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Cymraeg

National excellence award for University

17 November 2007

The Institute of Medical Genetics, part of the School of Medicine, has received one of this year’s Queen’s Anniversary Prizes, which recognise world class levels of excellence in UK Higher Education, from Her Majesty the Queen.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Grant and the Institute’s Director, Professor Julian Sampson, attended a ceremony at Buckingham Palace to collect the award. Dr Grant received the Prize medal from Her Majesty while Professor Sampson was presented with the certificate by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. The Cardiff party also included the University’s President, Lord Kinnock, the Chair of Council, Professor Sir Keith Peters, the Dean of the Medical School, Professor David Wynford-Thomas and five students working at the Institute.

Professor Sampson said: "It was a great honour to receive the award from Her Majesty this morning. The students and staff at Cardiff University’s Institute of Medical Genetics are all delighted that our work in developing new diagnostic tests and treatments for patients with genetic conditions has been recognised in this way."

The Institute earned the award for its success in identifying genetic causes of diseases and developing new diagnostic tests and treatments for them. Its achievements include:

  • Identifying genes linked to bowel cancer, Huntington’s Disease, muscular dystrophy, tuberous sclerosis and polycystic kidney disease
  • Developing tests for these and other disorders including Neurofibromatosis which are now used in the NHS and abroad, allowing earlier and more accurate diagnosis and increasingly more effective treatments
  • Trials of new treatments for tuberous sclerosis and Huntington’s Disease. Successful early test results for the tuberous sclerosis treatment have just been published.
  • Enhanced screening for families at risk of disease
  • Training counsellors to support patients and families in coming to terms with the results of genetic tests
  • Helping develop the Wales Gene Park, enhancing the Welsh knowledge economy and public understanding of genetic science

The Institute is now expanding with a £4.8M investment in new laboratories for more work on cancer genetics. The focus will be on developing new methods of earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Grant said: "Professor Julian Sampson and the Institute of Medical Genetics team are to be congratulated on this recognition of the excellence of their research, training and healthcare work. The Institute has identified the causes of several major diseases and developed innovative and effective new approaches to the treatment and support of patients and families with inherited conditions.

"This prize is the second significant honour for Cardiff University geneticists in recent months, following Professor Sir Martin Evans’ Nobel Prize for stem cell research, and is testament to our world-leading standing in this increasingly vital science."

Robin Gill, Chairman of the Royal Anniversary Trust said: "The Prizes confer the highest national recognition on the work of our universities and colleges and the part they play in the country’s economic advance, social wellbeing and industrial self-fulfilment. The scheme establishes a benchmark for excellence and validates Britain’s contribution to innovation, knowledge and skills on the world scene."

This is the third time that excellence at Cardiff University has been recognised with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, which are awarded every two years. The previous winners are Professor Tony Campbell, of the School of Medicine, who won a Prize in 1998 for his pioneering use of chemiluminescence in clinical diagnosis and the University’s Manufacturing Engineering Centre, which won a Prize in 2000 in recognition of its contribution to the economy.

Caption for group picture: The University presentation party. (left to right) IMG PhD students Natalie Jones, Dobril Ivanov, Duncan Azzopardi, Cleo Bonnet, IMG director Professor Julian Sampson, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Grant, Dean of the School of Medicine Professor David Wynford-Thomas, the University President, Lord Kinnock and IMG PhD student Mark Davies.

Credit: Paul Mellor Photography