A geneticist at a leading children’s hospital who died following a cycle crash has been remembered as “a true leader in her field and a very valued colleague”.

Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz focused on children and adults with sight and hearing loss and was a “genuine advocate for her patients”, Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) said.

The 55-year-old molecular geneticist led pioneering research into the causes of deafness in children and worked on therapies she hoped would one day restore vision, the hospital added.

She died on Thursday following a collision when riding her bicycle the day before, becoming the eighth cycling fatality in the capital this year, Transport for London (TfL) said.

In a statement, GOSH said: “Maria was a true leader in her field, a very valued colleague, and internationally recognised for her contributions to genetics.

“She was a genuine advocate for her patients and an articulate voice who tirelessly pushed for greater support for children affected by sight and hearing impairments.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to Maria’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”

Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust health charity, 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”.

Professor Rosalind Smyth, director of the University College London 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. Her death is an enormous loss.”

Prof Bitner-Glindzicz was involved in a collision with a stationary vehicle and a taxi on St John Street, Clerkenwell, central London, shortly before noon on Wednesday, Scotland Yard said.

The drivers of the two vehicles are assisting police with inquiries and have not been arrested.

Police are appealing for witnesses in the area at around 11.35am and are particularly interested in dash-cam footage.

Anyone with information is asked to call 0208 991 9555.