Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.
19 Dec 2019
Dr Sema Nickbakhsh is a research epidemiologist at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research. She describes the surprising relationships she’s found between flu and cold viruses, and why she enjoys looking at the bigger picture.
Image credit: University of Glasgow [...]
Career in brief:
- BSc (Hons) in Equine Science, The University of the West of England, Bristol
- MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology, The Royal Veterinary College / The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
- PhD in Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health, The University of Glasgow
- Research Assistant, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine, The University of Glasgow
- Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Edinburgh
- Postdoctoral Research Associate, MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research
Continue reading: Working life: epidemiologist Dr Sema Nickbakhsh
4 Apr 2019
A technology specialist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), Mark Skehel helps fellow scientists use powerful techniques to study proteins, alongside his own biomedical research. He describes his career spanning industry and academia, and how he’s benefited from embracing change.
Mark in his lab at the MRC LMB, holding a sample vial in front of a mass spectrometer – an instrument used to identify and measure molecules based on their mass-to-charge ratio. [...]
Career in brief
- Laboratory technician at Smith, Kline & French
- Degree in chemistry with biochemistry at King’s College London
- Higher scientific officer at the MRC LMB and PhD in chemistry
- Investigator scientist at SmithKline Beecham and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
- Head of Protein Analysis and Proteomics at Cancer Research UK
- Head of Biological Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics at the MRC LMB
Continue reading: Working life: technology specialist Mark Skehel
6 Mar 2019
Professor Fiona Watt is Director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London and last year became Executive Chair of the MRC. Here she explains the excitement of studying stem cells, her vision for a healthier nation and why there’s no shame in failing.
Professor Fiona Watt in her office at the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London, at the top of Guy’s Hospital tower. [...]
Career in brief
- PhD in cell biology, University of Oxford
- Postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA
- Set up first lab at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London
- Laboratory Head at Imperial Cancer Research London, now part of the Francis Crick Institute
- Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute and the Wellcome-MRC Centre for Stem Cell Research, University of Cambridge
- Established the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London
Continue reading: Working life: stem cell scientist Professor Fiona Watt
6 Feb 2019
Professor Nita Gandhi Forouhi, of the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, studies food and nutrition, and how this affects our health. Here she reveals some dietary home truths, the importance of good, solid evidence and her passion for championing equality in science.
Professor Nita Forouhi in the clinical testing area of the MRC Epidemiology Unit, used for taking measurements from participants who attend research studies. [...]
Career in brief
- Medical degree with BSc degree in immunology, Newcastle University
- Junior doctor jobs in Newcastle and Edinburgh
- Four-year Wellcome fellowship in clinical epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
- Specialised in public health in London and Cambridge
- From postdoc to programme leader and professor at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge; honorary consultant public health physician with Public Health England
Continue reading: Working life: Nutrition scientist Nita Forouhi
30 Jan 2019
Daniel Freeman, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford, is pioneering virtual reality (VR) as a treatment for people with severe mental health problems. He tells us about his working life, the inspiration behind his ideas and the large potential for VR beyond gaming.
Career in brief:
- BA Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge
- PhD in psychology and a DClinPsy in clinical psychology at King’s College London
- Wellcome Trust Fellow at King’s College London
- MRC Senior Clinical Fellow at the University of Oxford
- NIHR Research Professor at the University of Oxford
Continue reading: Working life: Professor Daniel Freeman
21 Feb 2018
Dr Oluwafemi Akande, a Postdoc Fellow of the Africa Research Excellence Fund, began his career in a field far removed from global health research. But by combining his knowledge of building design with his interest in public health, he’s hoping to realise his passion of improving people’s wellbeing.
Career in brief: [...]
- BSc and MSc in Architecture from University of Jos, Nigeria
- PhD in Strategic Energy Management for Retrofit and Refurbishment of UK Listed Building from Anglia Ruskin University, UK
- Postdoc Fellow of Africa Research Excellence Fund and Visiting Academic, School of Engineering, University of Leeds, UK
- Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria.
Continue reading: Working life: Dr Oluwafemi Akande
8 Feb 2018
Professor Janet Darbyshire worked in medicine and then clinical trial based research from the early 1970s. Playing an instrumental role in the development of HIV treatment, she’s worked on and coordinated many clinical trial programmes in the UK and Africa. Last month we celebrated her achievements at a ceremony held within the Houses of Parliament, awarding Janet our most prestigious award, the MRC Millennium Medal. Here Janet tells us about her early memories of medicine, giraffes in Africa and the changes she’s seen her research make to people’s lives.
Career in brief [...]
- Qualified in medicine at The University of Manchester in 1970
- MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 1990
- Became head of the MRC HIV Clinical Trials Centre in London in 1989
- In 1998 established, and became director of, the MRC Clinical Trials Unit (CTU)
- Awarded an OBE in 1996 and a CBE in 2010 for services to clinical sciences
Continue reading: Working life: Professor Janet Darbyshire
30 Aug 2017
Dr Pauline Williams leads global health research and development at GSK and recently became an MRC Council member. Here she tells us about mixing science with business, and the satisfaction of making a life-saving gel from an antiseptic mouthwash.
Dr Pauline Williams, GlaxoSmithKline. Image credit: GlaxoSmithKline
Career in brief:
- Medicine degree, University of Cardiff
- Clinical Pharmacology physician, Glaxo Phase I Unit
- Head of Academic Discovery Performance Unit, GSK
- Senior Vice President and Head of Global Health R&D, GSK
It was the rigour and excitement of early drug development that tempted me away from medicine. I did a stint at a Phase I Clinical Pharmacology Unit after my medical training – and following that I was enticed by an offer to join Glaxo (now GSK) where I’ve worked ever since. My first role was a full immersion in the design, conduct and reporting of experimental medicine studies which has stood me in good stead throughout my career. [...]
Continue reading: Working life: Dr Pauline Williams
7 Jul 2017
Career in brief:
- Medical school at the University of Oxford
- Academic foundation doctor for two years at the Bristol Royal Infirmary
- Clinical Research Fellow at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute, Bermuda
- Research Fellow at the National Clinical Guideline Centre, London
- Academic Clinical Fellow and Speciality Training (currently year 4) in General Adult Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, London
Addiction is an area where you can offer genuinely holistic care to patients. Patients with addiction disorders are often marginalised by society and within the health service. Being able to give good quality care to people who would otherwise struggle to access it is exceptionally rewarding. Patient care includes on-site sexual health, drug, alcohol and medical services.
At the moment I dedicate three days a week to clinical time and two days to research but when my MRC Addiction Research Clinical Fellowship starts I’ll be able to dedicate more time to research. Working at a national specialist service at the Maudsley Hospital, I see patients with depression and bipolar disorder whose treatment hasn’t worked. [...]
Continue reading: Working life: Clinical Fellow in Psychiatry Dr Emmert Roberts
30 Mar 2017
Damian Mole combines surgery with research. He has just been awarded a prestigious MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship to find out why people who’ve had acute pancreatitis have a shortened lifespan, even after they seem to have fully recovered. Here he tells us about the buzz of surgery, the importance of mentors and relaxing with his jazz band.
Career in brief:
- BMedSc in Cell and Molecular Pathology, University of Birmingham
- Medicine degree, University of Birmingham
- PhD on pancreatitis-associated organ failure, Queen’s University of Belfast
- Clinical Lecturer, Clinician Scientist Fellow, then Senior Lecturer and Consultant Surgeon, MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh
- MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship
Continue reading: Working life: Surgeon and researcher Damian Mole