Industry and academia symposium: Improving translation in neuroscience

Wednesday 11th May 2022 at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre, London.

Catering and refreshments
Building Bridges Between


Improving translation in neuroscience’ will explore the key factors inhibiting effective translation of research between academia and industry, identify how to achieve successful translation, and provide delegates with meaningful and practical ways to accelerate their own work, whether that’s in the academic or commercial sector. The day will incorporate education, networking and interactive sessions to share knowledge to improve translation in neuroscience, and will have a strong credibility in neuroscience component to it.

The day will incorporate education, networking and interactive sessions to share knowledge to improve translation in neuroscience and will have a strong credibility component to it.

Breakout sessions will be led by key representatives from Abcam, Biogen, Cambridge University, LifeArc, MSD, The Psychiatry Consortium and members of the BNA’s council and committee.  

This is part of the BNA’s ‘Building Bridges Between: Industry & Academia’ project, bringing academics and industry colleagues together for information exchange, networking and business opportunities.


Ruth Mckernan CBE (SV Health Investors) 
PLENARY: Looking to the future 

Ruth has over 25 years in the Pharma Industry at Merck and Pfizer, leading several Research Sites in the UK and US during her career. She has set up new Research Units, including Pfizer Regenerative Medicine and Neusentis, initiated multiple neuroscience partnerships, acquisitions and spinouts and played an active role in taking more than 10 compounds into the clinic. Immediately prior to joining SV, she spent 3 years as CEO of the UK Government’s Innovation agency, InnovateUK, supporting the UK’s Industrial Strategy with responsibility for investing an annual budget of £1Bn into Technology centres and SMEs.

Outside of SV, Ruth is a trustee for Alzheimer’s Research UK and Chair of the UK’s BioIndustry Association. She is an enthusiast for innovation and entrepreneurship, sitting on multiple innovation and translation boards including the Academy of Engineering and the CRICK Institute. In her spare time Ruth is an award winning science writer, avid gardener and spokesperson for Women in Innovation.

Academic credentials
Ruth Has a BSc in Pharmacology and Biochemistry, a PhD in neuroscience and Honorary DSc from two Universities.

She was made a Commander of the British Empire for services to business and innovation in 2013 and elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015.

Geraint Rees (UCL) 
What good translation looks like - academic perspective
Prof Geraint Rees is UCL Pro-Provost (Academic Planning), Pro Vice-Provost (AI) and Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences at UCL. His responsibilities include contributing to institution-wide strategic planning and strategy, the development of artificial intelligence across UCL, and leadership of a large and complex world-leading academic faculty with over 850 staff, several thousand students and an income of over £120M per annum. He founded the Academic Careers Office at UCL and the Experimental Medicine Academy at the UCLH NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, which jointly deliver highly creative nationally recognised training to some of the UK’s largest academic and clinical academic training programmes. He is a non-executive Director of UCL Business, one of the UK’s most successful technology transfer companies, and was a Senior Scientific Advisor at DeepMind from 2018-2020. A neurologist and neuroscientist, his research seeks to understand the neural basis of human cognition. He has published over 300 research papers that have been cited over 28,000 times, and was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2010.

Jina Swartz (MSD)
What good translation looks like between industry perspective

Dr Jina Swartz trained in Internal Medicine and Neurology in South Africa, obtaining her MBBCh (MD) degree cum laude, followed by an MSc Medicine (Neurology). After the award of a post-doctoral research fellowship in 1998, she completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge, exploring molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease and trinucleotide disorders. She was recently elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Jina possesses internationally recognised expertise in Neuroscience drug development, including Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, cognitive dysfunction, pain, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

As well as over ten years in academic Neurology practice and research, she has twenty years’ experience in Clinical Development spanning exploratory research, Phase I, Phase II (proof-of-concept) and Phase III global programmes through to drug registration. Jina also holds expertise in rare neurological diseases.

Jina is currently Therapeutic Area Head of Neuroscience in Global Clinical Drug Development EMEA at MSD. She leads Clinical Development, Regulatory, Policy, Commercial, Operational, Business Development and Market Access activities across the EMEA region and leads global development programmes in treatment resistant depression and Alzheimer’s disease. An expert in Alzheimer’s disease drug development, having led Eisai’s donepezil programme, she joined Merck to coordinate the development of verubecestat in AD. Jina recently led the Alzheimer's "What if" Policy Roundtable sessions at the European Parliament, influencing policy change in EU dementia strategy.

Catherine Harmer (University of Oxford) - chaired panel discussion 
Why don’t we always achieve good translation, and exploring challenges for both industry and academia

Catherine Harmer trained in experimental psychology before completing a PhD in psychopharmacology both at the University of York. She came to the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford in 1998 as a post-doctoral researcher and was appointed as a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in 2007. Catherine Harmer’s work focuses on the cognitive mechanisms underlying treatment effects in psychiatry. She uses a combination of functional neuroimaging, cognitive measures, psychopharmacological challenge tests in humans to find out how, for example, antidepressants work in depression. Her work is funded by the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre. Catherine Harmer serves on the executive committee of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, is an associate editor for Psychological Medicine and a Council Member for the British Neuroscience Association as well as a former Council Member for the BAP.

More speakers to be confirmed, check back for details. 


The programme is being led by a team of industry and academic experts.
Breakout sessions will be led by key representatives from Abcam, Biogen, Cambridge University, LifeArc, MSD, The Psychiatry Consortium and members of the BNA’s council and committee.  


Catering and refreshments

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint associated with food waste at conferences and events, the default option will be vegetarian. Meat will not be provided at lunchtime unless specially requested by indicating in the ‘requirements’ section during registration.

All other special dietary requests (vegan, gluten-free, halal etc) can also be catered for by requesting in the ‘requirements’ section during registration


This event will take place at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre, 25 Howland Street, London, W1T 4JG. The closest tube stations are Warren Street (Victoria Line) and Goodge Street (Northern Line).

A map to the venue and further information can be found here



Psychiatry cosortium logo

Sponsors currently include the Psychiatry Consortium. 

If you are interested in sponsoring this event please contact Sophie Sykes-Jerrold ( 


This event is generously supported by the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre and Gatsby Charitable Foundation


Building Bridges Between: Industry and academia

If your organisation would like to be involved with the ‘Building Bridges Between: Industry and academia’ initiative, then please contact:
Sophie Sykes-Jerrold, Development Director ( 

Please consider becoming a member of the BNA to support our work to advance the field of neuroscience.



Registration is FREE for BNA members!* 

Not a member? Not a problem! Join today and save ££'s on your registration fee! 

*Please note that a £25 refundable booking fee will be required for BNA members and will be refunded on successful attendance at the event. This is in an effort to avoid no-shows as there are significant costs associated with running the event and limited capacity.

  Member Non-member BNA membership fee Saving made by joining
Undergraduate/ 'A' level student £0 £30 £12 £18
Postgraduate £0 £45 £24 £21
Early Career Scientist/ Clinician £0 £70 £48 (direct debit)/ £52 £22/ £18 
Full/ Full industry £0 £105 £79 (direct debit)/ £85 £26/ £20

Personal Details