Fundraise Your Way

Lifesaving research

Your support can directly benefit health and wellbeing research - from tackling infectious diseases to researching new therapies for neurological conditions - the choice is yours.

Dr Richard Chin meets with a patient

Our medical research has benefitted millions of individuals and you can help too by fundraising in aid of the cause close to your heart. Below are just a few examples of the areas you can help. If there is an area you are interested in helping that isn’t listed below, please get in touch to discuss.

Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic

Anne Rowling, born in 1945, was the mother of the author J.K. Rowling, famous for her Harry Potter books. Anne died in 1990 from complications related to multiple sclerosis. In 2010, when J.K. Rowling reached the age at which her mother died, she founded this clinic in her mother’s name.

At the Anne Rowling Clinic, we deliver clinical care and research to improve the lives of people with degenerative conditions affecting the brain.

We are delivering drug trials, making discoveries and improving quality of life for people living with neurological conditions including multiple sclerosis (MS), motor neuron disease (MND), cognitive disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and early onset dementias.

We host NHS Lothian specialist clinics for these conditions and combine this clinical care with scientific research. By combining clinical care and scientific research we are giving people living with neurodegenerative conditions the opportunity to be part of innovations and discoveries that will have a positive impact for the future.

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Anne Rowling Clinic (external website)

Cancer Research

It is estimated that more than one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. When you support cancer research at the University of Edinburgh, you choose the exact area of research you want your money to support.

Our Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Institute of Genetics and Cancer. Our Cancer Research Centre brings together cancer scientists and clinicians from across the University of Edinburgh, delivering outstanding cancer research and improved patient care. With full integration of the Edinburgh Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and the Host and Tumour Profiling Unit, our scientific and technological expertise results in new therapies being developed for patients faster.

Some examples of our cancer research funds include:

We work closely with people who want their donation to support cancer research – please let us know what area of research you want your money to support.

Institute of Genetics and Cancer 

Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre

Edinburgh Dementia Prevention

Dementia can rob people of their memories, independence and dignity. Current drug treatments are only minimally effective and do not directly target the underlying disease or stop memory and thinking decline.

Edinburgh Dementia Prevention leads research across science, medicine and healthcare policy to lead global efforts in preventing dementia. At our heart is a vision to bring together researchers, policy makers and members of the public, to achieve three goals:

  • To advance understanding of biomarkers in clinical and preclinical human populations
  • To drive global efforts to deliver new medicines that could act before clinical symptoms of dementia appear
  • To improve the experience of living with dementia by developing strategies that increase quality of life

We seek to empower people to understand and protect their brain health, for a future without dementia.

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Edinburgh Dementia Prevention

Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research

Motor neuron disease (MND) causes muscle weakness and paralysis, difficulty speaking, swallowing and breathing. The average life expectancy from diagnosis is just 18 months, and there is currently no effective treatment or cure.

The Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neuron Disease Research is based at the University of Edinburgh and is a not-for-profit, charitable network of over 200 researchers across Scotland. We use research to improve the lives of people living with motor neuron disease (MND) and related conditions.

We work closely with other universities and with the NHS and have strong partnerships with scientists around the world. We work on collaborative research projects to connect with international expertise and discoveries. Our research findings are published in international journals for the worldwide community to share, and discuss them at regular conferences. The fight against MND is a global one in which we are proud to play a part.

The Centre's mission is to:

  • undertake research into MND, both laboratory-based and patient-centred projects
  • deliver training for the next generation of MND research leaders
  • provide a network for those involved in MND research across Scotland
  • work with Scottish healthcare professionals and other charities to increase awareness of MND and MND research among the public

The Centre aims to make discoveries that will slow, stop and eventually reverse the devastating effects of MND.

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Donate to the Centre (external website)

Euan MacDonald Centre (external website)

EXPPECT Edinburgh

Endometriosis is a debilitating condition that affects around 1 in 10 women. In endometriosis, cells similar to the ones in the lining of the womb grow elsewhere in the body. These cells react to the menstrual cycle each month and also bleed. However, there is no way for this blood to leave the body. This can cause inflammation, pain and the formation of scar tissue.

This painful condition is associated with chronic pain, heavy bleeding, and infertility, and can affect mental health and social wellbeing. There is currently no cure for women with and there is an unmet need for better treatments.

The EXPPECT Team at the University of Edinburgh aims to provide high quality, evidence-based and patient-centred management of pelvic pain and carries out pioneering endometriosis research.

Professor Andrew Horne, Professor Philippa Saunders and Dr Lucy Whitaker lead the research groups at EXPPECT Edinburgh. Each group focuses on furthering understanding of the causes of chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis symptoms and the development of novel treatment strategies.

