The University of Cambridge has announced a £5 million gift ($6.24 million) from alumnus R. Derek Finlay in support of research on the causes of neurodegenerative diseases.
The gift will support research on disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and will help the university wrap up construction on a Chemistry of Health building that will house a Centre for Misfolding Diseases. To be directed by Christopher Dobson, a professor of chemical and structural biology in the university's Department of Chemistry, the center will work to understand how protein molecules "misfold" in humans and explore ways to accelerate the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics for such disorders.
In 2016, Finlay lost his wife, Una, to Alzheimer's disease. "It is my hope that the new Chemistry of Health Building will enable breakthroughs to be made in our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, bringing us closer to the development of new treatments," he said. "My gift to support Cambridge's pioneering work in this area is in memory of my dear late wife, Una, herself a sufferer of Alzheimer's."