The University of Dundee is awarding an honorary degree to genetic skin-disorder advocate Mary E. Schwartz, at this year’s summer Graduations in June.
Mary E. Schwartz is Director of the skin disease charity and patient support organisation PC Project. The charity focuses on the highly debilitating skin disease Pachyonychia Congenita (PC). Three members of Mary’s own family are affected by this painful, incurable condition.
Four of the five genes which cause the disease were discovered at the University of Dundee by Professor Irwin McLean and Dr Frances Smith, who have worked closely with Mary and the charity.
“Our honorary graduates represent the best possible role models for our students and staff, in terms of excellence, inspirational quality and integrity,” said Professor Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University.
Mary is a self-made millionaire, having built up her own detective agency specialising in tracking down relatives of people who die intestate. She took retirement from the agency to concentrate on PC Project, which now co-ordinates an international research consortium, hosts a patient registry, runs diagnostic services, funds research, clinical trials, conferences and patient support meetings, has spun out a company to develop cutaneous delivery of drugs, and co-authors research papers on PC and other conditions.
She has made an outstanding contribution to enhancing the lives of patients and raising awareness of a neglected disease.
Mary will receive her Honorary Degree at the Graduation Ceremony on the afternoon of Wednesday 19 June 2013.