Leicester diabetes professor awarded honorary degree
An internationally recognised diabetes professor from Leicester has been presented with an honorary degree from the university he graduated from as a doctor in 1984.
The University of Dundee awarded the prestigious title to Professor Kamlesh Khunti CBE at this year’s summer graduation on Friday, June 23, for his profound and enduring contributions to improving the lives of people living with diabetes.
Professor Khunti has been responsible for major advances in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and receives the honorary degree having published more than 1,200 academic papers – helping to build an evidence base to improve clinical practice.
Professor Khunti has also contributed significantly to improving the health of ethnic minority communities and has led a body of research throughout the pandemic, becoming a member of Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), Chair of the SAGE Ethnic Sub-panel and being one of the very first to spot the disproportional impact of COVID-19 on people from ethnic minorities.
Professor Khunti is Co-Director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre (LDC) team with more than 180 people currently carrying out studies designed to improve the lives of people with diabetes. The LDC is recognised across the world for its leading research, education and innovation.
Professor Khunti started out as a General Practitioner in 1990 and recruited his first research assistant in 1998. With increasing success, the team grew and Professor Khunti took up an appointment with the University of Leicester as Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine in 2007.
Professor Kamlesh Khunti is also the Director of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands and the founding Director of the Centre for Ethnic Health Research and the University of Leicester Real World Evidence Unit.
He said: “I am humbled and deeply honoured to receive this prestigious honorary degree from the University of Dundee as it bridges the past and present in a remarkable way.
“To be recognised by the university that nurtured my early medical aspirations is an indescribable privilege.”
Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “This award is well deserved and I am sure Kamlesh’s journey from his university days to where he is now will have inspired many of the graduating students present at the ceremony.
“Kamlesh has done so much to advance knowledge into type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and, of course, played a major role during the pandemic and improving outcomes for ethnic minority communities.
“Improving the lives of patients is clearly behind Kamlesh’s insatiable drive for excellence, and I think I speak for everyone at the University, when I say we are lucky to have him with us here in Leicester.”
Professor Iain Gillespie, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee, said: “In awarding honorary degrees, we are marking the achievements of individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to society, and who can inspire our students, staff and others. All of those we honoured at Graduation this month exceed that standard.
“Professor Kamlesh Khunti, who is also an alumnus of the University, was honoured for his outstanding leadership in primary care, including throughout the COVID pandemic, and his considerable contribution to research in diabetes and vascular medicine.”
NIHR ARC East Midlands funds vital work to tackle the region’s health and care priorities by speeding up the adoption of research onto the frontline of health and social care. The organisation puts in place evidence-based innovations which seek to drive up standards of care and save time and money.
NIHR ARC East Midlands is hosted by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and works in collaboration with the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network. It has bases at the University of Leicester and the University of Nottingham.