Prof Wiebke Arlt appointed Director of MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences

The renowned clinical endocrinologist will join MRC LMS from the University of Birmingham on 1 January 2023

Professor Wiebke Arlt has been appointed Director of the Imperial College London-hosted Medical Research Council London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS). She will formally take up her new position from 1 January 2023. In addition, Professor Arlt will become Head of Imperial’s Institute of Clinical Sciences, one of the eight academic departments that make up the College’s Faculty of Medicine.

Wiebke is an award-winning clinical endocrinologist and leader of an international multi-disciplinary research team investigating the links between steroids and metabolic diseases. She will join the LMS from the University of Birmingham where she is currently Director of the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research and holds the William Withering Chair of Medicine. Professor Arlt is also currently Honorary Consultant Physician in the Department of Endocrinology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

A new era for the London Institute of Medicine Sciences

Wiebke’s appointment marks the beginning of a new era for the LMS as it also moves into its brand-new state-of-the-art research facility in West London where it will adopt a new, challenge-based approach to research. The LMS was established in 1994 and is a highly collaborative research institute where scientists and clinicians work side by side to further the understanding of biology and its application to medicine. Their aim is to elucidate the biological mechanisms underlying human health and disease through the interface of genomics, physiology and epigenetics. Wiebke will lead a renewed vision and mission for the LMS to further strengthen its clinical science and translation ambitions, maximising the benefits of its strategic location on the Hammersmith Hospital site and its partnership with Imperial College London to tackle challenges in human health.

As Director, Wiebke will have control of a core budget of £85 million over five years and direction of around 220 research and support staff. The LMS has just moved into a new, purpose-built cutting-edge research facility, jointly supported by MRC and Imperial College London, on the College’s expanding Hammersmith Hospital Campus. Wiebke will hold a joint appointment between the MRC and Imperial to help maximise the engagement, strategic alignment and co-operation between the LMS and the wider College. As the LMS approaches its 30th anniversary developing and renewing its mission will allow it to embrace the global health challenges of the 21st century.

A challenge-based approach to major questions of human health and disease
Professor Arlt said: “I am delighted to take on the leadership of the LMS at this exciting point in its development, just when occupying a brand new, purpose-built building. I am very much looking forward to working with the LMS investigators and staff to deliver transdisciplinary team science, in synergistic interaction with Imperial and the wider national research environment. We will take a novel, challenge-based approach to tackle major questions of relevance to human health and disease – watch this space!”

Professor John Iredale, Executive Chair of the MRC said: “I am thrilled that Wiebke will be leading the LMS at such an exciting time, both in terms of its renewed focus human biology and pathology but also as it moves into its new state-of-the-art accommodation on the Hammersmith Hospital Campus. Her ambitious and exciting vision for the LMS will further cement the LMS as a world-renowned research institute and a national training hub particularly for clinical sciences that will drive our understanding of human biology and disease and opportunities for new treatments and diagnostics.

“I’d like to pay tribute to Professor Dame Amanda Fisher who led the LMS magnificently for over 13 years before stepping down in 2021. During that time the LMS made excellent contributions to our understanding of epigenetic control mechanisms and in developing the hugely important and productive relationship with Imperial College London. Mandy was also extremely influential in celebrating and inspiring women in science through the Suffrage Science scheme.

“Finally, I’d like to thank the huge efforts of Professor Petra Hajkova and Professor Dominic Withers who have done a superb job in leading the LMS as interim directors since 2021.”

Professor Jonathan Weber, Dean of the Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine said: “I’m delighted to welcome Wiebke into the Imperial Faculty of Medicine, cementing a hugely constructive relationship between the College and the MRC/UKRI. Wiebke brings an outstanding track record as a clinical academic to the LMS and will drive the translational research success our partnership aims to achieve.”