Press Office


Barbour donation boosts key research


A £1m donation has helped young researchers at Newcastle University tackle some of the most debilitating syndromes and diseases. 

The Barbour Foundation made the generous donation last year and the money has now been allocated to the areas where research will have the biggest impact such as ageing, human genetics and neurodegenerative disease.

Professor Chris Day, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Medical Sciences said: “This donation is enabling important research and we are all very grateful for the opportunities that it has given to the University so far and those it will create in the future.

“The funding will mean we can support young career scientists in some of the cutting-edge areas of research which can really make a difference to the healthcare we can provide in the future.

“This is wonderful news and really celebrates the import and life-changing work in which our research teams are involved.”

The donation will establish 19 research posts across the University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences over the next five years.  Dame Margaret Barbour DBE DL, Chair of the Barbour Foundation, this week met with several of the students at Newcastle University who will benefit from her generosity.

One of those students is Zoe Winston. She will focus on the effect that diabetes has on the brain in terms of attention, processing speed, memory and general functioning. Zoe said: “These things are currently poorly understood so I’m hopeful I could make a real difference with this research.

“I am very thankful to the Barbour Foundation for their immense generosity; it will make a big impact on my education and I will be forever grateful.” 

Another student who has been helped by the Barbour donation is Randy Ballesteros, who will look at how mistakes in cell division can lead to disorders in babies such as Down’s syndrome.

Randy said: “I hope that my research can be a small step on the way to enabling more healthy babies. I would like to thank the Barbour Foundation for supporting my work and also for helping the generations to come.”

Dame Margaret Barbour said: “I was so pleased to have had the opportunity to meet the students who are being helped.  The visit was so interesting and I was very much impressed by their enthusiasm for the research of the medical topics they had chosen.  I found it an extremely rewarding experience.”

Professor Day added: “The Barbour Foundation has identified with our vision to further medical research by creating opportunities for bright scientists to develop their ideas here at Newcastle University.

“The projects they will take forward will look at the basic mechanisms of specific diseases and will ultimately help us move closer to breakthroughs that will benefit patients here in the region and across the world. We must continue to provide opportunities for younger researchers to explore new treatments for diseases such as dementia, cancer and stroke.”

published on: 4 November 2013