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Arena and Convention Centre, Liverpool, 22–26 June 2009
The ABN Medal is awarded annually to recognise outstanding contributions by British neurologists or neuroscientists to the science or practice of neurology, or for contributions to the Association.
For over 100 years, the prestige of British neurology depended on charismatic clinical skills and leadership. But from the 1960s, the breeze of change could be felt as new methodologies from which many other specialities took advantage started to inform the pathogenesis of neurological disorders, and the rituals of descriptive neurology were no longer seen as sufficient; disease mechanisms had also to be understood. The seeds of this brave new clinical neuroscience were sown sparingly; and few individuals had the confidence and ability to embrace the new methodologies and use these to illuminate the nature of neurological disease.
In honouring Angela Vincent as the 2009 ABN medallist, we recognise someone who has played an important role in the evolution of experimental neurology in the run-up to this millennium, and who remains active particularly in neuroimmunology. Angela qualified at the Westminster Hospital Medical School in 1966. She worked first with Ricardo Miledi at University College London. And with John Newsom Davis she established a neuroimmunology group at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine from 1977. This was a formidable combination: the talented and energetic clinician-scientist complementing these same qualities in the imaginative and technically versatile scientist-clinician. In Oxford, Angela, John and their loyal team, systematically unravelled an understanding of immunological and molecular disease mechanisms in neurology. In time, no autoantibody could hope to lurk undisturbed in the nooks and crannies of brain, nerve, neuromuscular junction or muscle without danger of exposure from the searchlight of Angela’s ever more sophisticated and intuitive assays: the acetylcholine receptor, alone and clustered; MuSK; rapsyn; potassium channels in nerve and brain; glutamate and glycine receptors; aquaporin-4; and …