Charcot Award winner 2023, Prof Xavier Montalban

MSIF is thrilled to announce that Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences at UCL in the UK, is the winner of the 2021 Charcot Award. The award recognises a lifetime of achievement in outstanding research into understanding and treating MS.

Professor Alan Thompson has made a tremendous impact on many areas of MS research and clinical care over his 40-year career, improving the quality of life of people with MS, particularly those affected by progressive forms of the disease.

He has led, served on, and founded numerous esteemed national and international scientific and funding boards and committees, which includes his former role as Chair of MSIF’s International Medical and Scientific Board. He has been a mentor to many accomplished MS specialists and a fervent advocate for the voice of people affected by MS on a global scale.

Professor Thompson reacts to receiving the Award in the video below:

Professor Thompson said:

‘The Charcot Award is viewed by the MS community as the ultimate accolade for a lifetime’s work, and I’m absolutely delighted to be the 2021 recipient. It’s a fantastic acknowledgment of the MS work in which I’ve been involved since the early 80s, and it particularly acknowledges all the wonderful people who have encouraged, guided, and supported me over those four decades… Michael Hutchinson, Ian McDonald, David Miller, Xavier Montalban, Tim Coetzee, Olga Ciccarelli, to name just a few. Not to mention all those affected by MS who have engaged so willingly and enthusiastically in my research whenever asked.’

Spearheading world-leading research and clinical practice

Professor Alan Thompson has significant expertise in the diagnosis, evaluation, monitoring, and management of the progressive forms of MS. He has focused on the pathological mechanisms that underpin neurological disability, and on recovery through neurorehabilitation.

He has been a key contributor to the McDonald diagnostic criteria committee since its inception in 2001 and co-chaired the recent (fourth) international committee which updated the diagnostic criteria for MS in 2018. He was also heavily involved in the production of treatment guidelines for MS published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal and the European Journal of Neurology in 2018.

 An accomplished global leader in the progressive MS field

Professor Thompson has chaired the Scientific Steering Committee of the International Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Alliance since its inception in 2013. The Alliance – of which MSIF is a founding member – has brought together international experts to encourage and enable advances in new treatments for progressive MS and has a direct impact in raising the profile of progressive MS and increasing the quantity of research in the area internationally.

Accolades from peers

Professor Brenda Banwell, Chair of the MSIF International Medical and Scientific Board (IMSB) said:

‘Professor Thompson is exceptionally deserving of the Charcot Award. He has been a pivotal advocate for research in progressive forms of MS, and is an unfailing champion for neurorehabilitation. He has led countless committees, always managing to achieve consensus through his leadership, vision, and sense of humor. Alan is a consummate clinician, a highly accomplished researcher, a wonderful educator and mentor, and a friend to all of us in the MS community.’

Peer Baneke, CEO of MSIF, said:

‘I am sure I am speaking for all in the MSIF movement, by saying that Professor Thompson’s outstanding contributions to the world of science and medical practice – but also his long standing engagement with the global MS movement – make him a very special recipient of the Charcot Award. With the Progressive MS Alliance as a shining example, he has played a huge role in bringing those worlds together with great insight, inspiration and leadership.’