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UCL Institute of Ophthalmology wins Queen’s Anniversary Prize

25 November 2011

Blood vessels and glia cells in the human retina

The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is the recipient of a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, in recognition of “outstanding excellence”, it was announced today.

The Prizes are a biennial award scheme which is within the UK’s national honours system. As such, they are the most prestigious form of national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution. The awards are presented every two years by The Queen, with The Duke of Edinburgh, in recognition of work by universities and colleges which is judged to be of world class excellence.

The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is one of the foremost and most influential eye and vision research institutes in the world, enjoying an exceptional reputation for excellence in furthering understanding of the eye and visual system and its related disorders and diseases. It is at the cutting edge of translational research that delivers new therapies, diagnostic tools and preventive measures to patients suffering from visual impairment or blinding conditions.

We are proud and honoured to receive this award which is a tribute to the scientific excellence and commitment of all at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.

Professor Phil Luthert

Professor Phil Luthert, the Institute’s Director, said: "We are proud and honoured to receive this award which is a tribute to the scientific excellence and commitment of all at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. The award, which recognises and acknowledges this considerable effort, means a great deal to us.

"We are very excited about the work we are doing to enhance our understanding of vision and eye disease and are confident the next few years will bring even greater benefit to patients and those at risk of visual impairment."

The Institute is closely integrated with Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, demonstrating how focused academic research directed at key clinical problems can generate real and lasting benefit for patients. The hospital’s intense clinical activity combined with the Institute’s size and diversity gives a special and unique quality to the scale and potential of the partnership.

This quality is realised in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre for Ophthalmology, a partnership between Moorfields and the Institute. Earlier this year, it was announced that the Centre would be supported by an NIHR award of £26.5 million over five years.

The Institute has been responsible for several world firsts in novel therapeutics. It was the first centre to undertake gene therapy for eye disease (for retinal disorder in 2008). Its flagship initiative to develop human embryonic stem cell technology in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration is set to become one of the first uses of this approach in humans.

Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL President & Provost, added: "This award is truly well deserved and a testament to the exceptional research pursued by the Institute. Through its committed focus on applied research and strong clinical and commercial partnerships, the Institute has pursued a distinctive strategy which delivers real benefits in medicine and society. We are proud of all that it has achieved so far and look forward to all it will achieve in the future."

Image caption: Blood vessels and glia cells in the human retina (Credit: Dr Marcus Fruttiger)


UCL Institute of Ophthalmology
Royal Anniversary Trust
Full list of prize winners