23 June 2021

Chancellor's Medal awarded to final year medical student Alexander Tanner

Our congratulations go to Alexander Tanner for receiving the award in recognition of his internationally acclaimed medical research, outstanding extracurricular achievements and entrepreneurial success.

Alexander Tanner

Motivated by the desire to combat eye disease and blindness, the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) student dedicated his time to working as a researcher on spearheading projects picked up on by top-ranked global journals.

Most crucially, he led a multi-centre study investigating Butterfly Shaped Macular Pattern Dystrophy and the presentation, treatment, outcomes and genetics of this rare disease, which was published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and presented nationally and internationally.

It only gradually dawned on me what a significant honour this was, and I really am humbled to have received it.

It is incredibly rewarding for me to have had my research work acknowledged on such a platform and I find myself freshly motivated by this.

Alexander Tanner

Final year MBBS student

His additional research work also resulted in two published abstracts in the Investigative Journal of Ophthalmology & Visual Science while granting him several awards from the Enid Linder Foundation, Sheffield Medico-Chirurgical Society and HealthWatch. One of his most recent case reports has also been published by the British Medical Journal.

These achievements came alongside his time as a researcher at world-class groups in Sheffield, at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, and in London at St Thomas’s Hospital, Moorfields Eye Hospital, King’s College London and the University College London.

As the President, Alex also injected his enthusiasm and focus into rekindling the previously dormant Sheffield Ophthalmology Society by boosting its membership and fundraising for EyeHeroes, the UK's first child-led campaign to fight avoidable blindness.

At the same time, he remained committed to organising teaching programmes and developing and delivering a national revision course.

His determined spirit hasn't gone unnoticed by his student colleagues, the Faculty Director and even the Regional Educational Adviser for the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, who commended his revision course.

But the world of ophthalmology isn't the only area where Alex has excelled. After co-founding a London-based gourmet marshmallow business, Guimauve Ltd, to help fund his tuition as an aspiring entrepreneur in 2015, his company won the University of Sheffield Enterprise grant. This financial milestone transformed Alex's business into an award-winning and luxurious confectionery range that used to supply thousands of marshmallows to large events, festivals, balls, weddings, and charities before Alex had to divert his attention away from it due to personal commitments.

Alex also has a long list of other achievements, certificates, grants and bursaries to his name. These include the Kay Dickson Award from the Sheffield Medico-Chirurgical Society, Enid Linder Foundation Bursary and a Certificate of Merit granted by the HealthWatch National Student Competition.

Alex said: "I am delighted and was utterly surprised to learn that I had won the Chancellor's Medal. It only gradually dawned on me what a significant honour this was, and I really am humbled to have received it.

"It is incredibly rewarding for me to have had my research work acknowledged on such a platform and I find myself freshly motivated by this."

Dr Catriona Mayland, from the Department of Oncology and Metabolism, said: "Alex came across as a dynamic and innovative individual - this was reflected in the way he had co-founded a gourmet marshmallow company to financially help support his studies!

"But more than this, it was very clear, he was motivated and committed with a real passion for ophthalmology. This was reflected by the opportunities he developed with his teaching and research. I'm delighted that Alex is the recipient of this significant achievement and I wish him the very best in his future career."

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