010). He was a member of the WHO International Committee for Diagnostic Criteria, leading on MS, and is a member of the WHO International Advisory Group for the revision of ICD-10/ICD-11, Diseases of the Nervous System, leading the development of a new section for multiple sclerosis.
Involved in multidisciplinary teaching to researchers, medical students, post-graduate students, nurses and therapists, focusing on MRI, neurorehabilitation, and the management of disability, with special focus on multiple sclerosis.
Participates in short courses run by Institute of Neurology.
As Director of Institute of Neurology fostered growth of the Education Unit to establish a four-year PhD programme in Clinical Neuroscience, a new MSc course in Advanced Neuroimaging, an online MSc for neurology trainees, and developing a distance learning postgraduate diploma in neuroscience (e-Brain) with the Joint Neurosciences Council and the EFNS. Within the CBRC launched an MSc in Translational Medicine.
Established National Treasure post in neurorehabilitation and curriculum for neurology SpRs in last year of training.
Involved in production of educational materials for patients relating to diagnosis, treatment and management of MS for the MS Society, MSIF, and the MS Trust.
International teaching role: Teaches regularly in courses and workshops on neurorehabilitation, outcome measurement, MRI, and diagnosis and management of multiple sclerosis aimed at researchers, physicians, specialist nurses, therapists, and patient groups. Named lectures include the ECTRIMS Lecture (2015), the Don Paty Memorial Lecture (2015), the Charcot Lecture (2014), the Pringle Lecture (2011), Gowers Memorial Lecture (2009), BS Singhal Oration (2007).
Has edited textbooks on multiple sclerosis and rehabilitation.
|2014||Director, Neuroscience Programme||Neuroscience||UCL Partners, United Kingdom|
|01-AUG-2011||Dean||Faculty of Brain Sciences, SLMS||University College London, United Kingdom|
|01-MAR-2011 – 01-AUG-2011||Transitional Dean||Faculty of Biomedical Sciences||University College London, United Kingdom|
|01-NOV-2010||Interim Chair||Neuroscience Domain, SLMS||University College London, United Kingdom|
|2009 – 2012||Programme Director||Neurological Disorders Theme||UCL Partners Academic Health Science Centre, United Kingdom|
|01-APR-2008 – 03-JAN-2012||Director||Institute of Neurology||University College London, United Kingdom|
|2008 – 2016||Senior Investigator||National Institute for Health Research||DOH, United Kingdom|
|2006 – 2010||Deputy Director||Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre||NIHR, United Kingdom|
|2006 – 2008||Deputy Director||Joint UCLH/UCL R&D Unit||, United Kingdom|
|2003 – 2007||Divisional Clinical Director||Neurosciences||National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, United Kingdom|
|1998||Garfield Weston Professor of Clin Neurol/Neurorehabilitation||Institute of Neurology||University College London, United Kingdom|
|1990||Honorary Consultant Neurologist||Neurology||National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, United Kingdom|
|1995||FRCP||Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians – Medicine||Royal College of Physicians of Ireland|
|1994||FRCP||Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians – Medicine||Royal College of Physicians|
|1985||MD||Doctor of Medicine – Medicine||Trinity College Dublin|
|1979||BA||Bachelor of Arts – Medicine/Surgery||Trinity College Dublin|
|1979||BAO||Bachelor of the Arts of Obstetrics – Obstetrics and Gynaecology||Trinity College Dublin|