Christopher Edward Dennistoun Shaw - Biography#

Professor Shaw had trained as a Neurologist in New Zealand before coming to Cambridge, UK on a Wellcome Trust Fellowship to study Neurobiology. He moved to King’s College London in 1995 and has pioneered research into the genetic etiology and pathogenic mechanisms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. His team have discovered more ALS genes than any other laboratory which has enabled diagnostic and predictive gene testing for individuals and families around the world. He led an initiative for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis in familial ALS and his patient was the first to have a child born free of mutant SOD1 in Europe. His team identified linkage to the ALS-FTD2 locus, which led to the discovery of C9orf72 mutations and he leads antisense oligonucleotides trials targeting C9orf72 and SOD1. He remains clinically active while doing active research, running an ALS clinic and clinical trials at King’s College Hospital.

His team were among the first to characterize the hallmark pathological features of ALS and FTD due to mutant SOD1, FUS, C9orf72 and ANXA11 mutations. He led the MNDA DNA bank initiative which presciently immortalised lymphoblast lines from 1,200 ALS cases and 600 controls. These were used to generate induced pluripotent cell lines from >50 familial ALS patients and controls, which are freely available to Academia and Industry. Through key collaborations has helped generate transgenic mice that recapitulate key features of the human disease for TARDBP, FUS, C9orf72 and ANXA11 which are all available through JAX Laboratories. These models have revealed important insights into the mechanistic role of dysregulated RNA processing and been used in pre-clinical therapeutic trials. His group’s current focus is to develop gene therapies for ALS and FTD using adeno-associated viral gene vectors. He is the lead founder of an AAV gene therapy company which has attracted substantial investment from a syndicate of blue-chip Investors.

He has taken many Academic and Clinical leadership roles and led an initiative to raise £50m to build the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute where remains as the Director of ~250 Neuroscientists. He led successful grant applications which raised a further £10m for equipment and £10m to create a Centre of the UK Dementia Research Institute at King’s.

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