Symjo symptom journal (external website)

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EXPPECT (external website)

Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) Research

Functional disorders are one of the most common reasons for patients to see a neurologist. They include problems such as dissociative (non-epileptic) seizures, functional movement disorders (such as tremors, spasms or jerks) and functional limb weakness. Functional neurological disorders (sometimes abbreviated to FND) are genuine and often disabling. They relate to a disorder of nervous system functioning but not brain disease. Other terms used to describe these hidden and stigmatised disorders include conversion disorder and psychogenic disorder.

The Edinburgh team, led by Professor Jon Stone and Professor Alan Carson, carries out clinical research on a wide range of functional disorders, looking at how common they are, why and how they happen and trialling physical and psychological treatments.

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Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) 

FND Guide (external website)

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) research

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, affect up to 1 in 100 people in the Western world. These chronic conditions can produce severe symptoms and progressive damage to the bowel. Though the cause is currently unknown, through the increasing incidence in the global population, an association with modern lifestyles has been suggested. While treatment options exist for the conditions, remission rates are seen to hit a ceiling at one year of 30-40%.  Management is further impacted by the current inability to predict disease progression or treatment response.

The Charlie Lees Research Group are working hard to uncover the causes of consequences of inflammatory bowel disease by studying the role of genes, the environment, diet and microbiota and their inter-relationships in gut health and disease.

Charlie Lees Research Group

Professor Charlie Lees (external website)

Institute for Regeneration and Repair

Research taking place at the Institute for Regeneration and Repair aims to transform how we treat major diseases in the future, including: cancer, heart and lung disease, liver failure, diabetes, (multiple sclerosis) MS and Parkinson's.

If you go to your GP with an illness today, you will be given a treatment that is designed to stop any further damage happening. However, you won’t be given a treatment that’s actually designed to enhance the repair of the body, to repair the damage that’s already been done.

Scientists and clinicians based at the Institute aim to change this. They seek to understand stem cell biology, inflammation and disease to develop new treatments to help heal damaged tissues (regenerative treatments), ultimately making these available to patients in the clinic.

If this were to be achieved, it would be truly transformational. Your support can help make this happen.

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Institute for Regeneration and Repair

Labrune syndrome research

Labrune syndrome – or leucoencephalopathy with calcifications and cysts (LCC) as it’s formally known – is studied by researchers at the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine (CGEM).

Labrune syndrome is extremely rare with only a very small number of cases reported worldwide. It is most often diagnosed in children and young adults and its progression is variable. Associated with mutations in the SNORD118 gene, it can present with a variety of symptoms including seizures and slowing of cognitive performance.

With such little information available to doctors and families, diagnosis can prove not only challenging but a long and frustrating journey. To date there is no specific treatment.

Professor Yanick Crow is a clinician scientist driven by a determination to improve patient diagnosis and treatment. Yanick leads a research team focussing on Labrune syndrome and Aicardi-Goutières syndrome.

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Yanick Crow's Research Group

Shining a Light on Labrune syndrome

Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre

Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder worldwide and occurs across all ages. People with epilepsy have a higher risk of incurring accidental injuries as well as an increased risk of mental health problems. Adults with epilepsy are up to six times more likely to die compared to adults without epilepsy, and recent research leads us to believe that up to 76% of deaths are potentially preventable.

There is a vital need for research into this common neurology condition.

Professor Richard Chin (clinical research) and Professor Michel Cousin (preclinical research) lead the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre, where leading experts in brain biology and genetics work closely alongside doctors, psychologists and sociologists to better understand the disease and its effects.

At the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre, we aim to better understand epilepsy, in order to develop prevention strategies and improved treatments. Ultimately, we aim to develop the very best treatments for people affected by epilepsy.

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Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre 

National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare illness and is one of a group of diseases called prion diseases, which affect humans and animals.  Prion diseases exist in different forms, all of which are progressive, currently untreatable and ultimately fatal.

The National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit aims to monitor the characteristics of all forms of CJD, to identify trends in incidence rates, to study risk factors for the development of disease and to contribute to improving the quality of care for those with CJD. Based at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, the Unit brings together a team of clinical neurologists, neuropathologists, scientists and others.

National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit

Ophthalmology research

Ophthalmology research is an active and ongoing programme at the University. One exciting and emerging research theme will focus on Late Onset Retinal Macular Degeneration (LORD). Inherited retinal disease is the most common cause of registerable blindness in the developed world and is a good model for understanding age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Loss of vision poses a major challenge for people with LORD or AMD and has a profound effect on lifestyle and employment opportunities.

