The team

Professor Huw Morris Dr Mie Rizig # Dr Rimona Weil Andy Doran #
# Concetta Brugeletta # Dr Richard Rees #
Dr Steven Lubbe Sara Webb Wayne Gumble Dr Philip Campbell Miriam

Professor Huw Morris leads the team and is professor of clinical neuroscience and a consultant neurologist at the Royal Free hospital and Queens Square. He is the cheif investigator for all our studies and principal investigator at Royal Free hospital and Queens Square. The team is made up of clinical neuroscience researchers, people with Parkinson’s, specialist research nurses and study co-ordinators.

"The science is moving very rapidly; I am sure that in the future understanding genetic variation will be essential for deciding the best treatments for Parkinson’s and related conditions."
Huw Morris

Chief Investigator

Huw Morris

Chief Investigator

The main aim of our group is to understand how genetic variation can cause or increase the risk of Parkinson’s and closely related conditions such as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Cortico-basal syndrome. This may lead us to identify new pathways for treatment. We are also interested in the ways in which genetic variation can change the way in which a condition affects someone and their response to treatment. I have been working on these conditions at Cardiff University and UCL for 20 years. I am also one of the research leads for both rare disease within the Genomics 100,000 project and the National Institute for Health Research.

We are now entering a very exciting phase in which a series of new medicines are being used in therapeutic trials and we have the ability both to recruit patients to clinical therapeutic trials and to make new discoveries which will help improve treatment. This research is a partnership between our research group, patients and their families, charities that fund our research such as Parkinson’s UK and Cure Parkinson’s Trust and pharmaceutical companies engaged in developing new treatments.


Research team

Miriam Pollard

Research Assistant

I am a research assistant and study coordinator for the Parkinson's Families Project. My role involves setting up and assisting with the study at different sites across the UK, and recruiting participants to the study at London sites. I studied Psychology at Bath University, and previously worked for the UCL Comprehensive Clinical Trials Unit.


Manuela Tan

Research Assistant

I am the study coordinator and research assistant for the Parkinson’s Families Project. I studied Psychology in Australia and am now based in the UK. I am doing my PhD to look at genetic factors that influence progression in Parkinson’s. I am interested in identifying new gene changes that may play a role in progression and that can be targeted by new treatments.


Steven Lubbe

Collaborator - Assistant Professor of Neurology (Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University)

As a geneticist, my main aim is to investigate whether a person’s genes are altered in such a way that this change can cause disease. After finishing my PhD in Cancer Genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research, where I looked at how genetic changes contribute to colorectal cancer, I moved into studying disease-related genetic changes in Parkinson’s. I am now based at Northwestern University in Chicago but am still working on Parkinson’s genetics and collaborating with Prof Morris. It is an exciting time to be a geneticist, scientific advances now allow us to view a person’s entire genetic makeup in one instance. Looking at this type of data will allow the identification of, hopefully, many genes that will give us a better understanding of the causes of Parkinson’s, which could pave the way to finding better treatments. Watch this space because, with your help, we’re doing our best to make this happen.


Alyssa Costantini

Research Associate

I am a research associate working on the Parkinson’s Families Project and other movement disorder research studies at UCL. I came to the UK from the US in 2014 to study Clinical Neuroscience at King’s College London. I am interested in learning more about the association between the genetic and clinical aspects of Parkinson’s and how it can impact on daily life for those who are affected by it. My role in this project is to liaise with individuals and families who want to be involved in the study and to help and explain the study procedures. I meet potential participants and recruit them to the studies at the Royal Free Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.


Rimona Weil

Wellcome Trust Clinician Scientist and Consultant Neurologist

I have a research interest in the visual problems which occur in early Parkinson’s disease. I am a neurologist specialising in Parkinson’s at University College London Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital in London. I am also a neuroscientist, based at University College London. I aim to understand how thinking and memory is affected in some people with Parkinson’s. I use computer-based visual tasks and brain scans to investigate this question and am running the Vision in Parkinson’s study.


Richard Rees

Clinical Research Fellow

Having started my clinical training to be a neurologist, I’m now working full time on investigating how genes affect the way treatments for Parkinson’s work. This is a great time to be doing this kind of research and studying for a PhD - the advances in genetics are putting the promises of Personalised Medicine within our reach. I’m particularly interested in one of the side-effects of Parkinson’s treatment - Impulse Control Disorders, and whether people who develop these have particular genetic variants that put them more at risk. Impulse Control Disorders significantly worsen the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s and their families. We hope to identify these and develop a quick and inexpensive test that will help us tailor what treatments people get according to their risks of side effects.


