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HRH The Princess Royal opens one of the world's leading neuroscience institutes

Posted on 30/06/2015

HRH The Princess Royal being introduced to students and staff by Professor Christopher Shaw

HRH The Princess Royal today opened the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute at King’s College London, one of the leading centres for neuroscience research in the world.

HRH The Princess Royal met scientists who are undertaking ground breaking research into Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy and stroke.

Bringing together more than 250 researchers and clinicians from 14 different sites across three campuses, and fitted with cutting-edge research equipment, the Institute will accelerate efforts to understand and develop treatments for patients affected by these devastating disorders. Professor Ed Byrne AC, President & Principal, King’s College London said: 'We are delighted and most grateful to HRH The Princess Royal for opening the new Institute. In partnership with our colleagues at King’s College Hospital and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts, King’s possesses an unparalleled patient resource, state-of-the-art facilities and world-renowned researchers and clinicians to drive forward a shared mission to improve the lives of people who have to deal with devastating and as yet incurable disorders.'

The Institute will create an environment that fosters collaboration between researchers across multiple disciplines, and enhance links between academic institutions and healthcare delivery, in order to translate basic research into clinical practice.

Christopher Shaw, Professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics at King’s and Director of the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute said: 'What this Institute offers is a chance for clinicians and scientists to share ideas, expertise and resources to tackle some of the most challenging conditions affecting our community. We have designed the Institute with that in mind - to make connections between people, so that we become more than the sum of our parts. Establishing a world-leading research facility at the heart of a thriving clinical centre, talented people and the very best equipment, that is when progress is most likely to be made. One in three people will suffer from a significant neurological or psychiatric disorder in their lives and we hope that the Institute’s research will benefit millions of people around the world.'

A demonstration of brain wave recordings used in epilepsy research

The Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute is dedicated to advancing our understanding of the molecular, cellular and functional basis of neurological and psychiatric disorders and developing novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions.  It focuses on three major goals:      

• Determining the underlying genetic and environmental risk factors for disease

• Identifying tests for early diagnosis and biomarkers that measure disease progression

• Developing informative cellular and animal disease models of disease to accelerate drug discovery

This endeavour would not have been achievable without the generous support from loyal donors. Principal capital support was provided by The Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Additional capital funders include The King’s Medical Research Trust, Maudsley Charity and The Garfield Weston Foundation.

During their lifetime Maurice and Vivienne Wohl supported medical science both in the UK and overseas.  Their long relationship with King’s College London began with the establishment of The Maurice Wohl General Dental Practice Centre in 1987, an on-site centre which helps final year dental students prepare for the transition into independent practice. A few years later, The Wohl Molecular Biology Laboratory and the Students’ Residence Hall were built. The years of support resulted in Maurice Wohl becoming one of a small group of presentation fellows in 1992.

HRH The Princess Royal unveiling a plaque with King’s President & Principal, Professor Ed Byrne AC

Professor David Latchman CBE, D.Sc, FKC, chairman of The Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation, said: 'Maurice and Vivienne Wohl had a history of supporting medical projects and a long association with King’s College London. They always endeavoured to back schemes which were ambitious because they knew these could make the most difference in the battle against life-threatening and limiting diseases. The Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute is a bold, new venture which will see the UK leading the way in the research and treatment of patients with neurological disorders, such as stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and motor neuron disease. We feel honoured to be part of a facility which we hope will have a ground-breaking impact on neurological illness, as it seeks to identify factors which predispose individuals to these disorders, improve the accuracy of diagnosis, test new therapies and develop new methods of care to support the needs of the local community and beyond.'

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive, Wolfson Foundation, said: 'Our funding of the Wolfson Laboratories within The Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute reflects our ongoing commitment to support vital research into neurodegenerative diseases. The research at the Institute is of the highest quality, and has the potential to touch countless lives affected by devastating diseases.'

In addition, several funders have made significant contributions towards specific areas of research to be housed in the institute. These supporters include: The John and Lucille van Geest Foundation, The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, Mrs Lily Safra FKC, The Late Professor Noreen Murray CBE FRS FKC, The Late John Paul Getty III, The Waterloo Foundation, The Darwin Trust of Edinburgh, The Cohen Charitable Trust and Charles Sykes Epilepsy Research Trust.

Notes to editors

Photographer: David Tett

For further media information please contact Jack Stonebridge, Press Officer, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London on +44 (0) 20 7848 5377 or

For further information about King's visit our 'King's in Brief' page.

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