18 Sep 2014
Dr Richard Coward is an MRC Senior Clinical Fellow and Head of Research for the School of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bristol. Here he tells us about his working life from spending time with ‘beautiful’ cells to working with the pharmaceutical industry.
My MRC Senior Clinical Scientist Fellowship enables me to combine clinical and basic scientific work, allowing me to continue my laboratory and research interests as well as my clinical commitment to paediatric nephrology.
I was attracted to research at the end of my clinical training. The drive to do this was because I looked after a patient who had an inherited condition called congenital nephrotic syndrome, a disorder passed down through families in which a baby develops massive amounts of protein in the urine.
Soon afterwards it became clear that the podocyte cell, a beautiful cell in the glomerulus ― the filtering unit of the kidney ― that looks like a big octopus, was involved. The gene responsible for the disorder was discovered to code for a protein located exclusively in the podocyte. [...]