WIT awards Honorary Fellowship to philanthropist Dr Alan Howard 

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The ceremony was held at Carriganore House, home to WIT research centre NRCI which Dr Alan Howard has given financial and intellectual support

The ceremony was held at Carriganore House, home to WIT research centre NRCI which Dr Alan Howard has given financial and intellectual support

Dr Howard co-authored with WIT’s Prof John Nolan ground-breaking research identifying a unique combination of nutrients to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is delighted to announce the awarding of the WIT Honorary Fellowship to Dr Alan Howard, an internationally acclaimed nutritionist – who invented the innovative Cambridge Diet – and philanthropist, based in the United Kingdom.

Dr Howard’s research is complementary and supportive to the research carried out at the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI), based within the School of Health Sciences at WIT in studies examining the link between nutrition and the eye and brain.

In June 2018, Dr Howard and WIT’s Prof John Nolan co-authored a paper published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease that reported the results of an 18-month study that showed improvements in the health of Alzheimer's patients using the three macular carotenoids and fish oil that have been the subject of research at the NRCI supported by Dr Howard’s philanthropy.

Through the Charitable Foundation which he chairs, the Howard Foundation, Dr Howard has given intellectual and financial support to WIT over the past decade. This has contributed to WIT’s position as an internationally recognised centre for nutrition supplement research, particularly in the fields of nutrition for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Alzheimer’s disease.

The ceremony which was held at Carriganore House, on WIT’s West Campus where the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland is located. Prof John Nolan welcomed guests and invited the Chairman of the WIT Governing Body to formally open proceedings. The Chair makes a statement affirming the Honorary Fellowship Award.

Jim Moore, Chair of the Governing Body at WIT formally convened the ceremony. “The nomination to award a WIT Honorary Fellowship to Dr Alan Howard was reviewed by a selection committee convened by the WIT President, Professor Donnelly, and was unanimously and wholeheartedly ratified by the WIT Governing Body,” he said.

WIT President Prof Willie Donnelly, presented the WIT Honorary Fellowship to Dr Howard. Prof Donnelly stated: “The Institute accepts recommendations for the award of Honorary Fellowships relating, not only to scholastic endeavours, but also to those activities which enrich our community, or indeed, society as a whole. Dr Alan Howard is a worthy recipient of the WIT Fellowship in each of these categories.”

“In 2013, to recognise his many years of ground-breaking research, professional support of colleagues and generous philanthropic activities, WIT commissioned the “Howard Gate” at Carriganore House. It is a symbolic gesture, but it is an important one. A gateway symbolizes an opening, a passageway to the unknown… in this instance to greater knowledge, deeper understanding, new ideas and a generous sharing of the results of critical enquiry that can truly benefit society on a global scale,” Prof Donnelly went on to say before inviting Dr Howard to step forward for the formal conferring.

Dr Howard, in his response to the award, thanked WIT for the Honour and said he never dreamed of the possibility. 

He spoke about how he has enjoyed working with Prof Nolan and his team for over 10 years in important scientific research in the fields of Age-related Macular Degeneration and Cognitive Disabilities. 

Dr Howard relayed a story stretching back 25 years to when he first discovered scientists in Florida analysing eyes to the publication in 2018 of research in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and further research under way.

He also thanked those who have been part of the journey along the way including his family members and Jose and Carlos Torres of Industrial Organica, Mexico, and Frederic Jouhet of Macuhealth, USA, and in Waterford Prof Stephen Beatty, Prof John Nolan, and University Hospital Waterford's Prof Riona Mulcahy.

He also added that with a rapidly ageing population degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s are major threats to a healthy society, and the current work under collaboration between WIT and the Howard Foundation is an important element of the fight to healthy longevity.

“We are on the brink of a great moment in time for Waterford, if we are right, and we have the treatment and can prevent the disease, Waterford will be well known throughout the world.

This award, conferred by the WIT Governing Body this afternoon, is the highest honorary award the Institute can confer to individuals. The most recent recipient was Vicky Phelan in 2018. The ceremony was held ahead of the WIT conferring ceremonies for more than 2,000 graduates from level 6 to PhD and DBAs on 30, 31 October and 1 November.

