Professor Siddharthan Chandran appointed as new Director of the UK DRI

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We are delighted to announce that Prof Siddharthan Chandran, a world-leading expert in neurodegenerative diseases, will become the new Director of UK DRI from 1 October 2023.

Prof Chandran is a clinician-scientist at the forefront of the emerging discipline of Regenerative Neurology. He is renowned for his pioneering work in motor neuron and neurodegenerative disease research—work that bridges the gap between the laboratory and the clinic. He is currently a Group Leader at the UK DRI at Edinburgh where his lab uses patient-derived pluripotent stem cells to study motor neuron disease and frontotemporal dementia.

"My vision is to grow the UK DRI into a world-leading beacon for innovation, discovery and translation for dementia." Prof Siddharthan Chandran, incoming UK DRI Director

On his appointment, Prof Siddharthan Chandran said:

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead the UK DRI whose ultimate aim is to transform the outlook for people at risk of or living with dementia and related neurodegenerative conditions. The UK DRI is the science discovery engine that underpins the entire UK dementia ecosystem.

My vision is to grow the UK DRI into a world-leading beacon for innovation, discovery and translation for dementia."

Alongside his UK DRI research, Prof Chandran is Dean of Clinical Medicine, Director of Edinburgh Neuroscience, the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neuron Disease Research and the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at the University of Edinburgh. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Prof Chandran possesses impressive leadership skills, a thorough knowledge of the UK policy landscape, and an understanding of what is needed for science to thrive both in the UK and internationally. His own work is already transforming the lives of people affected by MND through the innovative MND-SMART clinical trial, dramatically speeding up the delivery of new treatments for the disease.

William Rucker, Chair of the UK DRI Board of Trustees, said:

“I am thrilled to welcome Professor Chandran into the role of Director of the UK DRI. I have every confidence that he is the best person to lead the Institute into its next exciting phase, building on its already impressive portfolio of successes. Siddharthan’s knowledge of the UK DRI will prove invaluable. He is already leading by example in his own work, both in the lab and beyond, and I look forward to working closely with him to elevate the UK DRI to the next level.”

Prof Chandran was selected as the new UK DRI Director after a comprehensive international search. In addition to leading the Institute, Prof Chandran will maintain an active research laboratory, continuing his critical work on understanding and preventing neurodegenerative diseases.

The UK DRI is delighted to welcome Professor Chandran into his new role.

Dr Rob Buckle, Medical Research Council Chief Science Officer said:

“Professor Siddharthan Chandran’s leadership of the UK DRI comes at a pivotal time for neurodegeneration research, with recent advances in diagnosis and disease-modifying treatment renewing hope of progress in tackling dementia. With a strong background in lab-based and clinical research, coupled with an exciting and ambitious vision for the Institute, Siddharthan will ensure the UK DRI is at the forefront of the drive to unravel the complexities of neurodegenerative conditions and pursue the partnerships necessary to turn research into real impact for those affected by these debilitating conditions.”

Jo Pisani, UK DRI Trustee, said:

“I am delighted that Professor Chandran is taking on the role of Director of the UK DRI. With his leadership experience, passion and expertise, I have no doubt that he will steer the Institute towards new and ground-breaking advancements in understanding, treating, and ultimately defeating dementia – ushering in a new era of hope for the millions affected by this challenging condition.”

Dr Michael Spence, UCL President & Provost, said:

“I am delighted that the appointment of Professor Siddharthan Chandran will further enrich UCL’s strong tradition of research excellence and collaboration. Our UK DRI centre sits within the world-leading UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, and UCL is also home to the UK DRI’s national headquarters. This is an exciting time for UCL neuroscience, and Siddharthan’s appointment will provide valuable opportunities for us to further develop the scientific breakthroughs that are revolutionising our understanding of dementia.”

Article published: 14 June 2023
Banner image credit: James Duncan Davidson