Professor Rickie Patani

Tel: 020 3448 3774
Fax: 020 3448 3111

National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery

Motor Neuron Diseases, Neurology and neurosurgery

Professional background

Professor Rickie Patani is a physician scientist with over a decade of direct experience working on human induced pluripotent stem cell models of neurodegeneration. Rickie obtained his BSc (in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience) and MBBS from Imperial College London in 2004.

He gained MRCP in 2007 and a PhD in Human Stem Cell Neurobiology from Cambridge University in 2011, funded by a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellowship. While completing his higher clinical training in Neurology, he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinician Scientist Fellowship and started his research group at UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology in 2013. Rickie gained MRCP (Neurology) in 2015 and was appointed Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square in 2017. Rickie's lab moved to the Francis Crick Institute in 2017, where they continue to work primarily on human induced pluripotent stem cell models of neurodegeneration, with particular focus on the themes of RNA metabolism and cellular autonomy.

In 2018, Rickie was elected Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and secured an MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship. Rickie was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018 and subsequently full Professor in 2019. The Patani Lab have a diverse portfolio of public engagement activities (see the group's twitter account @PataniLab for more information).

Research interests

The Patani laboratory is based at the Francis Crick Institute ( His research group study diseases of the nervous system, focusing on motor neuron disease (ALS) and dementia. In ALS, patients lose the ability to move, eat, speak and ultimately breathe. ALS is untreatable because we do not understand the underlying cause(s) of disease.

In order to understand disease mechanisms, we use human stem cells generated from real patients. With over a decade of experience using this technology, the Patani Lab can now transform stem cells from patients into human nerve cells and, separately, their support cells (called glia). This approach allows the research team to determine the sequence of disease-related events within particular cell types. The overarching goal of the Patani Lab is to identify precisely what goes wrong, when this begins and in which cell type. They specifically focus on how the following three factors contribute to nerve cell death in ALS:

  • Messages called RNAs, which are made from our DNA blueprint
  • Astrocytes, which are star-shaped cells that normally support nerve cells
  • Ageing, which is the biggest risk factor for many neurodegenerative diseases including ALS

The more that is understood about human neurological diseases using this approach, the more progress will be made to therapeutically target underlying disease mechanisms. The Patani Lab ultimately wish to use this new information to benefit patients with untreatable neurological diseases.


