Pair-fect Success! | Action Medical Research

Pair-fect Success!

1 March 2002
Two heads are better than one – especially when it comes to winning distinguished achievement awards! Two of Cambridge’s top medical brains have clinched a pair of awards being presented by leading medical research charity Action Research. Dr Diana Baralle and Professor Martin Bobrow received the accolades for their pioneering research studies, both of which are in the field of genetics. Action Research announced the awards at a time when it is also toasting its 50th golden anniversary. Tracy Swinfield, Director of Research at the Charity, says: ‘2002 marks a year when Action Research is celebrating five decades of medical successes and looking to the challenges ahead. ‘Cambridge is an important part of this commitment and Action Research is proud to be investing more than half a million pounds into research based here in the city.’ The Duncan Guthrie Training Fellowship Award, which is presented to exceptionally gifted young scientists and doctors, went to Dr Diana Baralle. Dr Baralle is a mother-of-three who works in the Department of Medical Genetics at Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where she is looking at a relatively common genetic disease called Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). The illness causes a number of abnormalities in children, and Dr Baralle is hoping to gain a better understanding of the disease by studying the NF1 gene. In addition to working full-time and chairing the local pre-school, Dr Baralle also finds time to keep fit and fundraise for Action Research. She recently completed a sponsored bike ride on behalf of the charity, and is currently training for a triathlon. Dr Baralle, who was born in Argentina and has studied in Oxford, Cambridge and London, was ‘thrilled’ by the tribute, which was presented during a special reception at St John’s College in Cambridge. The other accolade of the evening was the Harding Award, which was presented to Professor Martin Bobrow, who has been Head of the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Cambridge for seven years. The Harding Award is spearheaded by both Action Research and the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR). Initially introduced in 1971, the Award is presented annually for ‘outstanding work of immediate or future benefit to disabled people’. Professor Bobrow’s influence has been particularly important for the development of medical genetics services and research in the UK. After graduating in South Africa, the father-of-three has worked in Oxford and Amsterdam, as well as Cambridge. He has set up clinical studies in a number of conditions, notably muscular dystrophies, has sat on numerous medical and scientific committees, and has worked on several research studies funded by Action Research. Professor Bobrow said: ‘I was really very touched by the honour of receiving the Harding Award, and I am most grateful to Action Research – a charity I have always greatly admired.’ Action Research was initially founded in 1952 in the middle of a British polio epidemic, after its founder wanted to source funds to polio research. Action Research now funds some 120 research studies focusing on a variety of diseases and disabilities, representing an investment of £12 million. Some of its breakthroughs have included helping develop the UK’s rubella and polio vaccines, artificial hip replacement, and ultrasound scanning in pregnancy. Action Research is committed to helping people of all ages overcome disease and disability. The charity’s Touching Lives Campaign aims to raise £2.5m in 2002 for vital medical research and more details can be found at For further information please contact Nicole Duckworth in the Action Research press office on 01403 327403 Fax: 01403 210541, or email ISDN facilities are available. *The Duncan Guthrie Training Fellowship Award is named after the Charity’s founder, who launched the original organisation called The National Fund for Research into Poliomyelitis in 1952 when Britain was in the middle of a polio epidemic. *The Harding Award is named after Field Marshal Lord Harding of Petherton, Chairman of Action Research from 1960 to 1973. He played a leading role in the initiation of research projects into both the causes of disabling diseases and conditions and into the alleviation of the particular challenges faced by disabled people.
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