Saturday 29 December 2018

Newcastle experts recognised in New Year Honours

Newcastle University experts in the field of ageing and cancer have been recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours.

Professor Louise (Ann) Robinson (pictured above) has been awarded a dame hood for services to Primary Care and for improving older people’s quality of life and care they receive.

She is Director of Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, where academics, clinicians and researchers work on all aspects of ageing – from medical, biological and cellular, to psychosocial, economic and environmental aspects.

As director of the Institute, she looks after more than 700 academics and was a key figure in the successful £40m bid to Government for Newcastle University to host the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA). NICA is among the first in the country to bring together business, academia and the public to develop innovative products and services that make older lives better.

Professor Robinson said: “I am overwhelmed and absolutely delighted to be recognised in this way for what, to me, has been not a job but a lifelong passion to improve the care of older people, especially those living with dementia.”

Her research focuses not only on helping people remain healthy and independent for as long as possible, but also to facilitate healthy ageing across the life course, and she has led and contributed to more than 120 peer reviewed research papers focusing on these areas.

By Royal appointment, Professor Robinson was given the only Regius Professorship of Ageing in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the field.

In 2012, she was one of the first National Institute for Health Research professorships to be awarded for her ‘Living well with dementia’ programme, focused on cost-effective psychosocial interventions for dementia care, the role of assistive technologies and better quality end of life care.

Professor Robinson was primary care lead for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) National Guidelines Committee, Dementia Health and Social Care review (2015-17). The Government Office for Science Foresight Future of Ageing programme (2015-16) commissioned her to be the lead author of the expert review on recommendations for future community care provision for older people.

The Royal College General Practitioners has twice made her the National Clinical Champion for Ageing, which is testament to her commitment to improving the health and well-being of older people in primary care, through evidence based practice. And last year, it was announced that Professor Robinson would lead a £2m Global Health Research programme for three years into dementia, focusing on care and prevention of the condition worldwide.

Most recently the Alzheimer’s Society funded Professor Robinson and her team £1.7m to create a ‘Centre of Excellence’ at Newcastle University to focus on key priority areas within dementia care research.

From 2017, Professor Robinson has led an international team on the Global Health Research Group on Dementia Prevention and Enhanced Care (DePEC). Funded by the National Institute for Health Research, this team is dedicated to improving the health of patients and the public in low and middle income countries such as Malaysia, Tanzania and India, by developing global solutions to the dementia challenge.

Read more about Professor Dame Louise Robinson’s work. 

Cancer expertise honoured – Professor Herbie Newell CBE

Herbie (David) Newell is Emeritus Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at Newcastle University and has been awarded a CBE for services to Medical Research and Drug Development.

He was the founding Scientific Director of the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle University and the Director of Translational Research at Cancer Research UK from 2006 to 2009. In 2011, he was elected to the UK Academy of Medical Sciences.

Professor Newell was involved in the development of the registered cancer treatments carboplatin (Paraplatin®) and ralitrexed (Tomudex®), which has helped many cancer patients.

Until his retirement in 2016, he was working on the discovery and development of molecularly-targeted anticancer drugs and associated predictive and pharmacological biomarkers.

Emeritus Professor Herbie Newell, CBE, Newcastle University said: “I feel extremely honoured to be made a CBE; however, this award is not about me.  This honour recognises the wonderful work of the charities that support our research, especially Cancer Research UK, the patients who have taken part in the clinical trials on the drugs I have helped to develop, and all the excellent colleagues in academia and industry I have had the privilege of working with over the years.  This honour also recognises the outstanding quality of the medical research conducted at Newcastle University, and the strengths of our research teams.”

Professor Newell was the lead pharmacologist on the team that discovered the first-in-class PARP inhibitor rucaparib (Rubraca®) for ovarian cancer, which has been licensed by the European Medicines Agency and FDA in America.

In addition to his academic work, Professor Newell is very well-respected in his field and has consulted extensively for both pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, speaking widely at public meetings on behalf of Cancer Research UK.