A WORLD leading medical scientist based in the region has been recognised for his pioneering work into the understanding of mitochondrial disease.

Professor Sir Doug Turnbull has been awarded the Buchanan Medal by the Royal Society, the world’s oldest independent scientific academy, dedicated to promoting excellence in science.

He has devoted his career to the treatment and research of mitochondrial disease – a chronic genetic condition – and led a team at Newcastle University which changed the law to allow an IVF technique known as mitochondrial donation which offers women with the condition the chance of having healthy children.

Sir Doug said: “It is a great honour to receive the Buchanan Medal from the Royal Society, which is awarded for distinguished contributions to biomedical science.

“I received this award particularly in relation to mitochondrial disease, and I have been very fortunate to work with great scientists and clinicians.

“From a personal perspective, it is very important that our research has made a difference to the lives of patients with mitochondrial disease.”

In 2010, Sir Doug’s work was recognised when he and his colleagues were awarded coveted Wellcome Centre Status, one of only a handful in the UK and which patients travel from all over the country to be under his care.