"The highly collaborative environment fostered by the DRI provides fantastic opportunities to work with and to learn from world-leading colleagues from a range of scientific backgrounds, making it the ideal setting to carry out clinical translational research." Philip Weston
UK DRI Emerging Leader
Dr Phil Weston is an academic neurologist, and joined the UK DRI Emerging Leader programme in 2023 under the sponsorship of Prof Nick Fox. Dr Weston completed undergraduate medical training at the University of Sheffield, including an intercalated BMedSci in cognitive neuroscience, before undertaking postgraduate medical training in London. He first joined UCL in 2013 to undertake a PhD on imaging and non-imaging biomarkers of early neurodegeneration in familial Alzheimer’s disease. Following completion of his higher specialist clinical training, Dr Weston recently returned to UCL after being awarded a Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust.
Dr Weston’s current research uses cutting-edge quantitative neuroimaging approaches, in both familial and sporadic human cohorts, to better characterize the nature, timing, and anatomical distribution of early microstructural cortical breakdown in Alzheimer’s disease, during the period preceding clinical symptoms. Using ultra-high field MRI to quantify changes including myelin breakdown and iron deposition, the project will provide new human data on early disease mechanisms, aiming to translate findings from non-human and in-vitro study, and improve understanding of how these factors influence cognitive decline. He will also use positron emission tomography (PET) and blood biomarkers to investigate how advanced MRI measures of early neuronal breakdown are related to/mediated by molecular pathology. By addressing these questions, he hopes to advance our understanding of AD, while also developing improved methods to detect and track changes over time, thereby helping improved design and endpoints for clinical trials.