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Pioneering geneticist Prof John Hardy receives knighthood in New Year Honours 2022

Hardy Connectome

Congratulations to Prof John Hardy (UK DRI Group Leader at UCL) who has been awarded a knighthood as part of the New Year Honours 2022. Prof Hardy’s groundbreaking studies on the genetics underlying Alzheimer’s has brought us closer to understanding the root causes of the disease, forming the foundations for many promising therapies currently in development.

The New Year Honours List 2022, published today (31 December 2021), demonstrates the remarkable efforts of 1278 people from across sport, healthcare, business, science and more throughout 2021 and beyond. Prof Hardy is honoured for ‘services to Human Health in Improving Understanding of Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases.’

On the announcement, Prof John Hardy, said:

“It is a great honour of course to get the knighthood and I’m of course very proud of the work we did working with families with Alzheimer’s disease collected by my Institute of Neurology colleague Dr Martin Rossor. I think we now know much more about what causes Alzheimer’s disease. But we also have to acknowledge that our work has not yet led to much better treatments. Hopefully the next period of clinical and basic research will start to make that important breakthrough.”

Prof Hardy FRS is a globally recognised figure in neurodegenerative disease research. In addition to his role as Group Leader at the UK DRI at UCL, Prof Hardy is Chair of the Molecular Biology of Neurological Disease at the UCL Institute of Neurology and a Member of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2009, won the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in 2016, and shared the prestigious Brain prize in 2018.

He has collaborated widely and, together with his co-workers, has deposited whole genome association data for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, motor neurone disease, Bipolar disease and controls in an open access format allowing direct interrogation by the scientific community. Together with Gerald Higgins, Hardy published the amyloid cascade hypothesis in the early nineties, which is still the major theory on how Alzheimer’s disease arises, placing amyloid beta at the centre of early harmful changes in the brain. The amyloid-targeting drug aducanumab was approved earlier this year for Alzheimer's in a landmark decision by the FDA in the US.

On the announcement, UK DRI Directors Prof Bart De Strooper and Dr Adrian Ivinson said:

“On behalf of the entire UK DRI community we warmly congratulate John on his knighthood. John is not only a mainstay of the neurodegeneration research community, contributing many seminal discoveries and insights over the years, but also a phenomenal leader and a terrific friend who cares for all those around him. We are delighted that his many contributions are being recognised—a richly deserved honour indeed—and look forward to seeing him in a suit.”

To find out more about Prof Hardy’s achievements, watch a 2020 interview from the Video Journal of Biomedicine. The full honours list is published at www.gov.uk/honours/honours-lists.


Article published: Friday 31 December 2021

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