George Duncan

Cell physiologist George Duncan, professor of biomedicine at UEA from 1998, was the world-renowned scientist behind pioneering research on our doorstep.

Cell physiologist George Duncan, professor of biomedicine at UEA from 1998, was the world-renowned scientist behind pioneering research on our doorstep.

He collaborated with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and helped establish the East Anglian Eye Bank, paving the way for ground-breaking study into human eye tissue.

For most of his career, his work was focused on the causes and treatments of cataracts, with the results now being used to develop new treatments.

Born in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Prof Duncan graduated in 1965 with a physics degree from Aberdeen University and then took an MSc in biophysics at UEA.


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After obtaining his PhD, he worked abroad before returning to Norwich to take up a lectureship in the school of biological sciences, where he remained for the rest of the career.

He received numerous awards, including the Monica Lumsden Award from the Humane Research Trust, with which he had a long and successful association, and the Ida Mann Medal for work in ophthalmology.

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In 2002, Prof Duncan headed a successful bid for £1.5m in funding from national health organisations, which created a bioimaging facility within the school of biological sciences.

The new technology, which turned the city into one of the country's leaders in the field, allowed scientists to study three-dimensional footage of the way diseases behave and develop.

Two years later, he was among the team behind the Humane Research Trust Eye Laboratory at UEA, enabling further research into the causes of cataracts, glaucoma and other major eye diseases

It meant UEA could apply the most modern molecular techniques to the valuable donor eye tissues at the East Anglian Eye Bank at the N&N.

Prof Duncan was 64 and is survived by wife Maggie, their children Hamish and Anna and grandchildren Henry, Toby, Archie and Jamie.

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