Master of Trinity strengthens Thai links

The Master of Trinity, Sir Gregory Winter, received the Prince Mahidol Award 2016 in the field of medicine from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn at a ceremony in the Grand Palace in Bangkok this week.

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Sir Gregory receives the award from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

The UK’s Ambassador to Thailand, Brian Davidson, who is a Trinity alumnus, hosted a reception at the Embassy to celebrate the award.

Speaking at the event, which was attended by senior Thai Ministers and Trinity alumni, Sir Gregory said that political uncertainties made it even more important for the UK to build on its existing links with Thailand, and he hoped that individuals and institutions would help in whatever way possible. He said:

Prince Mahidol is generally regarded as the father of modern medicine and public health in Thailand, a man who led by example. This inspired me to set up a bursary fund for the additional financial support of students from Thailand to study at Trinity College, to which I will contribute a sum similar to the prize award. I hope this may encourage applications from bright students, preferably medics, to apply to Trinity and so strengthen our links with Thailand.

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Sir Gregory with senior Thai officials and the UK’s Ambassador to Thailand

In response to questions, Sir Gregory said that he was most grateful to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, President of the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation, for allowing use of the name ‘The Prince Mahidol Bursary Fund’, and to the College for administering the fund. He hoped that if others were to add to the fund, it might become sufficient to endow a scholarship at Trinity.

The Prince Mahidol Award was established in 1992 in honour of Thailand’s late Prince Mahidol of Songkla, the father of his Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, to recognise outstanding achievements in medicine and public health worldwide. Two awards, one in the field of medicine, and another in the field of public health, are made each year; the recipients receive a medal, a certificate and the sum of US$100,000 each.

While in Bangkok to receive the award, Sir Gregory visited Chulalongkorn Hospital, gave lectures about his research and career to medical professionals and students, and was interviewed by Thai media. He met senior Thai officials including Dr Paskorn Chaivanichsiri, Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, Minister of Education, Dr Atchaka  Sibunruang, Minister of Science and Technology, and Professor Dr Yongyuth Yuthavong, Former Deputy Prime Minister.

Sir Gregory is best known for developing the technologies for creation of new classes of antibody-based drugs to treat cancer and auto-immune diseases. This has led to a revolution in the pharmaceutical industry. Today therapeutic antibodies account for a third of all new treatments, with predicted global sales of nearly US$125 billion by 2020.

A graduate of Trinity and Senior Research Fellow before he became Master of Trinity, Sir Gregory carried out his research at the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology and the Centre for Protein Engineering at Cambridge.

He realised that if his scientific inventions were to become medicines, he would have to engage with the commercial world. Consequently, Sir Gregory founded three Cambridge biotech companies: Cambridge Antibody Technology (acquired by AstraZeneca), Domantis (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline) and Bicycle Therapeutics.

Read more about Sir Gregory’s research and the Prince Mahidol Award. 

For more information about The Prince Mahidol Bursary Fund, please contact: alumni@trin.cam.ac.uk

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