Professor Patrick Chinnery, an expert in diseases that affect mitochondria – the ‘batteries’ that power our cells – has been appointed as Professor of Neurology and Head of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge. He will take up his appointment on 1 October.

Professor Chinnery is currently Professor of Neurogenetics at Newcastle University, a post he has held since 2004. He is a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Clinical Science and NIHR Senior Investigator, and was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2009. He has been Director of the Newcastle NIHR Biomedical Research Centre since 2008 and was appointed Director of the Institute of Genetic Medicine in Newcastle in 2010.

His principal research interest is in understanding the role of mitochondria in human disease, and developing new treatments for mitochondrial disorders. His laboratory will also be moving to Cambridge, to join the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit.

“I am honoured to have been elected Professor of Neurology at the University of Cambridge, and excited by the prospect of moving my laboratory to the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus,” says Professor Chinnery. “I look forward to developing new research collaborations across the University from my base in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences.”

His appointment follows the forthcoming retirement of Professor Alastair Compston as Professor of Neurology and Head of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences. Professor Compston was instrumental in the development of the drug Lemtrada, which last year received approval by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for use in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

Professor Patrick Maxwell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Cambridge, adds: “I am delighted that Patrick will be joining us later this year. He has built a strong reputation as an expert in mitochondrial diseases and for his leadership of the Newcastle NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. His experience and expertise will be invaluable to Cambridge, and I am sure will provide superb leadership across Clinical Neuroscience.

“At the same time, we are sorry to be saying goodbye to Alastair Compston. It is no exaggeration to say that his work on the development of Lemtrada has revolutionised the lives of people living with multiple sclerosis. Under his leadership, Clinical Neurosciences has flourished in an extraordinary way and the School is extremely grateful to him.”

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