The Charcot Award is Given to Professor Alan Thompson

The Charcot* award is given once every 2 years for outstanding lifetime research into  multiple sclerosis. We are delighted to learn that the International Federation for MS  (IFMS) has awarded the 2021 Charcot prize to Professor Alan Thompson who holds the Garfield Weston Chair of Neurology and Neurorehabilitation at University College London (UCL).

Professor Thompson has been a major influence on research into MS for 40 decades and holds the chairmanship of several important and highly influential neurological and scientific committees including the Neuroscience Programme for the UCL Partners Academic Health Science Centre and the Scientific Steering Committee of the International Progressive MS Alliance. He is also an honorary consultant neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, one of England’s leading centres for research into MS.

Brenda Banwell, MD, chair of the MSIF International Medical and Scientific Board said. “He has been a pivotal advocate for research in progressive forms of MS, and is an unfailing champion for MS neurorehabilitation. He has led countless committees, always managing to achieve consensus through his leadership, vision, and sense of humour”.

It is in the context of MS rehabilitation research that I came to know his work and his commitment to furthering an understanding MS and the needs of those who live with MS. He is truly a very worthy recipient of this important award, and we would like to offer our congratulations to Professor Thompson.

More personally, I came to know him as a very kind person. We were both at Heathrow on our way to an ECTRIMS conference when he noticed that I had one leg in plaster (the result of tripping over our recent litter of kittens) and was struggling to manage my wheely case. He kindly took me under his wing and helped me for the rest of my journey.   

Rosie Jones, Chair of Trustees, MS Research

* Jean Martin Charcot, born in 1825, is often referred to as a founder of what we now regard as modern neurology. He is especially recognised as having made the first formal diagnosis of MS in 1868, when Professor of Neurology at the University of Paris. He understood the need to link nerve damage to patient’s symptoms providing a platform for generations of neurologists and neuroscientists to seek ever better and clearer definitions of clinical observations and scientific measurement to unravel the complexities of neurological disease. 

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