Fast facts / journalists’ guide

Purpose and mission of the Euan MacDonald Centre

  • The Euan MacDonald Centre at the University of Edinburgh is a leading research hub for motor neurone disease (MND), also known in the USA as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • The Centre’s mission is to improve the lives of people living with MND.
  • The Centre’s researchers — over 100 basic scientists and clinical academics across Scotland — work on fundamental discovery studies targeting new treatments as well as a growing portfolio of patient-centred projects such as improving communication aids.

History & leadership of the Centre

  • The Euan MacDonald Centre was established in 2007 by the vision and generosity of Euan MacDonald, MBE and his father Donald MacDonald, CBE.
  • The Centre is directed by Professor Siddharthan Chandran, who is a leader in MND research, stem cells and Regenerative Neurology.

Euan MacDonald Centre partnerships

  • The Euan MacDonald Centre has fostered key research partnerships worldwide, most recently in South Africa where it linked up with the J9 Foundation, set-up by former Springbok rugby star and MND patient, Joost van der Westhuizen.
  • Euan and his family have also launched Euan’s Guide – a website and app that features disabled access reviews written by disabled people and their friends and families.

About motor neurone disease

  • Motor neurone disease is a debilitating neurological condition that results in the degeneration of motor nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It leads to muscle weakness, loss of mobility and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing. Currently there is no cure or effective treatment.
  • The condition was the focus of the Ice Bucket Challenge that took social media by storm in Summer 2014.