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Prof Hugh Montgomery


Dr Hugh Montgomery is Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at University College London (UCL), where he also directs the Centre for Human Health and Performance. He is a broadcaster, fiction author, scientist and clinician.

He still works clinically, caring for patients in an Intensive Care Unit in North London. Here, he had a frontline role in caring for Covid patients. He is also on the Council of the UK Intensive Care Society, chaired the UK National Emergency Covid Critical care Committee, consults for an international pharmaceutical company on novel vaccine development, and is principle investigator for trials of a novel therapy.

In his research capacity, Hugh Montgomery has published over 500 scientific papers, several in Nature. He described the first ‘gene for human fitness’. His research has address cardiac growth, muscle wasting, bone and muscle response to exercise, and adaptation to low oxygen levels: he was research lead for the Caudwell Xtreme Everest Expedition of 2007, and co-reported the first genes for evolutionary selection in response to high altitude. He has helped define the factors which influence survival in extreme environments, and also in intensive care: whether survivors are born, or made. He identified a genetic element which changes the chance of surviving critical illness by five-fold.

Hugh has an interest in Artificial Intelligence as applied to Health, and has worked with Google Deepmind and Google Health.

In innovation, Hugh holds patents for new metabolic therapies, (for cancer wasting and prevention of injury in stroke); a new technology for patient hydration; a novel mask for the removal of pollutants; and a new asthma inhaler. He chairs the board of Cambridge-based adaptive learning company Obrizum. He chairs Dyson’s Independent Medical and Scientific Board.

Montgomery has a 22 year track record in the field of environment and health. He chaired the last two Lancet Commissions on Human Health and Climate Change, and has written and lectured extensively on the subject. He now co-chairs the 27-country, 35-institute international Lancet Countdown on Climate Change, which reports annually. He was appointed London Leader by London’s Sustainable Development Commission, attended many of the international ‘COP’ climate negotiations, and created the children’s climate education Project Genie.

He organised the Royal College of Physicians first meeting on Climate and Health, was a founder member of the UK Climate and Health Alliance, and helped create the International Alliance on the same subject. He organised the first International Meeting on Climate, Health and Security in 2009.

In media, Hugh has is a published author of award-winning children’s books (‘The Voyage of the Arctic Tern’ and ‘Cloudsailors’) and of best-selling thrillers (e.g. ‘Control’). He has hosted documentaries and appeared frequently across print and broadcast media. He delivered the five Royal Institution Christmas Lectures broadcast over Christmas 2007.

Hugh was previously a commercial and archaeological diver, who was part of the team which raised Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose (which sank in 1545). He was worked on a 2500 year old Etruscan wreck.

Hugh Montgomery is also an experienced ultramarathon runner and mountaineer (European Alps, Andes, and Himalayas). And he still holds the World Underwater Piano Playing Record!

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