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Professor Robert Will



+44 (0)131 537 2128


+44 (0)131 343 1404

Postal Address

National Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease Surveillance Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh. EH4 2XU. UK

Job Title

Professor of Clinical Neurology, University of Edinburgh




CBE MA(Cantab) MD MB BChir FRCP FMedSci

Research overview

I have carried out research into Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and its variants since 1979 and my particular areas of interest are the clinical features, diagnosis and epidemiology of this rare group of prion diseases.

Research direction

I founded the National CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh in 1990 and was involved with the identification of variant CJD and the discovery that this BSE related disease was transmissible through blood transfusion. I have coordinated the European surveillance for CJD since 1993 and I am responsible for the hub function for the reporting of CJD to the European Union.
Currently I continue to work in the UK CJD surveillance system and areas of particular research interest include development of diagnostic tests including MRI brain scan and epidemiological aspects of sporadic and variant CJD, including risk factor analysis and the PIND and TMER studies. In addition I am involved with collaborative research into the determinants of clinico-pathological variation in sporadic CJD and genetic influences on disease susceptibility.

Board Membership
  • Member of Scottish Executive National Panel of Specialists (May 2003 – present)
  • Member of the Management Committee of the TSEs and Food Safety (TAFS) Group (2002-present)
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Neuroprion Research Group (2003-present)
  • Member of the Co-ordinating Committee of the Neuroprion Research Group (2003-present)
  • Member of the CJD Incidents Panel (2003-present)
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for PrioNet Canada (2006 - present)
  • Member of the Argentine Scientific Advisory Board on BSE (2005 – present)
  • Member of 2007 US National Prion Research Program (NPRP) Technical Planning Committee (January 2007-present)
  • Advisor of the Mexican Academy of Neurology concerning the area of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Prion Diseases (January 2007-present)
Recent Publications
  • Predicting susceptibility and incubation time of human to human transmission of vCJD. Bishop MT, Baybutt H, Aitchison L, McConnell I, Head MW, Ironside JW, Will RG, Manson JC. (2006) Lancet Neurology DOI:10.1016/S1474-4422(06) 70413-6, 393-8
  • Risk Factors for Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: A Case-Control Study. Hester J.T. Ward, Dawn Everington, Simon N. Cousens, Blaire Smith-Bathgate, Margaret Leitch, Sarah Cooper, Craig Heath, Richard S. G. Knight, Peter G. Smith, Robert G. Will. Annals of Neurology, ISSN: 1531-8249, ISSN: 0364-5134, Volume 59, Issue 1, 2006, Pages: 111-120
  • Determinants of diagnostic investigation sensitivities across the clinical spectrum sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: S.J. Collins, P.Sanchez-Juan, C.L. Masters, G.M. Klug, C. van Duijn, A. Poleggi, M. Pocchiari, S. Almonti, N. Cuadrado-Corrales, J. de Pedro-Cuesta, H. Budka, E. Gelpi, M. Glatzel, M. Tolnay, E. Hewer, I. Zerr, U. Heinemann, H.A. Kretszchmar, G.H. Jansen, E. Olsen, E. Mitrova, A.Alperovitch, J.P. Brandel, J. Mackenzie, K. Murray, R.G. Will. - Brain 2006; 129: 2278-2287
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and blood transfusion : results of the UK Transfusion Medicine Epidemiological Review study : P.E. Hewitt, C.A. Llewely, J. Mackenzie, R.G. Will. 91: 221-230, Vox Sanguinis (2006) Blackwell Publishing, DOI 10.1111/j.1423-0410.2006.00833.x
  • Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease with cerebellar ataxia at onset in the United Kingdom: Sarah A Cooper, Katy L Murray, Craig A Heath, Robert G Will and Richard S G Knight, J. Neurol. Neurosurg, Psychiatry published online 11 July 2006, doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2006.088930
  • Factors determining the potential for onward transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease via surgical instruments : Tini Garske, Hester J.T. Ward, Paul Clarke, Robert G . Will, Azra C. Ghani, J.R. Soc. Interface (2006) 3, 757-766, doi:10.1098/rsif.2006.0142. Published online 01 August 2006.
  • Is there the potential for an epidemic of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease via blood transfusion in the UK? Paul Clarke, Robert G. Will, Azra C. Ghani. J.R. Soc. Interface, doi:10.1098/rsif.2006.0216-31/1/2007-21:24-Parandaman-268827-xml-99.1-11
  • Quantification of Peyer’s patches in Cheviot sheep for future scrapie pathogenesis studies. Suzanne G. St Rose, Nora Huner, James D. Foster, Dawn Drummond, Calum McKenzie, David Parnham, Robert G. Will, Mark E.J. Woolhouse, Susan M. Rhind. 2007 Elsevier B.V. doi:10.1016/j.vetimm.2007.01.017
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol 13, No. 8, August 2007, Prion Diseases, Pages 1166 – 1169, Source of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease outside United Kingdom, Pascual Sanchez-Juan, Simon N. Cousens, Robert G. Will, Cornelia M. van Duijn.
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