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Royal recognition for excellence

14 February 2008

The vice-chancellor with the Queen

The Queen conferred one of the most prestigious awards in UK higher education on the Institute of Medical Genetics at Buckingham Palace ceremony earlier today.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Grant received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize medal from Her Majesty. The Institute’s Director, Professor Julian Sampson, received the Prize certificate from the His Royal Highness Prince Philip, 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.

QA Prize group shot

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are awarded every two years for excellence in the higher education. The Institute of Medical Genetics won for discovering the genetic causes of numerous diseases and its work developing diagnostic tests, counselling and treatments for patients with those diseases.

The Institute’s achievements have included:

  • Identifying genes linked to bowel cancer, Huntington’s Disease, muscular dystrophy, tuberous sclerosis and polycystic kidney disease
  • Developing tests for these and other disorders 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
  • 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. One treatment, for tuberous sclerosis, is already undergoing clinical tests and initial results suggest it is effective in reducing tumour size.

Professor Julian Sampson with the Duke of Edinburgh

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."

This is the third Queen’s Anniversary Prize to be won by members of Cardiff University staff. Professor Tony Campbell won a Prize in 1998 for his application of bioluminescence to clinical diagnosis. The Manufacturing Engineering Centre won a prize in 2001 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