The University of Exeter Medical School has received a £1 million donation from The Dennis and Mireille Gillings Foundation.

The Dennis and Mireille Gillings Foundation donates £1 million for cutting-edge medical research

The University of Exeter Medical School has received a £1 million donation from The Dennis and Mireille Gillings Foundation towards its pioneering work in genetic disorders. The generous donation will fund new staff to allow the Medical School to expand its research to improve patient care in the NHS and beyond, building its expertise in the diagnosis of genetic disorders, including in early pregnancy, and other innovative diagnostic testing.

Exeter alumnus Dr Dennis Gillings, CBE, Hon DSc, was born and educated in the UK, receiving both a Bachelor’s degree (1966) and PhD (1972) in Mathematics from Exeter, as well as an Honorary Degree in 2011. He said: “I have been hugely impressed by the growth and development of the University of Exeter into one of the UK’s top ten and now world’s top 100 universities. Our gift to the Medical School will sustain and enhance Exeter’s pioneering research in this field.”

Dr Mireille Gillings said: “Attracting the brightest and best clinical and research staff to improve public health in Devon will enable patients and their families in the South West of England – and around the world – to benefit from more effective and safe diagnoses of a wide range of disorders.”

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter said: “We are indebted to The Dennis and Mireille Gillings Foundation for this gift. Thanks to Dennis and Mireille’s visionary philanthropy in the field of health, we will be able to grow our scientific community and increase the global impact of the medical research produced at Exeter.”

Professor Andrew Hattersley, FRS, Gillings Chair in Precision Medicine, said: “This extraordinary act of generosity enables us to build on Dennis and Mireille’s previous support. We will use this latest gift to pioneer novel diagnostics across a wide range of genetic disorders, encourage research that is embedded within clinical care and increase Exeter’s standing as a Centre for Clinical Excellence.”

Dr Shaun Curtis, Director of Global Engagement and Development at the University of Exeter said: “The University values deeply its relationship with the Foundation and with Dennis and Mireille Gillings personally. They have been key philanthropic partners and ambassadors in the development of medicine at Exeter, providing strategic advice and donating £2 million to date. The University is launching its most ambitious fundraising campaign at the end of this year and we hope this donation will motivate fellow alumni, trusts and foundations and other supporters to invest in Exeter’s future.”

For more information about the University of Exeter Medical School visit medicine.exeter.ac.uk/

Date: 19 January 2016

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