Home Our people Institute Director – Professor Paul Matthews

Professor Paul Matthews

Institute Director

Paul Matthews is the Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, Edmond and Lily Safra Professor of Translational Neuroscience and Therapeutics in the Department of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London and a Group Leader in the UK Dementia Research Institute at Imperial. Since 2009 he has been on the Steering Committee of UK Biobank and has Chaired the Imaging Enhancement Working Group, which has supported UK Biobank in creating the world’s largest imaging epidemiological dataset. Since 2023, he also has been Co-Chair of the UK Biobank Dementia Working Group.

Paul’s current research addresses neuroinflammatory mechanisms of neurodegeneration with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and multiple sclerosis.  He has been addressing these using a wide range of epidemiological, MRI and PET imaging and molecular ‘omics tools. This now is leading to new translational clinical studies concerning the role of mitochondrial and vascular dysfunction in accelerating the progression of AD and in assessing a novel brain immunomodulatory target.

Paul has a broad scientific background and has worked to integrate tools and insights from multiple disciplines in his work. He read chemistry as an undergraduate in Oxford and completed his DPhil there in the biochemistry laboratory of Prof. Sir George Radda, where he developed an early interest in magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging.  He then completed an MD and internship in medicine at Stanford University with a part-time post-doctoral period in the Department of Pharmacology before moving to the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) for a Residency in Neurology.  Following this, he spent a further three post-doctoral years in the Genetics Laboratory in Oxford before becoming an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Genetics at McGill University for two busy years.

He returned to Oxford in 1995 as an MRC Clinical Research Reader (later Professor) where he was the founding Director of the FMRIB Centre.  With a smooth transition in leadership of the FMRIB Centre, Paul the spent almost 9 years as a Vice President in GlaxoSmithKline from 2005, holding a variety of senior portfolios, including those for the GSK Clinical Imaging Centre and, later, the Global Imaging Group.  He was Chair of the UKRI MRC Neuroscience and Mental Health Board 2020-24 and has served on many other national and international scientific advisory panels for academia and industry.

Paul is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a Fellow by Special Election of St Edmund Hall, Oxford and a Fellow of the Academea Europea. He was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2008 for services to Neuroscience.  Outside of work, Paul enjoys walking, reading and collecting ukiyo-e, especially those of Hiroshige.

Rosalind Franklin Institute