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An Oxford professor accepted the Debrecen University Prize

An Oxford professor accepted the Debrecen University Prize

Frances Marie Ashcroft, a professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, has been awarded the Debrecen 2020 Prize for Molecular Medicine, for her scientific achievements in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes in newborns. The press conference to announce the awards ceremony was held at Villa Kinisi by Laszlo Cernoch, Academic Vice-Chancellor of the University, Laszlo Mateusz, Dean of the Faculty of General Medicine, and Giorgi Pani, University Professor, on March 28.

Of course, Mrs. Ashcroft was also present at the event.

“It is a great appreciation that I can receive this award.” I researched the list of past winners and was thrilled to be a member of such a brilliant community. It’s a great opportunity to be able to come to Debrecen and visit the campus – said Frances Marie Ashcroft, adding that a researcher never works alone, and colleagues and doctoral students help him achieve results. The professor especially drew the attention of press representatives to the fact that her research is about diabetes in newborns.

Frances Mary Ashcroft

In his welcome address, Laszlo Cernoch emphasized that not only the number of staff, but also the number and quality of recognized researchers is crucial for a university. In biomedical research, the prize is always given to the main characters. With the acceptance of the award by Frances Marie Ashcroft, the University of Debrecen has been added to the elite map of molecular medicine, increasing the prestige and recognition of the university.

The award is not only recognition, but also an opportunity to continue collaboration and joint research.

László Mátyus informed press representatives of the establishment of the award and the process for awarding it. He said that the award was established by the University of Debrecen in 2003, and that the current award should be the 21st. However, the recipient of the 2020 award is Frances Marie Ashcroft and, due to the pandemic, the award can only be presented now, which will pay off previous debts. The key aspect in selecting a winner is that the practical benefit of his research can be seen in the healing of patients. From this point of view, the Oxford professor is the ideal recipient. He made a shocking discovery that clearly changed the lives of tens of thousands of sick children. Doctors of the Faculty of General Medicine of the University of Debrecen and previous award recipients can propose the award.

The committee narrows down the list of candidates to two, and then decides on the winner by secret ballot.

Praising the professor’s work, Giorgi Pani said: “It is very rare for a scientist to see the results of his research in the treatment and recovery of patients during his lifetime.” – Frances Marie Ashcroft discovered the molecular mechanism of childhood and congenital diabetes and found that mutations, those changes in the cellular membrane proteins of ion channels, cause children to have diabetes already at birth. This condition has serious mental and physical consequences. have previously been treated with insulin. The professor’s discovery is what kind of mutations in molecules that regulate insulin secretion in the pancreas cause this disease, and how it can be treated with pills. This can make an incredibly big difference in children’s lives in terms of quality of life and complications from the disease.

The Oxford professor received the award from Laszlo Czernoch, Laszlo Mateusz and Gheergi Bagni in the hall of the main building of the University of Debrecen. After the solemn moments, Frances Marie Ashcroft gave a science presentation to a mostly college student audience about diabetes in newborns, her discoveries, and the methods that help diagnose and treat it.


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