Congratulations to Professor Nick Morrell on his receipt of the Vice Chancellor’s Impact Award for the School of Clinical Medicine at the award ceremony on Thursday 13th July, hosted by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz. The Vice-Chancellor’s Impact Awards were established to recognise and reward those whose research has led to excellent impact beyond academia, whether on the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life.
The award was given to Professor Morrell based on his nomination for his work, summarised by the title. Professor Morrell has been researching into severe high blood pressure in the lungs, known as idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, for over 25 years. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a rare disease that affects approximately 1,000 people (usually young women) in the UK, with an average life expectancy of three to five years from diagnosis. Existing treatments improve symptoms but have little impact on survival. Professor Morrell has introduced routine genetic testing for this condition, and found that one in four patients carry a particular genetic mutation associated with more severe disease and worse survival. His research has identified new ways to treat the disease, the most promising of which is being commercialised through a university spin-out biotech company (www.morphogen-ix.com).
- Hurst LA, Dunmore BJ, Long L, Crosby A, Al-Lamki R, Deighton J, Southwood M, Yang X, Nikolic MZ, Herera B, Inman CJ, Bradley JR, Rana AA*, Upton PD*, Morrell NW*. TNFα drives pulmonary arterial hypertension by suppressing the BMP type-II receptor and altering NOTCH signaling. Nat Commun 2017;Jan 13;8:14079 PMID 28084316 *joint senior authors
- Evans JD, Girerd B, Montani D, Wang XJ, Galie N, Austin ED, Elliott G, Asano K, Grunig E, Yan Y, Jing ZC, Manes A, Palazzini M, Wheeler LA, Nakayama I, Satoh T, Eichstaedt C, Hinderhofer K, Wolf M, Rosenzweig EB, Chung WK,Soubrier F, Simonneau G, Sitbon O, Graf S, Kaptoge S, Di Angelantonio E*, Humber M*, Morrell NW*. BMPR2 mutations and survival in pulmonary arterial hypertension: an individual participant data meta-analysis. Lancet Respir Med 2016;4(2):129-37. PMID 26795434 *joint senior authors
- Long L, Ormiston ML, Yang X, Southwood M, Graf S, Machado RD, Mueller M, Kinzel B, Yung LM, Wilkinson JM, Moore JD, Drake KM, Aldred MA, Yu PB, Upton PD*, Morrell NW*. Selective enhancement of endothelial BMPR-II with BMP9 reserves pulmonary arterial hypertension. Nat Med 2015;21:777-85. *joint senior authors