Professor Baljean Dhillon, NES Chair of Clinical Ophthalmology, at the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, is leading vital ophthalmology research.

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Late Onset Retinal Degeneration

Patrick Wild Centre for Research into Autism, Fragile X Syndrome and Intellectual Disabilities

Autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability affect around three per cent of the UK population. For those affected and their loved ones, greater understanding and better treatments cannot come soon enough.

The Patrick Wild Centre brings together experts in laboratory research and clinical practice. Colleagues are working collaboratively to better understand the causes of - and to test new therapies for – these complex conditions, putting patients and families at the heart of their scientific endeavour.

Alongside its research effort, an important part of the Centre’s work is to raise public awareness and understanding of autism spectrum disorders, fragile X syndrome and intellectual disabilities.

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Patrick Wild Centre 

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)

The Jeffrey Young Research Programme for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Research has been established at the University of Edinburgh thanks to a generous donation by a family member, whose much loved uncle was affected by the devastating effects of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).

PSP is a destructive, progressive and incurable neurodegenerative movement disorder, broadly similar to motor neuron disease. It can present with a range of symptoms including problems with balance, swallowing and speaking as well as general slowness of movement which means it is often mistaken for Parkinson's disease.

Sadly, there are no disease slowing treatments at this time and typically people with PSP lose independence within 2-3 short years with a life expectancy of only 6-8 years from diagnosis. With such a bleak outlook, there is an urgent need for research.

The Jeffrey Young Research Programme for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Research aims to support research to discover new drugs that may slow, stop or even reverse the devastating symptoms of PSP.

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Launch of PSP Research Fund (external website)

Research to Understand Stroke due to Haemorrhage (RUSH)

The deadliest type of stroke is caused by spontaneous bleeding from blood vessels into the brain, known as intracerebral haemorrhage (or brain haemorrhage). Each year this disease affects about 10,000 adults in the UK and around two million adults worldwide.

Our Research to Understand Stroke due to Haemorrhage (RUSH) programme is dedicated to better understanding the causes and outcome of spontaneous (non-traumatic) intracerebral haemorrhage in adults, leading to randomised controlled clinical trials of interventions to improve patient outcome.

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Row Fogo Centre for Research into Ageing and the Brain

At The Row Fogo Centre, we are dedicated to improving understanding of the brain damage caused by small vessel diseases (SVD). Although SVDs have been recognised to be a main cause of age-related brain diseases such as stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, there is still very limited understanding of this common disease.

We study people to understand how SVD starts and affects them. We use sophisticated medical imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to find out about how SVD is affecting the brain and blood vessels. To extract information from the brain MRI, we have developed highly specialised computer methods to analyse the images. The medical analysis tools and image databanks from our studies allow us to improve early detection and diagnosis of SVDs, identify causes and the consequences of SVDs, and to develop methods for prevention and treatment of small vessel diseases (SVDs). Moreover, our research discoveries contribute to advancing understanding other common disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and motor neuron disease (MND).

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Row Fogo Centre

Sleep Research Unit

Adequate, restful sleep is integral to our physical and mental health.

An occasional night without sleep makes you feel tired and irritable the next day, but it won't harm your health. After several sleepless nights, the mental effects become more serious. Your brain will fog, making it difficult to concentrate and make decisions, and your risk of injury and accidents increases. If it continues, lack of sleep can affect your overall health and make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes.

The Department of Sleep Medicine is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences. It is the most highly cited centre in the world for sleep apnoea / hypopnoea syndrome. Colleagues there research, study, diagnose and treat a variety of sleep disorders. Around 2,500 new patients a year attend the Clinic, which has a seven-bed facility in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for recording polysomnography (brain waves, oxygen levels, heart rate and breathing, as well as eye and leg movements).

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Sleep Research Unit

Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Stroke Research

Stroke has risen to be the third leading cause of years of life lost across the world. It is becoming more common as the population ages. There are more than 1.3 million stroke survivors in the UK. There are two main causes of strokes:

  • Ischaemic is where the blood supply is stopped because of a blood clot
  • Haemorrhagic is where a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts

We are an internationally recognised group of researchers and doctors dedicated to improving outcome after stroke by combining the best care for patients with high quality research. Our research aims to save lives, develop new treatments, influence policy and engage the public with what we are doing.

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Cerebrovascular Research Group

Your choice

You can support any area of the University. The above is just an example of the different areas of lifesaving research we are currently involved in. Please don't hesitate to get in touch to discuss other areas of research that would benefit from your support. Thank you.