Twelve UCL academics elected to Academy of Medical Sciences

UCL Elected Fellows
UCL Elected Fellows
Twelve UCL academics have been elected Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the advancement of biomedical and health science, pioneering research and translating developments into benefits for patients and wider society.

UCL has more new AMS Fellows this year than any other university.

Professors Dame Lyn Chitty DBE, Mehul Dattani, and Ruth Gilbert (all UCL GOS Institute of Child Health), Professor Jugnoo Rahi (UCL GOS Institute of Child Health and Institute of Ophthalmology) Professors Olga Ciccarelli, Henry Houlden, and Ley Sander (all UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology), Professor Aroon Hingorani (UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science), Professors Helen Lachmann and Stuart Taylor (both UCL Medicine), Professor Troy Margrie (Sainsbury Wellcome Centre at UCL) and Professor Claudia Mauri (UCL Infection & Immunity) are among 59 influential biomedical and health scientists elected to the Fellowship this year.

Fellows are drawn from institutions across the UK and their breadth of expertise ranges from molecular imaging to biostatistics to public health policy. This year’s elected scientists join a prestigious Fellowship of 1,400 esteemed researchers who are central to the Academy’s work. 

The academics from UCL are:

Professor Dame Lyn Chitty DBE (UCL GOS Institute of Child Health)

Professor Chitty has been based at UCL’s GOS Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) since the 1980s and is the UK’s only Professor of Genetics and Fetal Medicine. She has pioneered research into rapid and non-invasive prenatal diagnosis, offering families lower risk options to find out about the health of their unborn child. 

Professor Mehul Dattani (UCL GOS Institute of Child Health)

Mehul Dattani is Professor of paediatric endocrinology based at the UCL’S GOS Institute of Child Health and has, until recently, been the specialty lead in endocrinology at GOSH. As a consultant in paediatric endocrinology at GOSH, University College London Hospital and at several national and international outreach clinics, he has established a large clinical practice of children with various endocrine disorders. His research has made significant inroads into the understanding and management of rare paediatric endocrine disorders.  

Professor Ruth Gilbert (UCL GOS Institute of Child Health)

Professor Ruth Gilbert is a clinical epidemiologist, who trained in paediatrics. Currently, she is the Co-Director of the National Institute for Health and Care Research’s (NIHR) Children and Families Policy Research Unit. Much of her research uses de-identified, administrative data to address clinical and policy questions related to the health of children and families. 

Professor Jugnoo Rahi (UCL GOS Institute of Child Health and Institute of Ophthalmology) 

Professor Jugnoo Rahi is a paediatric ophthalmologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital and an epidemiologist. She is a Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology at UCL’s GOS Institute of Child Health and Institute of Ophthalmology, leading the Vision and Eyes Group. Professor Rahi’s group focuses on improving visual health and addressing eye disease and visual impairment in childhood alongside the early life origins of and life course influences on chronic complex eye conditions and visual health in adult life.

Professor Olga Ciccarelli (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology)

Olga Ciccarelli is a NIHR Research Professor of Neurology, Head of the Department of Neuroinflammation at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, and Lead of the NIHR BRC Neuroscience Theme. Her research goal is to develop an AI-based model that predicts individual treatment responses in patients with multiple sclerosis. This crucial information will help patients to select the most appropriate treatment for them.

Professor Henry Houlden (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology)

Professor Henry Houlden has clinical expertise in inherited neurological disorders and movement disorders such as multiple system atrophy (MSA), ataxia, epilepsy, cognitive disorders and neuromuscular conditions. He is particularly interested in genetically diverse, underrepresented populations. His research laboratory has a focus on repeat expansions, rare diseases and gene discovery using the latest technologies such as long-read sequencing.

Professor Ley Sander (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology)

Ley Sander is a Professor of Neurology and Head of the Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy at UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. He is also a consultant neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, with a specialist interest in epilepsy and its epidemiological aspects. He has a keen interest in global health and is involved in research programmes in China, Africa and Latin America.

Professor Aroon Hingorani (UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science) 

Aroon Hingorani is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, Director of the UCL British Heart Foundation Research Accelerator and Cardiovascular Theme Lead for the UCL NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. His work focuses on the use of genetic studies in populations as a tool to identify and validate drug targets, using the Mendelian randomisation principle, to improve efficiency in pharmaceutical development.

Professor Helen Lachmann (UCL Medicine)

Professor Helen Lachmann specialises in the autoinflammatory diseases and amyloidosis: a group of rare, serious conditions caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body. Based at UCL’s Division of Medicine, her  main scientific interests are focused on the observable characterisation and treatment of  the inherited and acquired systemic autoinflammatory conditions.

Professor Stuart Taylor (UCL Medicine)

Professor Stuart Taylor is an academic clinical radiologist specialising in gastrointestinal and oncological imaging. His current research interests include the use of MRI and ultrasound in the prediction of histological markers of activity in Crohn’s disease. He is currently present on the British Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiology (BSGAR) and sits on the executive committee on the European Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiology (ESGAR).

Professor Troy Margrie (Sainsbury Wellcome Centre at UCL) 

Troy Margrie is a Professor of Systems Neuroscience and Associate Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre at UCL. Professor Margrie’s research is focused on understanding how the activity of cells and circuits contribute to sensory representation, decision-making and behaviour. His lab works almost exclusively on mice, which offer a tractable experimental system for establishing causal relationships between the functional connectivity of mammalian neuronal circuits and behaviour.

Professor Claudia Mauri (UCL Infection & Immunity)

Claudia Mauri is Professor of Immunology at UCL’s School of Life and Medical Sciences. Her main research focuses on the identification, functional analysis and the genetical characterisation of regulatory B cells which support immunological tolerance. Her complementary interest includes the understanding of the cause of the loss of regulation of immune responses (regulatory B and T cells), which may be the cause of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Professor David Lomas, UCL Vice Provost (Health), said: "I am delighted that the latest cohort of UCL Fellows demonstrates the quality and breadth of expertise within UCL Health with fabulous work being done in genetics and fetal medicine through to systems neuroscience and autoinflammatory diseases.

"Each of the twelve new fellows from UCL has made an outstanding contribution to biomedical science. Congratulations to each of them on this well-deserved accolade."

Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Co-Director of UCL Health of the Public, congratulated the new Fellows, saying: "These new Fellows are pioneering biomedical research and driving life-saving improvements in healthcare, from understanding the spread of infectious diseases to developing mental health interventions. It’s a pleasure to recognise and celebrate their exceptional talent by welcoming them to the Fellowship.

"This year, we are celebrating our 25th anniversary. The Fellowship is our greatest asset, and their broad expertise and dynamic ability has shaped the Academy to become the influential, expert voice of health. As we look to the future, the collective wisdom our new Fellows bring will be pivotal in achieving our mission to create an open and progressive research sector to improve the health of people everywhere."