On the 14th December Michael Hanna, Director of the UCL Institute of Neurology at University College London, delivered the 2020 UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology annual address.
Dr Youle, won the Breakthrough prize for his work in elucidating a quality control pathway that clears damaged mitochondria and thereby protects against Parkinson’s Disease. Dr. Youle received an A.B. degree from Albion College and his Ph.D. degree from the University of South Carolina where he worked on the protein toxin ricin. He joined the lab of David Neville at the National Institute of Mental Health for postdoctoral work on engineering new cell-type-specific protein toxins. He joined the Surgical Neurology Branch of NINDS in 1985 as a principal investigator where he has developed and moved into clinical trials new treatment strategies for brain tumors. His lab subsequently explored the molecular mechanisms of programmed cell death showing how Bcl-2 family members participate with mitochondria to control cell survival. Most recently his lab has discovered functions and interrelationships among proteins mutated in familial Parkinson’s disease. His current work focuses on molecular mechanisms of autophagy, mitochondrial quality control and neurodegenerative disorders.