Dr. Orla Hardiman is an Irish consultant neurologist. She was appointed Professor of Neurology by Trinity College University of Dublin in 2014, where she heads the Academic Unit of Neurology, housed in Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute. She is a HRB Clinician Scientist and Consultant Neurologist at the National Neuroscience Center of Ireland at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. She leads a team of 30 researchers focusing on clinical and translational aspects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and related neurodegenerations. Hardiman has become a prominent advocate for neurological patients in Ireland, and for patients within the Irish health system generally. She is co-Founder of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, and Doctors Alliance for Better Public Healthcare. In the past, she established the bi-annual Diaspora Meeting, a forum for Irish neurologists based overseas to present and discuss their research findings with neurologists working in Ireland.
Dr. Hardiman’s main research interests are amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (motor neurone disease) and related motor neuron degenerations, phenotype/genotype correlations, population genetics and clinical epidemiology. Along with RCSI research fellow Dr. Matt Greenway, Hardiman discovered angiogenin, a novel gene which may be responsible for motor neuron disease. The discovery led to the development of an international research programme with Harvard Medical School, institutes in the United Kingdom and researchers at RCSI. Since 2008 she has been the editor in chief of the field journal “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration” and with Colin P Doherty is Co-Editor of the textbook “Neurodegenerative Disorders”. In 2004, Dr. Hardiman received the first Palatucci Advocacy Leader of the Year Award from the American Academy of Neurology. In 2009, she was awarded the Sheila Essey Award for ALS research by the American Academy of Neurology and the American ALS Association. She is the only Irish based neurologist to have received these awards from the American Academy of Neurology. In 2011 she received the Forbes Norris Award from the International Alliance of ALS/MND. The Award is to encourage a combination of two major qualities, management of and research into the disease to the benefit of people living with ALS/MND.