Marios and his Neurodegeneration Imaging Group are moving to Exeter

World-leading Neuroimaging expert will optimise Exeter’s £10 million new centre

A professor who consistently ranks in the global top five of neuroimaging will bring his expertise to Exeter’s new £10 million Mireille Gillings Neuroimaging Centre.

Marios Politis has been appointed Professor of Neurology and Director of the Mireille Gillings Neuroimaging Centre at the University of Exeter Medical School. His research involves using cutting edge PET and MRI scanners to understand how the brain works, and to gain insight into how best to prevent and treat diseases including dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Marios and his Neurodegeneration Imaging Group are moving to Exeter after six years of leading Neuroimaging research at King’s College London. They will conduct much of their research at the University’s brand new Mireille Gillings Neuroimaging Centre, which Marios will lead. Funded by the Dennis and Mireille Gillings Foundation, the facility is based at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, and allows researchers to analyse how the brain responds on a molecular level. 

Marios said he’s excited by Exeter’s ambition. He said: “I’m thrilled about the Exeter vision, and the new facilities that will be available at the new Mireille Gillings Neuroimaging Centre are very appealing to me. I’m really excited to lead a centre that will make a huge impact in achieving Exeter’s strong global ambition and there is not a better moment to join such a prestigious Institution.”

Marios has received a high number of awards including the Movement Disorder Society Award for Outstanding and Innovative Clinical Research (2012), the IMPETus award for innovative and outstanding PET molecular imaging research (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) and the PET Investigator Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (2015). In 2016, he was elected Fellow of the European Academy of Neurology for outstanding contribution in neurodegenerative research. In 2017, he received the Jon Stolk Award in Movement Disorders from the American Academy of Neurology and was elected Fellow of Royal College of Physicians. His breakthrough work in Parkinson’ disease have been widely covered by the media and has generated publications in high impact-factor journals.

Marios’s love affair with neurology began at the University of Athens, and developed further in 2003, when he arrived in the UK, as a junior clinician at University College London. His thirst to get under the skin of understanding his subject led him to Imperial, and studying a Masters and a PhD at Hammersmith Hospital’s Cyclotron Unit, which pioneered PET imaging since 1955 and was still world-leading. “As soon as I arrived, I realised this is it – this is what I was going to do with my professional life.” Marios recalled how he learned from the best” – but initially had to prove himself.

A member of the unit explained to Marios how PET imaging worked“Then I understood the concept that someone makes up a liquid, puts it into a syringe and injects it into your circulation system and this binds to whatever it’s designed to bind to in the brain, and then you get numbers that you can measure the function of the brain – in living humans. This completely amazed me. I still experience the same excitement and nothing drives me more than that.”

Professor Clive Ballard, Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “I’m absolutely delighted by Marios’s appointment. He’s genuinely among the very best in his field, and this announcement is a major coup for Exeter. It will mean our new Centre is immediately on the global map for brain imaging research that will have real patient benefit.”


Date: 5 May 2020