A fond farewell to Cambridge Centre Director Prof Giovanna Mallucci

Giovanna Mallucci Lab 3 Crop

The UK DRI is bidding a fond farewell to colleague and friend Prof Giovanna Mallucci, who will be moving on from the Institute in March 2022. As founding Centre Director at Cambridge, Prof Mallucci has established an outstanding research facility focused on unravelling the earliest stages of neurodegeneration and driving the search for new dementia therapies.

Giovanna Mallucci joined the UK DRI at Cambridge as Centre Director in 2017, where she was the van Geest Professor of Clinical Neurosciences. Having trained originally as a neurologist, Prof Mallucci has become one of the world’s leading researchers in neurodegeneration, evidenced by her election as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2017 and receipt of the prestigious Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick's, Alzheimer's and Related Diseases in 2021.

Being part of the UK DRI, from its inception through to its blossoming into the thriving vibrant Institute it has so quickly become, has been a privilege and a pleasure. Prof Giovanna Mallucci

Prof Mallucci’s interest in the underlying mechanisms of neurodegeneration has formed strong foundations for the UK DRI Centre at Cambridge, with an exceptional portfolio of discovery and translational research in place. A brilliant multidisciplinary team has been assembled consisting of seven Group Leaders and one Emerging Leader tackling a range of core research themes, including protein aggregation, synapse dysfunction and dyregulated homeostasis, including autophagy, proteostasis and DNA repair.

On the announcement, Prof Giovanna Mallucci, said:

“Being part of the UK DRI, from its inception through to its blossoming into the thriving vibrant Institute it has so quickly become, has been a privilege and a pleasure. Leading the Cambridge Centre in particular has been a truly formative experience and I leave my wonderful colleagues and friends with reluctance. Joining ALTOS now brings extraordinary opportunities and ushers a new era of scientific endeavour and collaboration that I hope will see new and continued interactions with the UK DRI.”

6  Giovanna Thanks

Prof Mallucci will be leaving UK DRI to take up an exciting opportunity at a new biotechnical company, Altos Labs, in its Cambridge Institute. This ambitious new initiative will pursue the biology around cellular rejuvenation programming and restoration of cellular health and resilience, with the goal of reversing disease to transform medicine. As ageing is the biggest risk factor for dementia, novel insights, technologies and therapies developed in this area also have the potential to benefit millions of people worldwide living with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

UK DRI Directors Prof Bart De Strooper and Dr Adrian Ivinson said:

“We cannot thank Giovanna enough for all her hard work and support in these vital early years of the UK DRI. She leaves behind a fantastic legacy in the UK DRI at Cambridge, not only in its outstanding programmes of discovery research but also its ethos to bring life-changing therapies to the clinic. Thanks to Giovanna, our Cambridge centre is in a fantastic position to take the next steps!

We are certainly sorry to see Giovanna move on but understand the draw of such an exciting new opportunity. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside her in shaping the Institute, and we look forward to collaborating together on our shared goals for healthy ageing and much-needed treatments for dementia.”

We would like to thank UK DRI Group Leader Prof David Rubinsztein who is well placed to take charge as Interim Centre Director at Cambridge. The experience that Prof Rubinsztein, a Fellow of the Royal Society and Academy of Medical Sciences, brings to the role will ensure continued leadership and a smooth transition during recruitment.

We look forward to working with long-standing partners at the University of Cambridge as we begin the search for a new Centre Director shortly. The role will be posted on the University website and UK DRI jobs page.

Article published: 20 January 2022