Professor Mary Reilly, professor of neurology at University College London Queen Square Institute of Neurology will be delivering the 2021 Samuel Gee lecture as part of College Day.
The last 20 years has seen an explosion in the understanding of the genetic basis of diseases and especially neurological diseases. The increasing identification of new genes has been aided by the developments in next generation sequencing especially whole exome and whole genome sequencing. The inherited neuropathies, as they are common and clinically and genetically complex, are representative of genetic neurological diseases. There are now over 100 causative genes identified for the inherited neuropathies and in a few of these gene silencing and gene replacement therapies are now in clinical use and in many others are in clinical trials. Careful study of patients has underpinned all these genetic discoveries. Animal models are critical to study the pathogenesis and efficacy of novel therapies but it is increasing clear that these are models of pathways rather than the complete human disease. We need to remember that humans are the ultimate animal model in understanding the pathogenesis and in the development of therapies for human diseases.
The lecture was established by a bequest from Miss Edith Thyra Gee in 1964 in memory of her father, Dr Samuel Jones Gee who died in 1911.
Samuel Gee, a Fellow, had a longstanding relationship with the College. He was the Goulstonian lecturer in 1871, Bradshaw lecturer in 1892 and Lemleian lecturer in 1899 as well as senior censor. He was appointed physician to the Prince of Wales (later King George V) in 1901. His book Medical Lectures and Aphorism contains all of his lectures given at the College.
Gee is recognised as one of the greatest medical experts of his day and one of the greatest clinical teachers of the Victorian era. He was the first to identify coeliac disease and wrote extensively on medicinal topics such as chicken pox, scarlet fever and tubercular meningitis.
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