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UK DRI Group Leader receives award for research harnessing the immune system to slow neurodegenerative conditions

Will Mc Ewan Award 3

Dr William McEwan, recently appointed Group Leader at UK DRI at Cambridge, has received the 2019 Lister Institute Research Prize for his work exploring protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases, and exploiting the immune system to develop treatments for these conditions.

Presented with the award by Prof Sir Alex Markham, Chairman of the Lister Institute, on Monday (24 February), Dr McEwan gave a seminar to his Cambridge colleagues outlining his recent research entitled ‘Immune control of protein aggregation in neurodegeneration’.  

A key early characteristic of most neurodegenerative conditions is the aggregation of misfolded proteins in the brain. For the past few decades, scientists and the pharmaceutical industry have made therapeutic attempts to stop this process and slow the progress of these devastating diseases, with little success. Dr McEwan's innovative work explores whether we can take advantage of the immune system to target the clumping of these proteins. By ‘teaching’ the body to recognise the misfolded structures as foreign threats, similar to a virus, it may be able to eliminate them at the early stages of disease. More information on Dr McEwan’s research can be found on his UK DRI research profile.

I am delighted to receive this prize. It will help enormously by providing flexible resources as I establish my group at the UK DRI. Dr Will McEwan, UK DRI at Cambridge

Research prizes awarded by The Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine are aimed at scientists in the early years of running their own groups, for whom the funding would make a significant difference to their work. Will was one of five who received the 2019 award, a lump sum of £250,000 which must be spent within a five-year period. There are up to six competitive awards per year which are made after a written application process and subsequent interview with members of the Scientific Advisory Committee. Find out more about how to apply on the Lister Institute website.

Will Mc Ewan Award

Banner image (left-right): Prof Sir Alex Markham (Chairman, Lister Institute), Sally Burtles (Director, Lister Institute), Dr Will McEwan, Prof Giovanna Mallucci (Centre Director, UK DRI at Cambridge), Prof Patrick Chinnery (Clinical Neurosciences Head of Department at Cambridge University)


Article published: 27 February 2020

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