Medical Research Foundation's first Emerging Leaders Prize
25 April 2018
Dr David Hunt, a consultant at the Anne Rowling Clinic, has won first prize in the Medical Research Foundation's Emerging Leaders Prize. The annual prize aims to recognise and reward talented researchers who've already made a strong contribution to their field.
Lupus is a serious autoimmune condition caused when the body's immune system attacks its own tissue. It is most common in young women but in rare cases can affect children.
Dr Erina Herrick made the first Emerging Leaders Prize possible when she left a generous gift to the Medical Research Foundation in her will. The prize is a tribute to Dr Herrick's own work as a scientist and the contribution she made to lupus research.
Together the three winners' research considers lupus from three perspectives: its impact on the brain, the role of genetics and the autoimmune response. All are clinical academics, meaning that they run research projects and treat patients.
Dr Hunt's research looks at how lupus can affect the brain at a molecular level. He runs a specialist clinic at the Anne Rowling Clinic dedicated to tackling complex forms of brain inflammation with an emphasis on lupus.
"Brain disease in lupus is very poorly understood. I'm delighted to have won the Emerging Leaders Prize as it's a wonderful recognition of the work my lab, clinic and colleagues are doing to help understand and tackle this important problem."
"Our ability to develop treatments to prevent or treat brain disease in lupus is hampered by two problems. Firstly we understand very little of the molecular pathways which drive brain disease. Secondly we don't have good ways of measuring brain dysfunction in clinical trials. My group addresses both of these roadblocks, trying to decode the molecular pathway and develop practical biomarkers of brain disease." Dr David Hunt
Other prize winners were Dr Tracy Briggs of the University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust who wins £80k and Dr Edward Vital of the University of Leeds who will receive £20k. Dr Briggs focuses on the genetics of lupus, Dr Vital on the autoimmune elements.