Dr Neil McKenzie (PhD, CChem, MRSC)

Principal Investigator / Research Fellow


Neil McKenzie currently works at the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, The University of Edinburgh. Neil does research in Neuroscience with a focus on protein misfolding diseases. His research interests include CJD, ALS and Fronto-temporal Dementia.


PhD, CChem, MRSC

Responsibilities & affiliations

National CJD Research and Surveillance Unit (NCJDRSU) Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (CCBS) Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

CJD,  ALS, FTLD, Detection of protein misfolding diseases, assay development, fluorescence technologies

Current research interests

The application of RT-QuIC as a diagnostic tool for clinical identification in protein misfolding diseases, including CJD, ALS/MND and FTD. The production & use of various recombiant proteins in diagnostic RT-QuIC. Investigating how physical parameters affect the reproducibility of prion protein behaviour in diagnostic assays.

Past research interests

Protein folding, assay development, fluorescence technologies, small molecule inhibitors, protein-protein interactions.

Knowledge exchange

Dissemination of best practice - He is recognised as an international expert on the RT-QuIC technique. Since 2015, his advice has been sought out by 17 groups from Mexico to China. 15 of these laboratories have gone on to request physical support.


  1. Bsoul, R.; Lund, E.L.; Burns, K.; Andrews, M.; McKenzie, N.; Green, A.; Areškevičiūtė, A. Improved Real-Time Quaking Induced Conversion for Early Diagnostics of Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease in Denmark. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24, 6098.
  2. N. McKenzie, G Piconi, AJE Green et al, “Concordance of CSF RT-QuIC across the European Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease surveillance network” European Journal of Neurology 2022 doi: 10.1111/ene.15387
  3. A. Green, N. McKenzie,– “NeuroMethods – CSF Analysis – RT-QuIC for Prion Disease” by Springer Press 2021 https://link.springer.com/protocol/10.1007/978-1-0716-1319-1_6
  4. AJE Green, N. McKenzie, “CSF RT-QuIC and the Diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease” Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers (2021, p87-127)
  5. N. McKenzie, L. McGuire, A. Green, “Laboratory standard operating procedure for detecting sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease using Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC) assay” ECDC Technical Report (2020), www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/CJD-SOP-for-RT-QuIC-final-feb-2020.pdf
  6. C. Orrú, N. McKenzie et al (2020) Ring trial of 2nd generation RT-QuIC diagnostic tests for sporadic CJD" Ann. Clin. Trans. Neur. 7(11):2262 doi.org/10.1002/acn3.51219
  7. A. Areškevičiūtė, L. Melchior, H. Broholm, L. Krarup, S. Lindquist, P. Johansen, N. McKenzie, A. Green, J. Nielsen, H. Laursen, E. Lund. (2018). "Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in a Woman Married Into a Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker Family: An Investigation of Prions Transmission via Microchimerism." Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 77(8): 673-684.
  8. A. Franceschini, S. Baiardi, A. G. Hughson, N. McKenzie, F. Moda, M. Rossi, S. Capellari, A. Green, G. Giaccone, B. Caughey and P. Parchi, (2017). "High diagnostic value of second generation CSF RT-QuIC across the wide spectrum of CJD prions." Scientific Reports 7(1): 10655.


Conference Posters:


  1. N McKenzie et al, “Performance of second generation CSF RT-QuIC in a clinical CJD Surveillance setting” [Prion 2022, Poster] https://doi.org/10.1080/19336896.2022.2091286
  2. N McKenzie et al, “Evaluation of truncated versus full length hamster recombinant PrP as a substrate for CSF RT-QuIC in the diagnosis of sporadic CJD subtypes” [Prion 2018, Poster]
  3. A. Areskeviciute, N. McKenzie et al  “Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in a Woman Married into a Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker Family: An Investigation of Prions’ Transmission via Microchimerism” [Prion 2018, Poster]
  4. N. I. McKenzie, et al, “Investigation of the effect of sCJD subtypes on the sensitivity of CSF RT-QuIC.” [Prion 2017, Poster]
  5. G. Piconi, N. I. McKenzie, A. H. Peden, A.J.E. Green. “Characterisation of RT-QuIC Reaction Products” [Prion 2017, Poster]
  6. N. I. McKenzie, L. I. McGuire and JPND Consortium, Prion, 2016, 10, S93-S93. “Two International Ring-trials demonstrate that CSF RT-QuIC is a robust and reliable test for diagnosing sporadic CJD.” [Prion 2016 Poster]
  7. G. Piconi, N. McKenzie, M. Head and A. Green, Prion, 2016, 10, S52-S52. “sCJD prion seeding activity in human urine by RT-QuIC” [Prion 2016 Poster]


Prion conferences (2016-2018, 2022)

STEM Ambassador Programme (2016-2018)

Midlothian Science Festival (2016-2018)

Project activity

Neil's work facilitates the surveillance of prion disease in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

He has expertise in a clinical diagnostic technique called the "Real Time Quaking Induced Assay" (RT-QuIC) and, as part of an analytical service for the NHS, he runs the clinical laboratory side of this test. Edinburgh is recognised internationally as a centre of excellence for RT-QuIC. He produces the specialist materials required for these tests and makes them available to the national surveillance centres of many European countries.

He evaluates new applications and improvements of RT-QuIC as well as presenting his research work to external groups.

Current project grants

Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation

Funding Amount: $201,988
Program: Biomarkers
Target: TDP-43
Status: Active