Prof’s OBE

Pro­fes­sor Neil in Queen’s New Year Hon­ours List

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Edel Ke­nealy

A Ruther­glen man who has been a lead­ing fig­ure in the fight against can­cer has been awarded an OBE.

Pro­fes­sor James Neil has been named in the Queen’s New Year Hon­ours List for ser­vices to the ad­vance­ment of bio­med­i­cal sci­ences.

A Ruther­glen man who has been a lead­ing fig­ure in the fight against can­cer has been awarded an OBE.

Pro­fes­sor James Neil, well known as the chair­man of Burn­side Com­mu­nity Coun­cil, has been named in the Queen’s New Year Hon­ours List for ser­vices to the ad­vance­ment of bio­med­i­cal sci­ences.

A pro­fes­sor of vi­rol­ogy and molec­u­lar on­col­ogy at the Univer­sity of Glas­gow, Jim has con­ducted vi­tal re­search into the AIDS virus and how sim­i­lar viruses cause can­cers in hu­mans and an­i­mals.

Cru­cially, the 63- year- old’s work has iden­ti­fied spe­cific genes that cause can­cers, paving the way for treat­ments for these can­cers to be de­vel­oped.

In­ves­ti­gat­ing these genes has been the ma­jor theme of Jim’s work over the past 35 years.

“I am de­lighted to be hon­oured in the Queen’s New Year list,” Jim said. “I was for­tu­nate to choose a re­search field that has pro­vided abun­dant op­por­tu­ni­ties for sci­en­tific dis­cov­ery as well as im­por­tant chal­lenges for hu­man and an­i­mal health.

“It has also been a spe­cial priv­i­lege to re­alise a per­sonal vi­sion in the de­vel­op­ment of the re­search com­plex on the Univer­sity of Glas­gow’s Garscube Cam­pus. I am in­debted to col­leagues whose gen­er­ous sup­port and hard work has made all of this pos­si­ble.”

Jim led the estab­lish­ment of the MRC Univer­sity of Glas­gow Cen­tre for Virus Re­search in 2009 and jointly led the for­ma­tion of the In­sti­tute of Com­par­a­tive Medicine in 2002 that to­gether led to £25mil­lion in­vest­ment in new re­search build­ings at Garscube.

He has also been an ad­vi­sor to UK gov­ern­ment com­mit­tees, re­search coun­cils and can­cer char­i­ties.

James added: “My un­der­stand­ing is that an OBE is awarded not just for per­sonal suc­cess, but for con­tri­bu­tions to wider so­ci­ety. I feel priv­iliged to have had the op­por­tu­nity to help bring ben­e­fits to the Univer­sity and to the city.”

Recog­nised in­ter­na­tion­ally for his con­tri­bu­tion to sci­ence, Jim is well known through­out Ruther­glen as chair­man of Burn­side Com­mu­nity Coun­cil.

Hav­ing moved to the area in 1978, Jim be­came an elder at Burn­side Blair­beth Church and joined the com­mu­nity coun­cil sev­eral years ago.

He is mar­ried to Una and has three chil­dren and five grand­chil­dren who keep him very busy in his spare time.

Mean­while his cur­rent fo­cus at work is test­ing promis­ing new drugs that specif­i­cally in­ter­fere with the abil­ity of leukaemia and lym­phoma cells to sur­vive and grow. It is funded by Blood­wise, the UK’s lead­ing char­ity for re­search into leukaemia and lym­phoma.

I am in­debted to col­leagues whose gen­er­ous sup­port and hard work has made all of this pos­si­ble . . . Prof James Neil

Recog­ni­tion Jim Neil was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Hon­ours List

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