Fast facts / journalists’ guide

Purpose and mission of the Euan MacDonald Centre

  • The Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research conducts vital research into motor neurone disease (MND).
  • The Centre is a network that unites over two hundred scientists, doctors and clinical specialists across Scotland.
  • Centre researchers collaborate with the best MND research minds worldwide to better understand the causes, biological processes, and course of MND and to work towards treatments.
  • The Centre’s mission is to improve the lives of people living with MND today, and to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the condition.

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.
  • Euan was diagnosed with MND in 2003 aged just 29.
  • The Centre is directed by Professor Siddharthan Chandran, who is a leader in MND research, stem cell research and Regenerative Neurology.

 Partnerships and fundraising

  • In addition to worldwide research partnerships, the Centre has a growing number of community supporters in Scotland.
  • The Centre has particularly strong links with the rugby world, in particular:
    • Scott Hastings, who co-hosts our annual fundraiser Just a Sports Quiz
    • Doddie Weir, who announced his diagnosis of MND in June 2017
    • The late Joost van der Westhuizen, who visited the Centre with his J9 Foundation after his diagnosis with MND.
    • ongoing support from clubs including Watsonians and Aberdeen Grammar
  • Donations and fundraising are administered by The University of Edinburgh Development Trust, a registered charity (number SC004307).
  • 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.
  • It is known in the USA as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • The condition was the focus of the Ice Bucket Challenge that took social media by storm in Summer 2014.