Professional background

Professor Collinge graduated in Medicine from Bristol University and trained in clinical neurology at St Mary's Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London. He held a Wellcome Senior and then principal fellowship in the clinical sciences at Imperial College prior to moving to UCL in 2001 to establish the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease.

His current position is professor of neurology and head of the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease at the UCL Institute of Neurology. He is also director of the UK Medical Research Council's Prion Unit, a highly multidisciplinary research unit focusing on human prion disease, and leads the NHS National Prion Clinic at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, where he is an honorary consultant neurologist.

He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Pathologists, the Academy of Medical Sciences and a senior investigator of the Faculty of the National Institute for Health Research. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2005. He was awarded a CBE by HM The Queen in 2004 for services to medical research.

Research interests

His research interests are in neurodegenerative diseases, particularly prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). His laboratory demonstrated in 1996 that the new human prion disease, variant CJD, was caused by the same prion strain as that causing BSE in cattle and has made many contributions to understanding the prion diseases.

In addition, he has made wider contributions in the genetics of neurodegenerative disease, including frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and motor neurone disease. He has a particular interest in therapeutics of prion and Alzheimer’s disease and his laboratory is working to develop drugs and biopharmaceuticals.

He led the UK’s first clinical trial in CJD, the largest yet conducted internationally. This has been followed by the National Prion Monitoring Cohort study which is conducting a range of patient-based studies to prepare for future clinical trials. He has a major interest in the wider implications of prion-like mechanisms (seeded protein polymerisation) and their relation to the accumulation and toxicity of misfolded host proteins in neurodegeneration and normal brain aging.

More detail on his research can be found at or


Selected recent publications (from over 300):

  • Collinge J, Clarke A. A general model of prion strains and their pathogenicity. Science 2007; 318: 930-6.
  • Antonyuk SV, Trevitt CR, Strange RW, Jackson GS, Sangar D, Batchelor M, Cooper S, Fraser C, Jones S, Georgiou T, Khalili-Shirazi A, Clarke AR, Hasnain SS, Collinge J. Crystal structure of human prion protein bound to a therapeutic antibody. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009; 106: 2554-8.
  • Collinge J, Gorham M, Hudson F, Kennedy A, Keogh G, Pal S, Rossor M, Rudge P, Siddique D, Syper M, Thomas D, Walker S, Webb T, Wroe S, Darbyshire J. Safety and efficacy of quinacrine in human prion disease (PRION-1 study): a patient-preference trial. Lancet Neurology 2009; 8: 334-44.
  • Mead S, Whitfield J, Poulter M, Shah P, Uphill J, Campbell T, Al-Doujaily H, Hummerich H, Beck J, Mein C, Verzilli C, Whittaker J, Alpers M, Collinge J. A novel protective prion protein variant co-localises with kuru exposure. New England Journal of Medicine 2009; 361: 2056-65.
  • Nicoll A, Trevitt C, Risse E, Quaterman E, Ibarra AA, Wright C, Jackson GS,  Sessions R, Farrow M, Waltho J, Clarke A, Collinge J. Pharmacological chaperone for the structured domain of human prion protein. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010; 107: 17610-15.
  • Sandberg MK, Al-Doujaily H, Sharps B, Clarke AR, Collinge J. Prion propagation and toxicity in vivo occur in two distinct mechanistic phases. Nature 2011; 470:540-2.
  • Edgeworth JA, Farmer M, Sicilia A, Tavares P, Beck J, Campbell T, Lowe J, Mead S, Rudge P, Collinge J, Jackson GS. Detection of prion infection in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: a blood-based assay. Lancet 2011; 377:487-93.
  • Freir DB, Nicoll AJ, Klyubin I, Panico S, Mc Donald JM, Risse E, Asante EA, Farrow MA, Sessions RB, Saibil HR, Clarke AR, Rowan MJ, Walsh DM Collinge J. Interaction between cellular prion protein and toxic A? oligomers can be therapeutically targeted at multiple sites. Nature Communications 2011, 2:336