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Prof. Dr.

Alastair Compston

Year of election: 2008
Section: Microbiology and Immunology
City: Cambridge
Country: Great Britain


Alastair Compston's research focuses on the clinical science of human demyelinating disease with contributions to the genetic epidemiology, immunology and neurobiology, and treatment and repair of multiple sclerosis.

The main contribution is to have re-shaped ideas on the complex pathogenesis and timing of strategies for treatment by demonstrating the high therapeutic efficacy of systemic lymphocyte depletion in early active relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Alastair Compston has also made significant contributions to the characterization of genetic susceptibility in multiple sclerosis, reporting the HLA-DR15 association with others in the 1970s and since identifying an increasing list of susceptibility genes as part of the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium which he co-founded in 2002.


  • 1994 Establishment of the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre
  • 1992 Establishment of the MRC Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair
  • Since 1989 Professor of Neurology and Head of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, co-chair of Cambridge Neuroscience in the University of Cambridge, UK
  • 1988 Professor of Neurology in the University of Wales, UK
  • 1982 Consultant of Neurology in the University of Wales, UK
  • Training in neurology at the National Hospital, Queen Square, London, UK
  • 1979 Ph.D. in medicine, University of London, UK


  • 2009-2010 President of the Association of British Neurologists
  • From 2004 Editor of Brain
  • 2002-2003 President of the European Neurological Society

Honours and Memberships

  • Since 2016 Fellow of the Royal Society
  • Since 2016 Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • 2015 John Dystel Prize for MS Research
  • 2015 Richard and Mary Cave Award for Services to People with multiple sclerosis
  • 2013 World Federation of Neurology Medal for Scientific Achievement in Neurology
  • Since 2012 Foreign Associate Member of the Institute of Medicine, US-National Academies
  • 2011 McDonald Award of the MS Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • 2010 Zülch Prize of the Max Planck Society
  • Since 2008 Member, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 2007 Charcot Award
  • 2002 Sobek International Research Prize
  • Since 1998 Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Fellow of the Institute of Biology




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