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In Memoriam: Tessa Holyoake

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Original publication date: 
Saturday, September 9, 2017

Tessa Holyoake was a giant in the world of CML and her loss to the research community, patients and her fellow specialist clinicians is and will continue to be keenly felt. 

Professor Holyoake made a world-leading contribution to her field, by identifying key CML stem cell survival pathways that can be manipulated to develop potential new treatments. This will have an enormous impact on the lives of patients with CML.  As a direct result of Professor Holyoake’s research, CML patients who have had poor responses to standard therapies have been offered alternative treatment in clinical trials in an attempt to achieve remission. The hope and benefit this work has given patients cannot be underestimated. In addition to her role as Director of the Centre, she was a Consultant Haematologist at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. Here, her patients often expressed great admiration for her scientific achievements, but her main focus at clinic was always to be an excellent and compassionate clinician, which she continued to be despite her academic workload.

  • In March 2017, she was awarded the prestigious Rowley Prize by the International CML Foundation in recognition of her ground breaking work understanding and targeting CML stem cells. 
  • She was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) in 2007, and in July 2017, she was awarded a RSE Royal Medal by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the field of Life Sciences.

University of Glasgow obituary: http://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/news/headline_546625_en.html