The nomination to confer Dr Alan Howard as an Honorary Fellow of Waterford Institute of Technology was made by Prof John Wells, Head of School of Health Science, also on behalf of Prof John Nolan, with the support of Dr Michael Harrison, Head of the Department of Sport and Exercise Science and Dr Sara Kennedy, Head of the Department of Nursing and Health Care.

Background

Dr Alan Howard is an English nutritionist and philanthropist. He gained an MA in natural sciences and PhD in immunology at Downing College Cambridge. He then trained as a nutritionist at the Medical Research Council’s Dunn Nutritional Laboratory, also in Cambridge. His lifelong research interests are in the field of nutrition, initially in the nutritional relationships associated with coronary heart disease and the treatment of obesity and latterly into eye and brain nutrition. His inventions and patents related to very low calorie diets enabled him to establish the Howard Foundation, which has made significant donations to Downing College, Cambridge, Waterford Institute of Technology and in sponsoring continued academic research.

Dr Alan Howard contribution to Waterford Institute of Technology

Dr Howard is an internationally acclaimed nutritionist and philanthropist, based in the United Kingdom. He has over many years given significant support, both intellectual and financial, to the establishment of WIT as an internationally recognised centre for nutrition supplement research, particularly in the fields of nutrition for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Alzheimer’s disease through his charitable organisation, the Howard Foundation.

Dr Howard was awarded an MA in natural sciences and a PhD in immunology at Downing College, University of Cambridge. He then trained as a nutritionist at the Medical Research Council's Dunn Nutritional Laboratory, also in Cambridge. His lifelong research interests are in the field of nutrition, initially in the nutritional relationships associated with coronary heart disease and the treatment of obesity and latterly into eye and brain nutrition. His inventions and patents related to Very Low Calorie Diets enabled him to establish the Howard Foundation which has made significant donations to Downing College Cambridge and Waterford Institute of Technology to sponsor continued academic research in the field of nutrition and human function.

Dr Howard’s research is complementary and supportive to the research carried out at the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI), based within the School of Health Science, in studies examining the link between nutrition with the eye and brain. In 1995, Dr Howard started work with Dr Richard Bone and Dr John Landrum at Florida International University (FIU). Together they patented a formulation containing meso-zeaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin. Its purpose was to prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the world’s leading cause of age-related blindness.

In 2009, Dr Howard began working with the Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG) at the Waterford Institute of Technology (this was the forerunner of what became the NRCI). In 2015, the Howard Foundation established a personal Chair for Professor John Nolan -  Howard Chair in Human Nutrition with tenure for 10 years – in order to further enhance and embed nutrition research in WIT and cement collaborative relationships between WIT and Downing College Cambridge. Dr Howards scientific and financial contributions to the NRCI has allowed this centre develop to a standard of work-class recognition in the study of targeted nutrition for age-related diseases and enhancement of human function. Crucially, his direct support of scientists at the NRCI has been the reason for consolidation of key individuals via the support of scholarships, fellowships, projects and a Chair. Because of this, the NRCI has been able to develop its relationship with industry partners from across the world and, importantly, locally with the University Hospital Waterford and UPMC Whitfield.

In June 2018, Dr Howard and Professor Nolan co-authored a paper published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease that reported the results of an 18-month study that showed improvements in the health of Alzheimer's patients using the three macular carotenoids and fish oil that have been the subject of research at the NRCI supported by Dr Howard’s philanthropy. The paper was received as a significant contribution to addressing what is the number one health concern in the Western World today.

The Howard Foundation have committed to further research at the NRCI, and are currently funding three large clinical trials to continue its work into the connection between optimised nutrition and human function in the eye and brain.

Honorary Fellowship recipients

Previous recipients include Vicky Phelan in 2018, Richard M. Daley, the Mayor of Chicago, Sports Broadcaster Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Beatrice Barry-Murphy, Broadcaster Michael Ryan, Frank O’Connor, Kenneth G. M. Bond, Sahar Hashemi, the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Chairman of Hasbro Inc. Alan G. Hassenfeld, Redmond O' Donoghue, Olympic silver-medalist John Treacy and Sister Consilio, founder of Cuan Mhuire. The first Honorary fellowship recipient was Brendan Rowe.


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