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Multi-million pound philanthropic gift handed over to university of Leicester

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Multi-million pound philanthropic gift handed over to university of Leicester

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Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education and also in Communities, Health, Housing

Record donation will pump vital funds into heart research at Leicester by creation of unique facility in city

Images available from pt91@le.ac.uk


The biggest ever single philanthropic donation to the University of Leicester - a cheque for £4million - was presented when Trustees from the John and Lucille van Geest Foundation visited the University.

This major donation is part of a £7 million gift from the Foundation for heart research being conducted by the University at its purpose-built new research centre at Glenfield Hospital.

Hilary (Gussy) Marlowe, the daughter of John and Lucille van Geest and Chair of the Trustees, and her husband Peter Marlowe visited the University for the first time along with fellow Trustees, Stuart Coltman, Mr Tonie Gibson OBE and the clerk to the Trustees, Brenda Ruysen.

The Trustees and guests toured the University’s new Cardiovascular Research Centre (CRC) at Glenfield Hospital which includes the £2.5m John and Lucille van Geest Biomarker Facility funded by the Foundation’s milestone gift.

The funding and new facilities will help to pave the way for a new era of ‘personalised medicine’ enabling the University to create a facility that is unique in the UK and that can continue to compete globally.

In addition, a multi-million pound heart research Fund has been created allowing researchers from the University of Leicester to compete for funding for the most exciting and cutting-edge studies that will advance the fight against cardiovascular disease for years to come.

The £4.5m Fund will not only provide for specialised equipment and highly trained staff to carry out world-class research in cardiovascular disease, but will enable future generations to benefit from the knowledge hub that is created at the state-of-the-art Centre.

Hilary (Gussy) Marlowe, Chair of the Foundation Trustees, commented that;

“The Trustees are delighted to support the immediate plans for the new £2.5m Biomarker Facility proposed by the team at the University of Leicester and also to make a difference more widely for cardiovascular research in the long term.  The establishment of ‘the van Geest Foundation Heart and Cardiovascular Diseases Research Fund’ with a gift and pledge of £4.5m has ensured that vital funding for priority research projects will be available to University investigators for many years into the future.”

The Trustees met with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Robert Burgess and with the research team and students.  Professor Nilesh Samani, Head of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester and British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology outlined the significance of the CRC and the van Geest Research Fund in advancing heart research.

Professor Leong Ng and Dr Don Jones from the University discussed plans for the new Biomarker Facility and the current priorities and challenges for their research and there were also presentations by members of the Biomarker Facility, Janica Auluck (PG student), Jodie Sandhu (research associate) and Cao Huy Thong (PhD student) on their current research.

The University’s Director of Development, Steve O’Connor, said: 

“This very special gift reflects the power of philanthropy to transform academic research capacity, speed up the continual search for more breakthroughs that will benefit patients locally and across the UK and further endorses the University’s position as a leading centre of excellence for heart research.  We are proud to be working together with the John and Lucille van Geest Foundation whose generosity and commitment will help to ensure that the University continues to grow and flourish at the forefront of cardiovascular research.

Professor Burgess presented Mrs Marlowe with a heart-shaped silver pendant especially designed for benefactors of the ‘Silver Hearts Circle’ and in recognition of the milestone gift from the John and Lucille van Geest Foundation.

• To find out more click here: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2012/august/university-of-leicester-announces-record-a37-million-donation?searchterm=van geest

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