News Article

Honorary Degree Awarded

Sir Joseph Hotung has been awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (Medicine) by St George’s, University of London in recognition of the impact that his funding has had on research at our university. His contributions were recognised in a small ceremony at his home on Tuesday 14 September which was attended by Professors Jenny Higham, Jon Friedland, Julian Ma and George Griffin. 


The award celebrates his outstanding contribution to St George’s in providing significant funding for new buildings, supporting and developing scientists, and facilitating transformational research. It also celebrates Sir Joseph’s time serving on the University board, during which he was generous enough to contribute his global experience and insight as a Council Member. 


Sir Joseph's initial support was for the construction of the Hotung Centre for Rheumatology, the distinctive pyramid shaped building at the entrance of St George’s hospital. This Centre remains a hub for clinical academic rheumatology research linking patients and staff from St George’s NHS Trust with researchers in the university. 


In 2003, Sir Joseph funded the building of critical high containment laboratories for research into HIV along with existing laboratory refurbishments and support staff. Two Hotung Chairs in Molecular Immunology and Molecular Vaccinology were also endowed to the university for 10 years as part of the investment - going to Julian Ma and Martin Cranage respectively.  


Most recently, Sir Joseph invested further into Professor Ma’s Hotung Molecular Immunology Laboratory to develop plant-based manufacturing for antibodies to prevent Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV. This helped cement the group’s position as an international leader in the field of Plant Biotechnology for Human Health. 


The impact of the support St George’s has received from Sir Joseph spreads widely. It ranges from development opportunities for scientists, including four post-doctoral scientists who we have promoted to tenure track members of staff, over 30 students who have been awarded PhDs for their work in research groups that Sir Joseph has funded, as well as innumerable undergraduates who have been inspired through their contacts with Hotung-funded staff.  


In addition, over 100 important scientific publications have been published from our institution acknowledging the support of the Hotung Charitable Foundation. 


Professor Jenny Higham, Principal, commented: “Support from Sir Joseph has been pivotal to St George’s in the past 20 years, both through his financial support and his guidance and intellectual input. We are honoured to have been able to recognise the immense contribution that Sir Joseph has made to our university by awarding this Honorary Degree.  It was a pleasure to recognise the impact his support for students and research has made to patients’ lives in the UK and around the world.” 


At the award ceremony, Sir Joseph shared: “I’m deeply honoured to be receiving this award. My association with St George’s, of which I am very proud, goes back many years, in particular with Professor Julian Ma and Professor George Griffin. I take this opportunity to wish you every success in all your future endeavours.” 


You can read more about the research Sir Joseph has funded here.