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Prof Sarah Tabrizi
Huntington’s Disease Centre and Department of Neurodegenerative Disease
UCL Institute of Neurology
Box 104, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery Queen Square
  • Joint Head of Department of Neurodegenerative Disease
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Head of Department
Sarah Tabrizi graduated with First class honours in biochemistry, then medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1992 where she graduated with the Gold Medal for top student. She has worked on research into neurodegenerative diseases since her PhD as an MRC clinical training fellow at UCL. After clinical training, she obtained a DH National Clinician Scientist Fellowship in 2002 to work on protein misfolding at UCL. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer and Hon. Consultant Neurologist in 2003, and to Full Professor in 2009. In 2016, she founded the UCL Huntington’s Disease Centre where she is currently the Director. In addition to basic bench science which focuses on basic cellular mechanisms of neurodegeneration focusing on Huntington’s disease (HD), she also leads a large translational research programme in HD that is working towards finding effective disease-modifying treatments. She was the PI of TRACK-HD and Track-On HD, both major international research initiatives aimed at understanding the neurobiology of the neurodegenerative changes in premanifest and early stage HD gene carriers. She was the global clinical PI on the world’s first huntingtin lowering (or “gene silencing”) clinical trial for HD using anti-sense oligonucleotide therapy, sponsored by Ionis pharmaceuticals which started in 2015 and completed in 2017. She has published over 300 peer-reviewed publications to date, and her research work has been the subject of articles in NEJM, The Economist, Nature Outlook, Scientific American, and The Lancet.  She serves on several panels including the UK HD association, the European HD Network and NINDS/NIH. She co-founded, with Sir Michael Rawlins, the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for HD in 2010. In 2014, she was elected a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2017 she received the seventh Leslie Gehry Brenner Prize for Innovation in Science awarded by the Hereditary Disease Foundation. In 2018 and was appointed as a Principal Investigator at the UK Dementia Research Institute Hub, and was invited to act as Global Academic Lead for the Critical Path Institute’s Huntington’s Disease Regulatory Science Consortium (HD-RSC).
Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary
At UCL’s Institute of Neurology, Sarah leads a synergistic research programme in neurodegeneration from basic cellular mechanisms of protein misfolding to translational clinical research. Sarah has had a major research interest in Huntington’s disease (HD) since her PhD, and Sarah’s team is spearheading a major effort to develop and test new disease-modifying therapies for HD. Her work has identified a key role for the innate immune system in the pathogenesis of Huntington’s disease, we published the first assay of the mutant HD protein in human blood cells. Sarah designed and led two major, international, influential research initiatives, TRACK-HD and Track-On HD. To date these studies have yielded fundamental new insights into the preclinical phase of neurodegeneration in Huntington’s disease including identifying predictors of disease onset, progression, evidence of brain compensation and plasticity and neurobiological changes occurring twenty years before predicted disease onset, and her work  established a battery of clinical trial outcome measures.  Recently her research has identified an important new genetic modifier of disease progression in Huntington’s disease, which has opened up new avenues of research into targeting DNA repair pathways as possible therapeutics for Huntington’s disease.
Sarah was global clinical PI for the Ionis Pharmaceuticals sponsor ASO trial, a first into human clinical trial testing a huntingtin lowering (sometimes called ‘gene silencing’) drug, IONIS-HTTRx (RG6042), for Huntington’s disease. In collaboration with Ionis and Hoffman-LaRoche Ltd, an Open Label Extension study is now underway and planning has commenced for the pivotal Phase 3 trial. Sarah is involved in designing and leading clinical trials in Huntington’s disease and her research programme is translating HD research directly from the lab to patients with a programme that is ultimately aimed at preventing the neurodegenerative disease process itself.
Teaching Summary
Since 2003, Sarah has supervised 21 PhD students to completion. Sarah teaches on the MSc Clinical Neuroscience, MSc advanced NeuroImaging, MSc Dementia, MRes Translational Neurology and the MSc Clinical Neurology courses at the UCL Institute of Neurology. She also teaches on the MSc in Neuroscience at UCL. She regularly teaches on the Expert teaching Short Courses run by the UCL, Institute of Neurology; and the Federation of European Neuroscience Teaching courses. At UCLH Trust, she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate medical trainees on Neuroscience, Neurogenetics and Neurology. Her main teaching areas are in Neurogenetics, Huntingtons disease, and other inherited Neurodegenerative disorders.
OCT-2009 Professor of Clinical Neurology & Neurogenetics Department of Neurodegenerative Disease Institute of Neurology, Univeristy College London, United Kingdom
2007 – 2009 Reader inNeurology & Neurogenetics Department of Neurodegenerative Disease Institute of Neurology, UCL, United Kingdom
01-JAN-2003 – 01-FEB-2007 Clinical Senior Lecturer UK Department of Health National Clinician Scientist  , United Kingdom
01-FEB-2001 – 31-JAN-2002 Neurology Specialist Registrar Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, United Kingdom
01-APR-1999 – 31-JAN-2001 Neurology Specialist Registrar   The Royal Free Hospital, United Kingdom
01-APR-1996 – 31-MAR-1999 MRC Clinical Training Fellow for PhD Department of Clinical Neurosciences The Royal Free & University College School of Medicine, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2007 FRCP Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians – Neurology Royal College of Physicians
2000 PhD Doctor of Philosophy University College London
1995 MRCP Member of the Royal College of Physicians – Clinical Medicine Royal College of Physicians
1992 MB.ChB Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery – Clinical Medicine University of Edinburgh
1986 BSc Hons Bachelor of Science (Honours) – Biochemistry Heriot-Watt University
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