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Pioneering neurologist receives knighthood

Published on 14th February

A world-leading neurologist who has devoted his career to the treatment and research of mitochondrial disease has received a knighthood for his outstanding work.

Professor Sir Doug Turnbull, an expert in neurology at Newcastle University, has been honoured by the Queen for his pioneering work into the understanding of mitochondrial disease.

He cares for more than 1,000 patients and their families dealing with mitochondrial disease, a genetic disorder that at its most severe causes blindness, heart failure and ultimately death.

Honour Delight

Professor Turnbull, who was knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, said: “I am delighted to receive this knighthood.

“I am privileged to work with a dedicated group of colleagues and we all work together to improve the lives of patients with mitochondrial disease.”

In 2012, Professor Turnbull’s work was recognised when he and his colleagues were awarded the coveted Wellcome Centre status, one of only a handful in the UK. 

As director of the Centre, Professor Turnbull has built an internationally-renowned team of clinicians and researchers, with patients opting to travel from all over the country to be under his care in Newcastle.

While the treatments he and his colleagues at the University provide have improved the quality of life for hundreds of patients, preventing these disabling genetic diseases is crucially important for families.

Certain forms of mitochondrial disease are passed down from mother to child. Mitochondrial donation, a new IVF technique developed in the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research at the University, offers women with the condition the chance of having healthy children.

Professor Turnbull has worked tirelessly with patients, patient organisations and policy makers to champion mitochondrial donation. These efforts were rewarded when the UK parliament voted to allow this ground-breaking treatment to be offered to patients.

For the full article, please visit the Newcastle University website.

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