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The Rosalind Franklin Institute appoints Professor Paul Matthews as new director

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The Rosalind Franklin Institute has appointed Professor Paul Matthews as its new Institute Director.

The Rosalind Franklin Institute, based at Harwell Campus near Didcot, is a national research institute developing new technologies to tackle important health research challenges.

Funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), The Franklin aims to bring about a revolution in imaging which will allow us to see entire cells and tissues in new ways.

Professor Matthews is currently Head of the Department of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London, Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute Centre at Imperial College London and Chair of the UKRI Medical Research Council Neurosciences and Health Board.

He brings with him over 30 years of experience working on neurodegenerative disorders, most recently focused on Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. He is a world-class clinician scientist, trained at the Universities of Oxford and Stanford.

Dame Vivienne Cox, Chair of The Franklin, said: “We are delighted to have appointed Professor Matthews to lead The Franklin into this new phase of development. His experience with all elements of the drug discovery pipeline, from early discovery research to late-stage clinical trials, will bring key insights as we develop and apply our technologies to real biological problems.”

Professor Matthews said: “The hard work of the first Director and his team have established The Franklin as a unique national resource. I am excited now to lead The Franklin, strengthen partnerships with universities and industry and further realise the Institute’s potential to generate the transformative insights needed to help people live more productive and healthier lives.”

Professor Matthews was the founding Director of two world-leading research imaging centres, the University of Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, and GlaxoSmithKline’s Clinical Imaging Centre. He was Vice President for Imaging, and Integrative Medicines Development at GlaxoSmithKline between 2005 and 2014, where he led the late-phase development programme.

For his services to neuroscience, Professor Matthews was awarded an OBE in 2008 and elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014.

Dr Andrew Bourne, Executive Director of Partnerships at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), said: “I’d like to congratulate Professor Paul Matthews as he takes up his role as director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute.

“The institute has forged a significant reputation for first-class research and innovation by connecting physical sciences and engineering to life sciences. I’d like to thank Professor James Naismith for his leadership since the creation of the institute in 2018. I’d also like to wish both Professor Matthews and Professor Naismith good luck in their new roles.”

Rebecca Csöndör, a second-year PhD student at The Franklin, said: “I was delighted to hear the news that Professor Matthews will be our new Institute Director, especially given his eminent leadership in my field of study. My PhD project focuses on investigating the structural integrity of synapses in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Professor Matthews will lead The Franklin into its next phase, which will include expanding its work in the tissue domain and creating new technologies which enable pathology to be imaged and understood across multiple scales.

Professor Matthews takes on the role from Professor James Naismith, now Head of Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences at the University of Oxford. He will join The Franklin in April 2024 following a notice and handover period.



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