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A life in medicine

12 May 2011

Anthony Campbell WEBProfessor Anthony Campbell

A 40-year University career which helped develop one of the most important medical breakthroughs for common disorders including irritable gut syndrome, lactose and food intolerance and touch thousands of members of the public and inspire the next generation of Welsh scientists will be remembered next week, as part of a 40 year celebration of Professor Anthony Campbell’s work.

Professor Anthony Campbell is one the University’s key figures within the School of Medicine and Welsh School of Pharmacy. A true natural scientist, he remains a leading advocate that science begins with curiosity, leading to discoveries that explain how the living world works, and evolved.

Professor Campbell was a leading member of the Medical School’s research team seeking to use chemiluminescence (light-emitting chemical reactions) as a replacement for radioactivity in cell biology, immunoassay and DNA technology. He was one of the inventors of a series of patents filed by the School.

The School of Medicine’s world-leading technology has helped transform clinical diagnosis and is now used in several 100 million clinical tests per year. As a result the School was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 1998 and the technology was selected in 2006 by the Eureka project from Universities UK as one of the 100 most important inventions and discoveries from UK Universities in the last 50 years.

In 2010, a report from the Russell group of Universities on the impact of basic research on the economy selected this work as the only case study from Wales.

Dr James Matthews, Senior Lecturer, Infection, Immunity and Biochemistry at the School of Medicine said: "Professor Campbell is truly one of the School’s most dedicated and highly respected members.

"A 40 year career in any profession is to be celebrated – let alone one that has achieved so much in new discoveries and encouraging the next generation of budding scientists. On behalf of colleagues across the School of Medicine – and colleagues across the University and beyond - I hope this event will go some way to help mark and celebrate his success."

Professor Campbell obtained a first class degree in Natural Sciences at Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1967, and a PhD in Biochemistry in 1971 and has published over 200 scientific papers, 8 books, including a recipe book for people suffering from lactose intolerance and has several patents being exploited world-wide.

He is also widely recognised for his pioneering work to communicate science – and as a pioneer in Wales at engaging with schools and the public.

The Public Understanding of Science in Health (PUSH) group that he founded in this University in 1993 involves some 150 staff at all levels across five academic Schools.

This group runs events throughout the year, including Science in Health Live, regularly now with over 550 students and teachers (voted one of the top 3 events in National Science Week by the British Science Association in 2009), a public lecture programme, the Nuffield and other student research schemes. In 1994, he also founded The Darwin Centre for Biology and Medicine and the Welston Court Science Centre in Pembrokeshire in 1996.

This led in 1999 to him founding the Pembrokeshire Darwin Science Festival. The Darwin Centre is now a leading focus for outreach and public engagement in Wales, organising more than 150 events each year, having received financial support from public and private sources, including the Millennium Festival, COPUS, EU, Dragon LNG, The Waterloo Foundation, and other organisations in Pembrokeshire.

A celebration of Tony Campbell’s 40 years at the School of Medicine takes place on Friday 20th May at the School of Medicine. As part of the day’s event speakers from Cambridge University, University of Paris and the Darwin Centre will deliver lectures.

Further information on the day’s events is available by contacting Dr James Matthews, School of Medicine on 029 20 687021 or e-mail:

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