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Honorary awards presented at Queen Mary Graduation

Queen Mary University of London was delighted to celebrate four outstanding recipients of honorary awards as part of its Summer Graduation. 

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The NHS’s first Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) for England Professor Dame Sue Hill was presented with an honorary Doctor of Science in recognition of her distinguished career in Genomics for NHS England, establishing NHS Genomic Medicine Centres and leading the NHS England Personalised Medicine Strategy. A respiratory scientist by background, Professor Dame Sue has been a champion of education and training as CSO, leading the UK wide Modernising Scientific Careers initiative and now the NHS diagnostics workforce programme.  


Professor Dame Sue leads and directs Genomics in the NHS, driving the world-leading programme to introduce a nationwide Genomic Medicine Service to deliver cutting edge technologies for patient benefit and new collaborations between the NHS and academia, industry, and international governments and initiatives. This builds on her work in heading up the NHS contribution to the world-leading 100,000 Genomes Project, an initiative led by Queen Mary University of London’s VP Health, Professor Sir Mark Caulfield.  


The initiative oversaw the sequencing of over 100,000 genomes of patients affected by rare disease or cancer. The project has already delivered life-changing results for patients and has shed light on the important role genomics can play in healthcare, paving the way for a new Genomic Medicine Service. 


Professor Dame Sue said: “I am delighted to be receiving an honorary degree from Queen Mary University of London. Queen Mary has a long history of excellence and pushing forward the boundaries.” 


Also on 17 July, an honorary Queen Mary Fellowship was awarded to Luke Savage in recognition of his significant service to the Queen Mary Council. Luke joined the Council as a member in 2013, serving for eight years and acting as Treasurer for the University and Chair of its Finance and Investment Committee.  


Luke trained as an accountant with PwC before moving into a career in financial services spanning over three decades. He worked at market-leading firms across banking, insurance and asset management, with roles including Chief Finance Officer of Lloyds of London and Group Chief Finance Officer of Standard Life. 


Luke said: “I feel very honoured to be awarded my Fellowship by Queen Mary University of London. Education is the key to unlocking so many opportunities in life, and I feel privileged to have helped Queen Mary in doing that for so many thousands of students over the years during my time on Council”.  



On 25 July, Dr Lorna Ewart was presented with an honorary Doctor of Science for her pioneering work in drug discovery and development.

Dr Ewart is a renowned expert in the field, with a passion for creating and applying human-relevant models. Her work has helped to improve the success rate of new medicines and reduce the time and cost of drug development.

Dr Ewart plays an important role in Queen Mary's Centre for Predictive in vitro Models. Based on Organs-on-Chips technology, she and her team have created a Human Emulation System into the inner workings of human biology and disease. The platform offers researchers a new standard for predicting how a human may respond to medicines, chemicals, and foods — with greater precision and control than today's cell culture or animal-based testing methods.

Dr Ewart said: “My professional work has been dedicated to improving patient outcomes, and I’m humbled to say, we are just getting started. The recent scientific advances related to human relevant research models, such as organ-on-a-chip technology, have the potential to transform how we understand biological processes and improve drug development.”

Also on 25 July, David Willis was admitted as a Fellow of Queen Mary in recognition of his significant service to the University. David had a notable career as a solicitor, including four years as Managing Partner of Herbert Smith, where he introduced initiatives to remove barriers to social mobility for graduates. David has continued to pursue this social mission following his retirement.

He joined the Queen Mary Council as an external member in 2013, serving for eight years, including seven years as Chair of Audit and Risk Committee. David is currently Chair of the Paradigm Multi-Academy Trust based in Tower Hamlets, which aspires to develop and sustain schools where they can make the biggest difference to pupils. He is also Vice-Chair of United Response, a charity that supports young people and adults with mental health needs and disabilities. 

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