  1. Thelin EP, Hall CE, Tyzack GE, Frostell A, Giorgi-Coll S, Alam A, Carpenter KLH, Mitchell J, Tajsic T, Hutchinson PJ, Patani R*, Helmy A*. Delineating Astrocytic Cytokine Responses in a Human Stem Cell Model of Neural Trauma. J Neurotrauma. 2019 Sep 18. doi: 10.1089/neu.2019.6480.(*Joint senior author)
  1. Tyzack GE, Luisier R, Taha DM, Neeves J, Modic M, Mitchell JS, Meyer I, Greensmith L, Newcombe J, Ule J, Luscombe NM*, Patani R*. Widespread FUS mislocalization is a molecular hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Brain. 2019 Sep 1;142(9):2572-2580. doi: 10.1093/brain/awz217
  1. Malik B, Devine H, Patani R, La Spada AR, Hanna MG, Greensmith L. Gene expression analysis reveals early dysregulation of disease pathways and links Chmp7 to pathogenesis of spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy. Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 5;9(1):3539. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40118-3.
  1. Ziff OJ, Patani R*. Harnessing cellular aging in human stem cell models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Aging Cell. 2018 e12862.
  1. Luisier R, Tyzack GE, Hall CE, Mitchell JS, Devine H, Taha DM, Malik B, Meyer I, Greensmith L, Newcombe J, Ule J, Luscombe NM*, Patani R*. Intron retention and nuclear loss of SFPQ are molecular hallmarks of ALS. Nature Communications. 2018 May 22;9(1):2010.
  1. Peskett TR, Rau F, O’Driscoll J, Patani R, Lowe R, Saibil HR. A liquid to solid phase transition underlying pathological huntingtin exon1 aggregation. Molecular Cell. 2018 May 17;70(4):588-601.e6.
  1. Maffioletti SM, Sarcar S, Henderson ABH, Mannhardt I, Pinton L, Moyle LA, Steele-Stallard H, Cappellari O, Wells KE, Ferrari G, Mitchell JS, Tyzack GE, Kotiadis VN, Khedr M, Ragazzi M, Wang W, Duchen MR, Patani R, Zammit PS, Wells DJ, Eschenhagen T, Tedesco FS.Three-Dimensional Human iPSC-Derived Artificial Skeletal Muscles Model Muscular Dystrophies and Enable Multilineage Tissue Engineering. Cell Reports. 2018 Apr 17;23(3):899-908.
  1. Kelley KW, Ben Haim L, Schirmer L, Tyzack GE, Tolman M, Miller JG, Tsai HH, Chang SM, Molofsky AV, Yang Y, Patani R, Lakatos A, Ullian EM, Rowitch DH.Kir4.1-Dependent Astrocyte-Fast Motor Neuron Interactions Are Required for Peak Strength. Neuron. 2018 Apr 18;98(2):306-319.e7.
  1. Serio A*, Patani R*. ‘The Cellular Conspiracy of ALS’. Stem Cells. 2018 Mar;36(3):293-303. doi: 10.1002/stem.2758. Epub 2017 Simone R, Balendra R, Moens TG, Preza E, Wilson KM, Heslegrave A, Jaramillo JG, Abdelkarim S, Clarke M, Woodling NS…. Patani R*, Fratta P*, Isaacs AM*. ‘G-quadruplex-binding small molecules ameliorate C9orf72 FTD/ALS pathology in vitro and in vivo’. EMBO Molecular Medicine 2017 (in press; * joint senior author).
  1. Tyzack GE, Hall CE, Sibley CR, Cymes T, Forostyak S, Carlino G, Meyer I, Schiavo G, Zhang SC, Gibbons GM, Newcombe J, Patani R*, Lakatos A* ‘EphB1 is a neuronal signal that induces a neuroprotective astrocyte state, but fails in ALS’ Nature Communications 2017 Oct 27;8(1):1164. (*Joint senior author).
  1. Thelin EP, Hall CE, Gupta K, Carpenter KLH, Chandran S, Hutchinson PJ, Patani R*, Helmy A*. Elucidating pro-inflammatory cytokine responses following traumatic brain injury in a human stem cell model. Journal of Neurotrauma 2017 Oct 5. doi: 10.1089/neu.2017.5155. (*Joint senior author).
  1. Hall CE, Yao Z, Choi M, Tyzack GE, Serio A, Luisier R, Harley J, Preza E, Arber C, Crisp SJ, Watson PMD, Kullmann DM, Abramov AY, Wray S, Burley R, Loh SHY, Martins LM, Stevens MM, Luscombe NM, Sibley C, Lakatos A, Ule J, Gandhi S*, Patani R*. ‘Progressive motor neuron pathology and the role of astrocytes in a human stem cell model of VCP-related ALS’. Cell Reports 2017 May 30;19(9):1739-1749.
  1. Soreq L, UK Brain Expression Consortium, North American Brain Expression Consortium, Rose J, Soreq E, Hardy J, Trabzuni D, Cookson MR, Smith C, Ryten M, Patani R*, Ule J*. ‘Major shifts in glial regional identity are a transcriptional hallmark of human brain aging’. Cell Reports 2017 Jan 10;18(2):557-570. (*Joint senior author).
