College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

Pledge helps bid to beat brain disorders

A family has pledged a six-figure sum to increase understanding of a genetic condition that affects their son.

Gus Alusi and Reem Waines, whose son Kenz has fragile X syndrome, are backing a new research centre based at the University.

Fragile X syndrome is the leading cause of inherited learning difficulties and autism.

The London-based family’s gift will help researchers focus on understanding the brain processes that underlie these conditions.

The team hope this will help them develop more effective treatment for patients.

The Patrick Wild Centre

This centre is what we have been hoping for since our son was diagnosed with fragile X syndrome.

Gus AlusiSupporter of the new centre

The Patrick Wild Centre for Research into Autism, Fragile X Syndrome and Intellectual Disabilities has also received support from University graduate Dr Alfred Wild.

The centre has been named in memory of Dr Wild’s brother Patrick, who was severely autistic, and is a tribute to their parents who cared for Patrick throughout his life.

It will build on an already strong research-base in brain disorders at the University.

This includes expertise in neuroscience, regenerative medicine and stem cell research, molecular medicine and genetics.

Video report

Watch a video report on the Patrick Wild Centre.

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Raising awareness

Gus Alusi and Reem Waines have already played an active role in raising funds and awareness of fragile X syndrome.

Their donation is proving to be a catalyst for attracting other support to further the work of the new centre.

In January, Gus Alusi will lead a rally drive across the Sahara to boost funding for research and to support families affected by these conditions.

Until now we have had to travel to the USA for specialist help with Kenz's condition, but this new centre will be a hub for UK patients and their families, so that they too can access the pioneering research that will ultimately transform the treatment of these diseases.

Reem WainesSupporter of the new centre

Fragile X syndrome

Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability, and the most common known genetic cause of autism spectrum disorders.

It affects an estimated 12,000 - 15,000 people in the UK.

The condition is the result of a genetic mutation and takes its name from the ‘fragile’ appearance of the X chromosome on which this gene appears.

The disorder can cause severe learning difficulties and language impairment, sensory hypersensitivity.

It can also cause behavioural symptoms such as anxiety, attentional difficulties and hyperactivity.