Professor Ammar Al-Chalabi
King’s College, London
Finding causes of ALS, Epidemiology
Professor Ammar Al-Chalabi is Head of the Department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience at The Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute at King’s College London, and Neuropsychiatry Lead for the National Institute of Health Research Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre. He is a consultant neurologist, and Director of the King’s Motor Neuron Disease Care and Research Centre.
He leads the multinational EU (JPND) funded BRAIN-MEND consortium which looks for overlaps and differences in neurodegenerative diseases, and previously led the multinational STRENGTH consortium which uses basic and clinical science to find new ways to treat ALS.
He co-leads the international Project MinE Consortium which is undertaking whole genome sequencing of more than 22000 people, two thirds with ALS.
He has won numerous awards, including the Charcot Young Investigator Award from the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Sheila Essey Prize from the American Academy of Neurology, and was the subject of a biographical profile in the prestigious scientific journal The Lancet Neurology. He sits on multiple scientific advisory boards.
MND – where do we go from here?
One person in every 300 will develop MND, but because it significantly shortens life, MND appears to be rare. This poses a challenge for researchers because we need to study large numbers of people to understand what causes MND, why it affects each person differently, and what could be done to slow, stop or reverse it. Over the last 25 years, advances in mass communication, research technology, and computing power, mean that people with MND, scientists, and clinicians can work as a global research team, greatly accelerating the rate of progress. As a result, we now understand more about what causes MND than ever before, and we are beginning to develop treatments that go to the core of the disease process. Examples of these advances can be seen in how we measure MND, genetics, clinical trials, and the latest types of experimental treatments.