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
Programme Leader in Biostatistics Research at the MRC Biostatistics Unit (BSU), Professor Sheila Bird OBE FRSE, has spent the past 35 years applying her statistical skills to a range of areas that have direct public health policy implications, from transplantation to prisoners’ mortality. As she retires from the MRC, she tells us about some of her research highlights, why she chose a career in biostatistics and provides words of wisdom for future biostatisticians.
Career in brief
- Part-time PhD while lecturer in statistics at Aberdeen University
- Joined the MRC Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge in 1980
- Made an MRC programme leader in 1996
- Made an OBE in 2011
Dr Donald J. Davidson is an inflammation biologist and MRC Senior Non-Clinical Fellow at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research. Here he tells us about his working life, and why he considers communicating research just as important as doing it.
Career in brief
- Medical degree, followed by two years as a lab technician
- Self-funded part-time PhD in cystic fibrosis pathogenesis at the MRC Human Genetics Unit
- Four research fellowships, including four years in Canada
I never really mapped out my career. The main thing that brought me into science was a natural curiosity – I always want to know how things work. Planning is important, but it helps to be flexible and I’ve taken opportunities as they’ve arisen, even if they’ve seemed a little unconventional at the time. Everyone from my clinical professors to my bank manager thought I was making the wrong choice when I gave up my clinical career, but it was the correct decision.
Despite my clinical training I follow a non-clinical scientist route now. I’d really enjoyed science at school, but I felt that I should do medicine. There was lots of rote learning, I didn’t enjoy the way the course was taught, and ultimately I wasn’t convinced I wanted to be a doctor, so I left medicine when I graduated in 1992. I did return briefly to complete my clinical training in order to get a clinician scientist post – but by then I had discovered medical research science! Read more