  1. Devine H, Patani R*. ‘The Translational Potential of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Clinical Neurology’. Cell Biology and Toxicology 2017 Apr;33(2):129-144.
  1. Qiu J, McQueen J, Bilican B, Dando O, Magnani D, Punovuori K, Selvaraj BT, Livesey M, Haghi G, Heron S, Burr K, Patani R et al. ‘Evidence for evolutionary divergence of activity-dependent gene expression in developing neurons.’ Elife. 2016 Oct 1;5. pii: e20337.
  1. Smethurst P, Newcombe J, Troakes C, Simone R, Chen YR, Patani R, Sidle K. ‘In vitro prion-like behaviour of TDP-43 in ALS’. Neurobiol Dis. 2016 S0969-9961(16)30195-4.
  1. Tyzack G, Lakatos A*, Patani R*. ‘Human Stem Cell-Derived Astrocytes: Specification and Relevance for Neurological Disorders’. Current Stem Cell Reports 2016 2:236-247.
  1. Zirra A, Wiethoff S, Patani R*. ‘Neural conversion and patterning of human pluripotent stem cells: a developmental perspective’. Stem Cells International 2016 8291260. doi: 10.1155/2016/8291260.
  1. Balendra R, Patani R*. ‘Quo vadis MND?’. World J Methodol. 2016 26;6(1):56-64.
  1. Rzechorzek NM, Connick P, Livesey MR, Borooah S, Patani R, Burr K, Story D, Wyllie DJ, Hardingham GE, Chandran S. Hypothermic Preconditioning Reverses Tau Ontogenesis in Human Cortical Neurons and is Mimicked by Protein Phosphatase 2A Inhibition. EBioMedicine. 2015 Dec 12;3:141-54.
  1. Patani R*. Generating Diverse Spinal Motor Neuron Subtypes from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cells International 2016 1036974. doi: 10.1155/2016/1036974.
  1. Rzechorzek NM, Connick P, Patani R, Selvaraj BT, Chandran S. Hypothermic Preconditioning of Human Cortical Neurons Requires Proteostatic Priming. EBioMedicine. 2015 Apr 11;2(6):528-35.
  1. Wiethoff S, Arber C, Li A, Wray S, Houlden H, Patani R. Using human induced pluripotent stem cells to model cerebellar disease: Hope and hype. J Neurogenet. 2015 Jun-Sep;29(2- 3):95-102.
  1. Samani A, Davagnanam I, Cockerell OC, Ramsay A, Patani R*, Chataway J* ‘Lymphomatosis Cerebri – a Treatable Cause of Rapidly Progressive Dementia’ Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 2014 May (* Joint senior authors).
  1. Reimer MM, Norris A, Ohnmacht J, Patani R, Zhong Z, Dias TB, Kuscha V, Scott AL, Chen Y, Rozov S, Frazer SL, Wyatt C, Higashijima S, Patton EE, Panula P, Chandran S, Becker T, Becker CG ‘Dopamine/D4a signaling from the brain augments spinal motor neuron generation during development and adult regeneration via hedgehog pathway activation’. Developmental Cell 2013 Jun 10;25(5):478-91.
  1. Patani R, Muhammed N, Chaudhuri A. ‘Flexor Hallucis Brevis Syndrome’. Muscle and Nerve 2013 Jun;47(6):939.
  1. Athappily C*, Patani R*, Chawda S, Rosser E, de Silva R. ‘TS or not TS’. Practical Neurology 2013 Aug;13(4):268-70. (* Joint first authors).
  1. Shribman S*, Patani R*, Deeb J, Chaudhuri A. ‘Voltage gated potassium channelopathy: an expanding spectrum of clinical phenotypes’. BMJ Case Reports 2013 Jan 10;2013. (* Joint first authors).
  1. Patani R, Chandran S. ‘Experimental and therapeutic opportunities for stem cells in multiple sclerosis’ International Journal of Molecular Science. 2012 Nov 8;13(11):14470-91.
  1. Patani R, Lewis PA, Trabzuni D, Puddifoot CA, Wyllie DJ, Walker R, Smith C, Hardingham GE, Weale M, Hardy J, Chandran S, Ryten M. ‘Investigating the utility of human embryonic stem cell derived neurons to model ageing and neurodegenerative disease using whole-genome gene expression and splicing analysis’ Journal of Neurochemistry. 2012 Aug;122(4):738-751.
  1. Patani R, Sibley CR, Chandran S, Ule J. Using human pluripotent stem cells to study posttranscriptional mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases. Brain Research. 2012 Jun 26;1462:129-38.
  1. Connick P*, Kolappan M*, Crawley C, Webber DJ, Patani R, Michell AW, Du MQ, Luan SL, Altmann DR, Thompson AJ, Compston A, Scott MA, Miller DH, Chandran S. Autologous mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: an open-label phase 2a proof-of-concept study. Lancet Neurology. 2012 Feb;11(2):150-6.
