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Prestigious honour for Warden of School of Medicine and Dentistry

Professor Sir Nicholas Wright has received a Doctor of Science honorary degree from the University of Bristol.

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Professor Sir Nicholas Wright with Professor Peter Mathieson
Professor Sir Nicholas Wright with Professor Peter Mathieson

Professor Wright has become one of the most distinguished figures in academic medicine, receiving a knighthood in 2006 for services to medicine.

He is also a proud Bristolian and the honorary degree is in recognition of his outstanding achievement and distinction in a field or activity consonant with the University’s mission.

Professor Wight attended Bristol Grammar School, where he succeeded in a fast-track O Level course and applied to medical school when he was just 16. Durham Medical School accepted him straight into the second year before he graduated in 1965 and proceeded to achieve two post-graduate degrees in pathology at the University of Newcastle.

He soon became a senior lecturer and went on to hold a number of esteemed positions at leading research institutions, including his appointment as Director of Clinical Research at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in 1991.

Professor Wright is about to retire from the post of Warden of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry where he has worked for the past 10 years.

During his career he has published 241 peer-reviewed papers, 79 reviews, 56 book chapters and has edited or written no less than 11 books.

A strand that runs throughout Professor Wright’s remarkable career is the commitment to cancer research, much of it in relation to the gastrointestinal tract and the early origins of life threatening tumours.

His research has focused on tumour biology, looking at the colon and stem cells in the gut. These studies promise to lead to new treatments for various types of gut disease and on stem cells more generally, for instance the ways in which bone marrow transplants lead to repopulation of many different organs of the body.

In addition to his own research, he has supervised 37 successful research students during their work for PhD degrees, and 14 of his trainees have gone on to hold professorships, mainly in pathology.

In 2006 he became President of the Old Bristolians, his old school’s alumni association, and championed scholarships to give disadvantaged children access to the same educational opportunities that he himself had had.

Professor Peter Mathieson, Dean of Medicine and Dentistry, is delivering the oration at the ceremony and said: “I hope you will agree that the scholarships that Nick earned as a schoolboy and as an aspiring medical student have represented very good investments.

“Nick is a gifted academic, effective manager, renowned researcher, role model and leader. He brings great credit to Bristol as a son of this city.”

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