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Prof Sir Doug Turnbull joins likes of Newton and Einstein as Fellow of the Royal Society


17 April 2019

Prof Sir Doug Turnbull, Director of the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research and a long-serving member of The Lily Foundation Medical Board, has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society.

A head shot of a man with glasses in a dark suit and yellow tie

This prestigious award is given to individuals judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the improvement of knowledge in the fields of mathematics, engineering or medical science. The Royal Society dates back to 1660, and includes Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking among its previous elected Fellows.

Sir Doug has devoted his career to the treatment and research of mitochondrial disease. In 2015 he led a team at Newcastle University which changed the law to allow mitochondrial donation, a ground-breaking IVF technique that offers women with mitochondrial disease the chance to have healthy babies.

Commenting on being named for the honour, Sir Doug said: “I am delighted to be elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society. It is a great honour. This Fellowship highlights the exceptional quality of mitochondrial research performed within the Wellcome Centre at Newcastle University.”

Liz Curtis, CEO and co-founder of The Lily Foundation, said: "On behalf of everyone at Lily, I would like to offer huge congratulations to Prof Sir Doug Turnbull on being awarded a Fellowship of The Royal Society. We feel privileged and honoured to work so closely with Doug and his team at Newcastle. Doug's passion and commitment to his patients comes across in everything he does, and is an inspiration to us all as we work together to improve the lives of people living with mitochondrial disease."

In 2010, Sir Doug’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, Sir Doug 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.

Sir Doug developed and now leads the NHS National Highly Specialised Services for Rare Mitochondrial Diseases of Children and Adults, and is Director of the Newcastle University / MRC Centre for Ageing and Vitality. He is an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, an NIHR Senior Fellow, and has chaired Wellcome Trust panels and committees.

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