  1. Thomson SR, Wishart TM, Patani R, Chandran S, Gillingwater TH. ‘Using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to model human neuromuscular connectivity: promise or reality?’ Journal of Anatomy. Feb; 220(2):122-30.
  1. Gupta K, Patani R, Baxter P, Serio A, Story D, Tsujita T, Hayes JD, Pedersen RA, Hardingham GE, Chandran S. ‘Human embryonic stem cell derived astrocytes mediate non-cell-autonomous neuroprotection through endogenous and drug-induced mechanisms’. Cell Death & Differentiation. 2012 May; 19(5):779-87.
  1. Tan CL, Kwok JCF, Patani R, Chandran S, Fawcett JW. ‘Integrin activation promotes axon growth on inhibitory CSPGs by enhancing integrin signaling’. Journal of Neuroscience. 2011 Apr 27;31(17):6289-95.
  1. Connick P*, Kolappan M*, Patani R et al (2011). ‘The Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Multiple Sclerosis (MSCIMS) Trial: Methodology and baseline cohort characteristics’ Trials. 2011 Mar 2;12:62.
  1. Patani R, Hollins AJ, Wishart TM, Puddifoot CA, Álvarez S, de Lera AR, Wyllie DJA, Compston DAS, Pedersen RA, Gillingwater TH, Hardingham GE, Allen ND, Chandran S. ‘Retinoid independent generation of motor neurons from human embryonic stem cells reveals a medial columnar ground state’ Nature Communications. 2011;2:214.
  1. Tollervey JR, Curk T, Rogelj B, Briese M, Cereda M, Kayikci M, Hortobágyi T, Nishimura AL, Župunski V, Patani R, Chandran S, Rot G, Zupan B, Shaw CE, Ule J. ‘Characterising the RNA targets and position-dependent splicing regulation by TDP-43; implications for neurodegenerative diseases’. Nature Neuroscience. 2011 Apr;14(4):452-8.
  1. Connick P*, Patani R*, Chandran S. ‘Stem Cells as a resource for Regenerative Neurology’ Practical Neurology. 2011 Feb;11(1):29-36 (* Joint first authors).
  1. Bell KF, Al-Mubarak B, Fowler JH, Baxter PS, Gupta K, Tsujita T, Chowdhry S, Patani R, Chandran S, Horsburgh K, Hayes JD, Hardingham GE. ‘Mild oxidative stress activates Nrf2 in astrocytes, which contributes to neuroprotective ischemic preconditioning’. Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences. 2011 Jan 4;108(1):E1-2.
  1. Iovino M, Patani R, Watts C, Chandran S, Spillantini MG (2010). ‘Human Stem Cell-derived Neurons: a System to Study Human Tau Function and Dysfunction’. PLoS ONE. 2010 Nov11;5(11):e13947.
  1. Hardingham GE, Patani R, Baxter P, Wyllie DJA, Chandran S. ‘Human embryonic stem cell-derived neurons as a tool for studying neuroprotection and neurodegeneration’. Molecular Neurobiology. 2010 Aug;42(1):97-102.
  1. Anderson JM*, Patani R*, Reynolds R, Nicholas R, Compston A, Spillantini MG, Chandran S. ‘Abnormal tau phosphorylation in primary progressive multiple sclerosis’. Acta Neuropathologica. 2010 May;119(5):591-600 (* Joint first authors).
  1. Patani R, Compston A, Puddifoot CA, Wyllie DJ, Hardingham GE, Allen ND, Chandran S. Activin/Nodal inhibition alone accelerates highly efficient neural conversion from human embryonic stem cells and imposes a caudal positional identity’ PLoS ONE. 2009 October 4(10): e7327 Oct 6;4(10):e7327.
  1. Anderson JM*, Patani R*, Reynolds R, Nicholas R, Compston A, Spillantini MG, Chandran S. ‘Evidence for abnormal tau phosphorylation in early aggressive multiple sclerosis’. Acta Neuropathologica. 2009 May;117(5)583-9 (* Joint first authors).
  1. Anderson JM, Hampton DW, Patani R, Pryce G, Crowther RA, Reynolds R, Franklin RJ, Giovannoni G, Compston DA, Baker D, Spillantini MG, Chandran S. ‘Abnormally phosphorylated tau is associated with neuronal and axonal loss in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis’ Brain. 2008 Jul;131(Pt 7):1736-48.
  1. Patani R, Balaratnam M, Vora A, Reynolds R. ‘Remyelination can be Extensive in Multiple Sclerosis Despite a Long Disease Course’. Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology. 2007 Vol 33, Issue 3, 277–287.

GMC/GDC number: 6104014