Glenrothes-born neuroscientist awarded MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Marie Short.Marie Short.
Marie Short.
A Fife-born neuroscientist has been made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in recognition of her service to supporting people affected by Huntington’s Disease (HD).

Marie Short (48), who grew up in Glenrothes and attended Glenwood High, has been a trustee with Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA) for five years.

She volunteers both her professional expertise as a former Regulatory Affairs clinical trials manager and her own experience as someone who lives in a family affected by the disease.

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Marie said: “I feel extremely honoured to be recognised in this way, however this award really reflects the combined efforts of many people, including fellow trustees on the SHA board, fundraisers, supporters and staff at Scottish Huntington’s Association, who all share a real determination to improve the lives of people affected by HD.

“It is a disease that is not well known or understood by the wider public, there was more of a stigma around HD that means too many people and families are left feeling isolated and alone in their communities, and we are all working together to change that.”

A severe, progressive neurological condition, HD is caused by a faulty gene, which leads to the loss of control over movements, speech and swallowing difficulties, impaired ability to think, plan and make decisions, and episodic mental illness. The severe symptoms mean that many people will go on to need 24-hour care outwith the family home. And because each child of an HD parent has a 50 per cent chance of developing the condition, the disease impacts families across the generations. SHA supports nearly 150 people affected by HD people across Fife.

The gene was inherited by Marie and her three siblings. Her brother Hunter died five years ago, aged 50, and her two sisters Janet (54) and Kathleen (57) are being cared for in nursing homes. Marie knows she too will develop Huntington’s disease; she doesn’t know when.

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Further to her commitment as a trustee, Marie is a fundraiser and ambassador for SHA. She raised £10,000 by walking the West Highland Way, undertaking the English Coast to Coast Cycle and trekking in Nepal. Her latest venture – the SHA #MyZenRun – combines her passion for health and wellbeing with her determination to shine a light on the HD community. The challenge invites people to take part in a 30-day virtual running event to mark SHA’s 30th anniversary, raise awareness and funds, and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of taking part. For more, visit

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