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Angela Russell, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Oxford Departments of Pharmacology and Chemistry, has been announced as one of the five recipients of the inaugural UK Rare Disease Scholar Award, presented by the Harrington Discovery Institute (HDI).

Professor Angela RussellThrough its UK charity, Fund for Cures UK, with Morgan Stanley GIFT Cures, HDI issued a call for proposals for cutting-edge research in rare diseases and rare variants of more common diseases. Around 350 million people worldwide have a rare disease, half of which are children. Of the 7,000 known rare diseases, only five percent have an approved treatment. Rare diseases represent one of the greatest unmet needs in global healthcare today.

In addition to her joint appointment between Pharmacology and Chemistry, Professor Russell is a member of the MDUK Oxford Neuromuscular Centre. She aims to develop new drugs for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a severe muscle disease with childhood onset.

Speaking of the launch of the Rare Disease Scholar Awards in the UK, Jonathan Stamler, President of the HDI, said, “In eight years we have built a strong portfolio of breakthrough science throughout the US and Canada, and we are excited to extend our reach to the United Kingdom. Together with our Scholars and their institutions, we are pleased to move one step closer to changing the rare disease landscape in a meaningful way.”

In response to the announcement of her award, Professor Russell commented, “I’m delighted to have been awarded a 2021 Harrington UK Rare Diseases Scholarship. The support and guidance the Harrington team provide will be instrumental to allow us to build on our collaborative work with Professor Dame Kay Davies’ group (DPAG), to develop a small molecule drug to increase utrophin levels at the muscle membrane to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients.”