Respiratory disease expert wins alumni award

Zhong Nanshan, an epidemiologist renowned for discovering the SARS coronavirus, has won the first Being Edinburgh award.

Dr. Zhong is known for his pivotal role in the 2003 outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus.

His efforts have been recognised by students, staff and fellow alumni who voted in the University’s relaunched alumni award programme.

The former Edinburgh student is now leading the Chinese National Health Commission's expert panel investigating the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. 

Inspiring Alumnus

Dr. Zhong was a visiting student at the University between 1979 and 1981 and was also awarded with an Honorary Doctorate of Medicine in 2007.

Nanshan’s ongoing work as part of the Chinese response to Covid-19 resonated with members of the University’s community, particularly alumni living and working in China, and students whose families and friends were caught up in the early stages of the pandemic.

In an email to the University, Dr Zhong said it was an honour to receive the first Being Edinburgh Award and thanked those who voted for him.

Dr. Zhong is currently leading China’s Covid-19 efforts and has confirmed a future lecture series for colleagues in Europe and the US, focusing on the virus.

During this time of international crisis, the Being Edinburgh Award allows us to highlight positive news in our global alumni community. Dr Zhong is an inspiration to students, staff and alumni alike, and embodies important values that the University aims to uphold: drive, passion, and sustained hard work. His win is well-deserved, and we wish him the best of luck in his research on COVID-19.

Niamh Martin-McGarrigleMA student studying Linguistics and French, and member of the Being Edinburgh selection panel

Being Edinburgh

The Being Edinburgh award is given in recognition of individuals whose actions and achievements have inspired the University’s community.

The award aims to put the spotlight on former students whose lives have had a positive impact on others.

Other notable alumni shortlisted include a social justice activist working for prison reform and an ethnomusicologist known for his work on collaborative humanitarian and activist projects.

Related links

Being Edinburgh Award

Edinburgh Alumni


Image credit: © Liu Dawei/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images