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Maria Bitner-Glindzicz obituary: Pioneer geneticist killed in London cycling incident

24 September 2018
Appeared in BioNews 968

Clinical and molecular geneticist at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz, has died at the age of 55 after a traffic incident while cycling in central London. 

Professor Bitner-Glindzicz was cycling at St John's Street in Clerkenwell on 19 September when she was involved in a collision with a taxi and a stationary vehicle. She was admitted to hospital and died the following day from her injuries. 

A specialist in the genetic causes of deafness and sight loss, Professor Bitner-Glindzicz had carried out research into Usher syndrome, which affects both hearing and vision. She was also known for her pioneering research into the prevention of hearing loss in children with Norrie disease, which causes both blindness and progressive deafness. 

Professor Bitner-Glindzicz played an important role in the 100,000 Genomes Project, analysing the genomes of rare disease patients. She was one of the first researchers involved with the project and a 'wonderful contributor' to it, said Professor Mark Caulfield, chief scientist at Genomics England.

'Maria was a true leader in her field, a very valued colleague, and internationally recognised for her contributions to genetics,' said a spokesperson for Great Ormond Street Hospital. 'She was a genuine advocate for her patients and an articulate voice who tirelessly pushed for greater support for children affected by sight and hearing impairments.'

Professor Rosalind Smyth, director of the Institute of Child Health, said: 'She was a much loved and hugely respected member of our UCL community. Professor Bitner was an outstanding clinical geneticist who dedicated her career to helping others and was carrying out important research into the genetic causes of deafness in children and adults. Her death is an enormous loss.'

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Clerkenwell crash: Pioneering geneticist Maria Bitner-Glindzicz killed in collision while cycling in London
Evening Standard |  22 September 2018
GOSH tribute to Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz
Great Ormond Street Hospital |  21 September 2018
Tribute to Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz
Genomics England |  22 September 2018
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