Sir John Anthony Hardy, a pioneering geneticist and world-known molecular biologist whose research interests are focused on neurological diseases, officially became the honorary doctor of the University of Rijeka during an award ceremony held at Aula Magna, University of Rijeka Rectorate, on Friday, September 15, 2023. He was promoted to an honorary doctor of the University of Rijeka by the Rector, Prof. Snježana Prijić Samaržija, Ph.D., while Assoc. Prof. Vladimira Vuletić, M.D., Ph.D., from the Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka, assumed the role of the promoter.
As Rector Prijić Samaržija indicated, cooperation with Professor Hardy began during the term of office of the late academician Daniel Rukavina, when cooperation was established with the Department of Neurology of the Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka and the Clinic for Neurology of the Clinical Hospital Centre Rijeka in the form of knowledge exchange and the organization of joint symposia. Since then, Professor Hardy has been visiting Rijeka almost every year, and as a member of the Scientific Committee, he participates in the organization and implementation of the Forum on Neurodegenerative Diseases.
John Hardy is the Chair of the Molecular Biology of Neurological Disease at UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL. During his 40-year-long career, he contributed to a critical breakthrough in understanding what goes wrong in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. He has since led a broader effort to understand the genetic factors underlying several forms of degenerative brain disease, including Parkinson’s disease and motor neuron disease. He discovered that a mutation in the gene for amyloid precursor protein (APP) caused deposits of a substance called amyloid to form in brain tissue, associated with early-onset Alzheimer’s. For services to human health in improving understanding of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases, he has been appointed Knight Bachelor in Queen Elizabeth’s New Year Honours 2022.
After the award ceremony, Professor Hardy held a lecture titled From genetic analysis to (partial) treatment for Alzheimer’s disease: Progress so far and the road ahead.