JK Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter series, was yesterday awarded an honorary degree from the Aberdeen University for her contribution towards multiple sclerosis research.

The author's mother died aged just 45 from MS in 1990.

Rowling, who is currently president of the MS Society Scotland, has helped fund a programme of research at the University's Institute of Medical Sciences into the debilitating condition.

MS is a condition of the central nervous system that impairs the brain's ability to transmit instructions to the muscles.

"As the patron of the MS Society Scotland, and someone with personal experience of the devastating effects of MS," Rowling said at the ceremony, "it is a great privilege to be able to help the Institute continue its pioneering work into the causes and effects of multiple sclerosis."

Professor Neva Haites, head of the university's College of Life Sciences and Medicine, said Rowling was "an example of a Scottish leader who has used her reputation and wealth to support the battle for improving human health."