Phil Campbell

Clinical Research Associate

I studied medicine at University College London and completed my general medical training in and around London. On completion of my general training I decided to take time out to undertake research into Parkinson's disease. My research focuses on grouping people with Parkinson’s based on markers of mitochondrial function (the mitochondrial is the battery powerhouse of cells). There is good evidence that at least a subset of people with Parkinson’s have mitochondrial dysfunction but we cannot identify this on an individual level as yet. I believe that by grouping people into those with and without mitochondrial dysfunction we will be better able to understand the underlying disease process and so aid the discovery of new neuro-protective medications.


Daniela Iancu

Research Associate

I am trained as a medical geneticist performing both clinical and research activities until 2013 when I joined the Centre for Nephrology at University College London as a research associate. I have been working for the 100,000 Genomes project since May 2015. My research interests are in the field of molecular mechanisms and causes of genetic diseases, in particular those involving regulatory RNA molecules.


Maya Bronfeld

UCL Movement Disorders Centre Coordinator

I am the coordinator of the UCL Movement disorders Centre responsible for overall organization of clinical research activities for the group of researchers and consultants working at UCL and across affiliated trusts (University College London Hospital (UCLH), The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) at Queen Square and The Royal Free Hospital). I am a neuroscience graduate and after having studied and trained in Israel and in the US I am now based in the UK. In my role as centre coordinator I work with research teams as well as prospective and current study participants to increase the involvement of people living with Parkinson's and other movement disorders with the centre's research activities. I help manage a registry of patients who are interested in learning more about and participating in clinical research and work with people who help review, evaluate and disseminate our research. If you would like to learn more about the LRRK2 cohort or other clinical trials and research opportunities at the Movement Disorders Centre or about other ways you can get involved please contact me at:


Concetta Brugaletta

Clinical Research Nurse

I am a clinical research nurse working in neurology with a particular interest in how to improve the communication aspects of genetic research with patients and their families. I am Sicilian and studied a BSc in nursing in Italy, but am now based in the UK. I hold a Masters in Clinical and Public Health Nutrition from University College London, have four years clinical experience in oncology and spent two years practising mother and child nutrition and health in Guinea Bissau and Malawi.


Sarah Cable

Genetic Counselling Student

I am a clinical research nurse interested in Parkinson’s genes and mainly involved with the team at UCL looking at how the gene GBA (Glucocerebrosidase) can help us to understand Parkinson’s better, recently trialing a new compound; Ambroxol. Our research has also been focusing on many of the non-motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s which can occur many years in advance of movement symptoms. I have a degree in psychology and have worked with Concetta and Vincent on how we, as a research team, can improve the communication aspects of genetic research with people with Parkinson’s and their families, in accessible and visually helpful ways. I am now studying an MSc with the NHS Scientist training programme to become a genetic counsellor.


Vincent Harding


I am the digital design manager at UCL Health Creatives and I am very passionate about the way things look and flow. I have a big interest in how complex information is read and understood. My team designed the Parkinson’s Families Projects website with input from people with Parkinson’s and their families, to make it accessible and reflect their information needs.


Expert research team


Sara Webb, Mairi Snow, Bev Maydon, Wayne Gumble, Andy Doran

UCL and Royal Free Expert research team

We are a group of people who have first-hand and very different experiences of Parkinson’s.

We come from a range of professions and situations: Mairi is a physiotherapist, Bev is a teacher and writer, Sara has a family interest in science, Andy has a background in marketing and Wayne is a writer who has written and produced a musical.

We joined the group to make use of our different skills, as well as our experiences of living with the condition, to help researchers and scientists find some answers in the hunt for new treatments and ultimately a cure for Parkinson’s.

As part of the research team, we hope to help make the studies friendly and accessible to participants.

The UCL Movement Disorders Centre (MDC) coordinates clinical research activities for the group of UCL researchers working across University College London Hospital (UCLH), The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) at Queen Square and The Royal Free Hospital. MDC researchers lead a wide array of research studies designed to uncover the causes and biological mechanisms underlying Parkinson's and other movement disorders and to find and test new and improved ways to prevent, treat and manage them. A major goal of the centre is to have a greater involvement of people living with Parkinson's and other movement disorders in the centre's research activities. We manage a registry of patients who are interested in learning more about and participating in clinical research as well as working with people who help review, evaluate and disseminate our research.

If you would like to learn more or how you can take part in clinical trials and research opportunities at the MDC or if you want to be a part of the expert research team please contact us at:

The UCL Movement Disorders Centre website: