UCL Neurology professor wins prestigious $3 million prize

UCL Neurology professor wins prestigious $3 million prize

Daniele Palmer reports on the latest accolade to be awarded to a UCL professor

Professor John Hardy, through his research into the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s disease, has just won the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, worth $3 million.

The Breakthrough Prize was founded in 2013 by several notable members of the scientific community, including Sergey Brin of Google and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. It rewards research into mathematics, physics and the life sciences which reveals ‘worlds far beyond the everyday scale,’ asking fundamental questions about existence, and giving important explanations.

Professor Hardy has been honoured for his accomplishments in the study of neurodegenerative disorders, in particular Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Through work done and help provided by the Alzheimer’s Research UK Drug Discovery Institute, the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre, and the Institute of Neurology, he and his colleagues hope to begin to understand possible effective treatments for Alzheimer’s. Hardy says, through the help of the scientific community, “I feel we can beat these diseases”.

Professor Hardy is the first UK-based researcher to have been awarded the Breakthrough Life Sciences prize.

UCL President and Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, has described the UCL researcher as a “humble and hard-working scientist…[who does] pioneering work into the genetics of Alzheimer’s”.

Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, says that Hardy’s and his colleagues’ work has “laid the foundations for much of the broad base of dementia research that takes place at UCL today”.

Of the $3 million prize, Professor Hardy has decided to give £50,000 to match donations toward the construction of the new Dementia Research Institute at UCL. It is hoped that this donation will further the fundamental research that is already starting to bear fruits.

Featured image credit: Archibald Tuttle

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