University of Leicester Wins Queen's Anniversary Prize
Royal recognition for world-renowned
achievements in Genetics
|The University of Leicester has been
selected as a winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize – a tremendous
accolade for the University which has now achieved this highest distinction
twice in less than a decade.
DEPARTMENT CELEBRATES: Staff in the University's Genetics Department celebrate on hearing the news of the Queen's Anniversary Prize
The University is to be honoured by Her
Majesty The Queen for its world-renowned achievements in Genetics – the only
5-star rated genetics department in the UK (Research Assessment Exercise 2001).
The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher
and Further Education has been awarded to the University for a period of four
years in recognition of innovative, pioneering research, its impact on society,
and promotion of the public understanding of science.
The Prize recognises and honours
‘outstanding achievements by UK universities and colleges. Uniquely in the
field of education these Prizes sit within the national honours systems’.
The awards are in their fifth round after
they were first made in 1994. The University of Leicester was among the first
winners of the Prizes when they were launched, winning it for the world-class
achievements in Physics and Astronomy.
The University was honoured on Thursday,
November 14 at a reception to announce the Prizewinners held in St James
Palace and attended by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Burgess and the Head
of Genetics Dr Annette Cashmore.
The University will be presented with a
Prize Medal and illuminated Prize Certificate at a national honours ceremony in
Buckingham Palace on 19 February 2003. The University will also be entitled to
display The Queen’s Anniversary Prize Logo on its materials.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Burgess
said: “This is a terrific achievement for the University of Leicester and
speaks volumes for the strength and depth of Genetics at Leicester. We have
recently launched an Institute of Genetics which brings together more than 250
researchers from across the University with the Department of Genetics at its
“The Department of Genetics at Leicester
is world-renowned. Through excellence and public impact of research and its
synergy between research and teaching, the Department has a major influence in
the field of genetics and public awareness of science.”
“It is a marvellous achievement for the
University which has won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize twice in the five
rounds of the award.”
Head of Genetics Dr Annette Cashmore said:
“Genetic fingerprinting fired the imagination of the public, bringing an
understanding of DNA into everyday life. The
Department is continuing promotion of public awareness of science with an
extensive programme of radio/television appearances and publications aimed at
the general public. The Department also
runs adult education courses, taster courses and work experience for local
schools and colleges".
“The Department provides an exciting and
challenging environment for study at graduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral
levels. It contributes to undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in medicine,
biological sciences and medical genetics reflecting the dynamic synergy between
its research and teaching.”
DNA fingerprinting was invented in the
Department by Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys and applications in immigration,
paternity testing, and criminal investigation have affected the lives of
thousands of people worldwide. It has also led to the development of powerful
technologies to study heritable DNA changes and continues impacting on genetics
research. A prime example is the
Department’s work on the genetic risks of exposure to radioactive
contamination following the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster.
Other pioneering research in the Department
includes investigation of DNA defects in many inherited disorders, including
inherited deafness, and common diseases such as psoriasis and eczema, impacting
directly on patient welfare. Important research into infectious disease includes
identification of genes affecting virulence of Campylobacter, one of the most significant bacterial organisms
causing food-borne gastrointestinal disease. Research
programmes using model organisms such as fruitflies and yeast are also having an
impact on human welfare - identifying fundamental processes involved in
behaviour and human diseases such as cancer.
For an in-depth report on the Department, visit http://www.le.ac.uk/press/ebulletin/features/genetics.html
For more information, please contact Ather
Mirza, Press Office, on 0116 252 2415.
This document has been approved by the head of department or section.