Clerkenwell crash: Pioneering geneticist Maria Bitner-Glindzic killed in collision while cycling in London

Jacob Jarvis
Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz was killed in a crash while cycling in London this week: Handout

A pioneering geneticist has died in hospital after she was involved in a crash with a cab and another vehicle while cycling in London.

Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz, 55, who died on Thursday, was a professor of human and molecular genetics at the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, linked to University College London.

She was involved in a crash with a cab and a stationary vehicle while cycling in Clerkenwell on Wednesday morning.

Scotland Yard said police were called to a crash between a stationary vehicle, a licensed Hackney taxi cab and a cyclist in St John Street shortly after 11.30am. She was rushed to hospital where she died the following day.

Killed while cycling: Maria Bitner-Glindzic (London Live)

Professor Bitner-Glindzicz had a particular expertise in genetic causes of deafness and helped scores of adults and children throughout her career.

She was a molecular geneticist and led pioneering research into the causes of deafness in children and worked on therapies she hoped would one day restore vision.

Professor Rosalind Smyth, Director of the UCL Institute of Child Health, said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz yesterday in a cycling accident.

"She was a much loved and hugely respected member of our UCL community. Professor Bitner was an outstanding clinical geneticist who dedicated her career to helping others and was carrying out important research into the genetic causes of deafness in children and adults.

"Her death is an enormous loss. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues. We kindly request their privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”

Jeremy Farrar, of the Wellcome Trust, a charitable foundation focused on improving public health, was among those to pay tribute to her.

He tweeted: “The saddest news, heard last night, devastated, numb. An amazing person, privilege to have been friends since college, what a loss, what a contribution, all thoughts with family and friends."

Another tribute read: “Every death of any cyclist is a terrible loss. The death of Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz is a tragedy primarily for her family and friends but this also means her extraordinary expertise in genetics is lost.”

In her UCL university profile she described how her career began.

She said: “My career in science really started off as a medical student.

“Looking back, although the intake of our year was 50:50 male:female there was a subtext that the female students would probably end up working part-time, allowing the really competitive jobs for the boys.

“I'm not sure it has turned out that way.”

Following this, she developed a passion for molecular science, stating the subject “absorbed her”, and later completed a PhD.

The profile also stated she had at least two children, having had her second when she had commenced post-doctoral studies.

Professor Bitner-Glindzics played a key-role in the ‘100,000 Genomes Project’, in which she helped to analyse the DNA of thousands of families with rare conditions as well as cancer patients.

She was regularly interviewed by the broadcast media because of her expertise in genetics.

Her next of kin have been informed of her death, police said.

The drivers of the two vehicles involved in the crash stopped at the scene. They were not arrested and are assisting police with enquiries, Met Police said.

Officers from the Serious Collision investigation unit are seeking witnesses to the collision.

They would also like to speak to anyone with dashcam footage from the vicinity of the incident around the time it occurred.

Witnesses asked to call the unit on 0208 991 9555, tweet @MetCC or call 101 quoting reference 2701/19 Sept.