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Maria Grazia Spillantini


Professor of Molecular Neurology, Clinical School of the University of Cambridge

Maria Grazia Spillantini is Professor of Molecular Neurology in the Clinical School of the University of Cambridge. After receiving a Laurea in Biological Sciences, summa cum Laude, in 1981 from the University of Florence, she pursued research at the Department of Clinical Pharmacology of the University of Florence, at the Unité de Neurobiologie of the INSERM in Paris and at the Molecular Neurobiology Unit of the Medical Research Council in Cambridge. In 1987, she moved to the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology where, working in Dr. Michel Goedert's group she obtained a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Cambridge University and later worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Sir Aaron Klug.

In 1996, she moved to the Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair and, in 2014 to the Clifford Allbutt Building, both in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences of the University of Cambridge. Her group works on the molecular neuropathology of diseases characterized by tau and alpha-synuclein aggregates. With her collaborators, she identified alpha-synuclein as the main component of the filaments that form the Lewy bodies in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies and described one of the first mutations in the MAPT gene leading to frontotemporal dementia and Parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17.

She has received several international prizes including the Potamkin Prize of the American Academy of Neurology, the Cotzias Prize of the Spanish Neurological Society, the Van Andel Prize for outstanding achievements in Parkinson's disease, The Thudichum Medal and the Grand Prix Europeen de la recherche sur Alzheimer. She was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, London in 2010, Fellow of the Royal Society, London in 2013 and Ufficiale dell’ Ordine della Stella d’Italia by the president of Italy in 2018. She is Professorial Fellow at Clare Hall and a life member of Peterhouse, Cambridge.