Professor Francesco Muntoni stands at a podium presenting his award lecture in front of a bright blue backdropOn 20 June, 2023, WMS Executive Board member, Professor Francesco Muntoni presented the 4th Aicardi Award lecture at the 15th EPNS Congress, which took place in Prague. The biennial award recognises a respected and admired doctor who has attained major achievements in child neurology.

Professor Muntoni’s lecture was entitled “lessons learned developing novel therapies for childhood neuromuscular disorders” and the EPNS described it as a “highpoint of the EPNS Congress”.

Describing the honour, professor Muntoni said: “This was clearly a special day for me, but also for all the work we did over the years with a large number of colleagues and collaborators, starting from my mentors in Cagliari, Italy, before I moved to UK; and then, in the UK, the crucial role that Victor Dubowitz had as a teacher, clinician and mentor. Of course Victor not only founded the WMS, but also the EPNS, so it is a small world really!

“My presentation recapitulated some of the key clinical and scientific contribution of my work in the field of dystrophinopathies, ranging from my early work on the role of specific mutations affecting selectively dystrophin expression in the heart, to the work that as a consortium we did for the early development of eteplirsen and golodirsen, to the importance of accurate functional measurements (the North Star scale), to the deeper characterisation of the brain involvement in dystrophinopathies, with colleagues in a large EU consortium (”

Professor Muntoni gained his medical degree in Cagliari, Italy, in 1984, followed by the Italian Child Neurology and Psychiatry specialisation in 1989, and the Paediatric Neurology specialist registration in the UK in 1994.

Professor Francesco Muntoni receiving the Aicardi award on stage. Professor Muntoni stands in the centre of a group of three people. He now works at University College London, UK specialising in neuromuscular disorders in preclinical, clinical, and translational research aspects. His research on genetics and the treatment of neuromuscular diseases, especially SMA and Duchenne diseases, are an outstanding scientific achievement.

In presenting the lecture, Professor Muntoni follows in the footsteps of Professor Marjo van der Knaap, Professor Lieven Lagae, Professor Alexis Arzimanoglou, who have all previously been presented with this accolade in recognition of internationally renowned French child neurologist, Professor Jean Aicardi, who died in 2015.

Published on 29 June 2023.


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