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UCL SCHOOL OF LIFE AND MEDICAL SCIENCES

UCL: London’s Global University UCL is one of the world’s leading universities. UCL was established in 1826 to open up education in England for the first time to students of any race, class or religion. UCL was also the first university to welcome female students on equal terms with men. Academic excellence and conducting research that addresses real-world problems inform our ethos to this day. UCL’s excellence extends across all academic disciplines; from one of Europe’s largest and most productive hubs for biomedical science, to world renowned centres for architecture (UCL Bartlett) and fine art (UCL Slade School). We share our resources and engage with the local community to enrich London’s social, cultural and academic life. Every year our partner hospitals treat over 800,000 patients, more than a third of all hospital visits in London. UCL’s staff and former students have included 21 Nobel prizewinners, and UCL has more professors than any other UK university. We are a truly international community: more than one third of our student body – around 25,000 strong – come from nearly 140 countries and nearly one third of staff are from outside the UK. Key to our success are our remarkable people: eminent professors and exceptional students; public engagement professionals and lab technicians, and all the other pieces of the puzzle that make up a leading university.

Academic Careers Office School of Life & Medical Sciences University College London 1st Floor Maple House 149 Tottenham Court Road London W1T 7NF Tel: 020 7679 6655 (Ext 46655) Email: aco-enquiries@ucl.ac.uk Website: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/slms/aco Design and photography by UCL Medical Illustration Services

SLMS

Academic Role Models


FOREWORD

Everyone needs role models. They help guide our personal development, to make important decisions that affect the outcome of our lives, and find satisfaction and fulfillment in our professional careers. I am therefore delighted to introduce this publication that highlights many of our outstanding academic role models in the UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences. The role models were selected from nominations made by their peers, with the single requirement that the nominator believed the nominee was an academic role model. It is therefore particularly pleasing that the nominees come from many different disciplines and are at very different stages of their academic careers. This rightly reflects the strength of the School in its diversity and its wide range of outstanding academics who mentor, guide and inspire people not only at UCL but throughout the world. This is a short publication and so can only provide insight into a small number of the many academic role models throughout UCL. But in doing so, I hope it inspires all of us to recognise the personal and professional qualities in our peers that makes UCL such an outstanding institution.

Sir John Tooke PMedsci FRCP Vice Provost (Health)

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ACADEMIC ROLE MODELS

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Anita Berlin, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Population Health Sciences

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Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Ann Blandford, Professor of Human Computer Interaction, Faculty of Engineering Sciences & Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Petra Boynton, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medical Sciences,

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Alan Burns, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Population Health Sciences

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Francesca Cacucci, Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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David Colquhoun, Research Professor of Pharmacology, Faculty of Life Sciences

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Jane Dacre, Professor of Medical Education, Faculty of Medical Sciences

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Julie Daniels, Professor of Regenerative Medicine and Cellular Therapy, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Anna David, Reader in Obstetrics and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Faculty of Population Health Sciences

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Uta Frith, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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David Gems, Professor of Biogerontology, Faculty of Life Sciences

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Deborah Gill, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medical Sciences

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Allan Hackshaw, Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Faculty of Medical Sciences

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Graham Hart, Professor of Sexual Health and HIV Research, Dean of the Faculty of Population Health Sciences, Faculty of Population Health Sciences

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Angela Hassiotis, Reader in Psychiatry of Learning (Intellectual) Disabilities, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Aroon Hingorani, Director of UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science, Faculty of Population Health Sciences

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David Isenberg, Professor of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medical Sciences

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Anne Johnson, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Population Health Sciences

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Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics, Faculty of Life Sciences

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Peng Tee Khaw, Professor of Glaucoma and Ocular Healing, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Josef Kittler, Reader in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Faculty of Life Sciences

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Dimitri Kullmann, Professor of Neurology, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Catherine Law, Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology, Faculty of Population Health Sciences

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Nilli Lavie, Professor of Psychology and Brain Sciences, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Marilena Loizidou, Senior Lecturer, Division of Surgery & Interventional Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences

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Neil Marlow, Professor of Neonatal Medicine, Faculty of Population Health Sciences

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Eamon McCrory, Reader, Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Neil Millar, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, Faculty of Life Sciences

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Hugh Montgomery, Chair of Intensive Care Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences

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Antonella Riccio, Reader in Molecular Neurobiology, Faculty of Life Sciences

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Mike Rowson, Senior Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Population Health Sciences

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Christiana Ruhrberg, Professor of Neuronal and Vascular Development, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Sophie Scott, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Alexander Seifalian, Professor of Nanotechnology & Regenerative Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences

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Gordon Stewart, Professor of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences

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Sarah Tabrizi, Professor of Clinical Neurology, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Essi Viding, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, Faculty of Brain Sciences

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Mary Wickenden, Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Population Health Sciences

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Katherine Woolf, Lecturer in Medical Education, Faculty of Medical Sciences

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Contact details

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ANITA BERLIN SENIOR LECTURER Institute of Epidemiology & Health Faculty of Population Health Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Dr Anita Berlin is an extremely inspiring and enjoyable person to work with. Anita’s enthusiasm for good teaching is infectious, and I come away from every meeting with her with new ideas and renewed motivation to read and learn more, and improve my teaching skills. She has a deep understanding of educational theory and concepts, and can explain them clearly, in ways that are relevant and tailored to her audience. More importantly, although her knowledge of theory is excellent, she’s really good at applying it to real situations. She recently led a re-organization of the Medical School’s Final Year curriculum and assessment, which has led to a great improvement in students’ learning, and their preparedness to practice as doctors. Anita is prepared to invest time in relationships with the hospital consultants and GPs who are implementing the curriculum, using their feedback to adjust the programme. Anita is also committed to academic scholarship, and has been encouraging and supportive of more junior staff as we have presented the Final Year curriculum work at an international conference, and are now preparing it for publication. To do all of this alongside a clinical job is hard work, and shows real dedication to improving students’ experience and skills.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I was absolutely delighted to be nominated. First, because I am very aware of the way role modelling may influence both individuals around us and the culture of the teams and institutions in which we work. Secondly, because the nomination says all the good things that I would want to read about myself. I feel it is particularly important to have “scholarly educators” as role models - teachers and course leaders who seek out and apply educational research and learning theory to their subject area. This is especially important in a research intensive institution struggling to find ways to support and reward educational endeavour and improve the student experience. I am proud of what my teams have achieved - it’s lovely for my individual approach to be recognised in this way although I must stress very little happens alone everything depends on good collaboration.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I would say my career is characterised by trying to juggle multiple roles and identities in different locations. I trained as a doctor in Newcastle, considered a very progressive medical school and started my first academic post before finishing my GP training as a result of a chance meeting in a corridor. This was at a time of great optimism for the future of primary care. I was fortunate to be immediately part of local, national and international projects promoting the ‘exceptional potential’ of general practice. It initially seemed possible to be a practitioner, researcher, educator and policy maker and I saw this heterogeneity as the source of creativity. But, after


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I feel it is particularly important to have “scholarly educators” as role models - teachers and course leaders who seek out and apply educational research and learning theory to their subject area.

having two sons, I realised I had to specialise and, for me, the exciting opportunities were in undergraduate education. My academic work has centred on curriculum design and enhancement, starting with international programmes for GPs then moving into curriculum change, educational scholarship and leadership in undergraduate medical education and recently moving across into interdisciplinary and international work. I am currently leading on an innovative module focusing on the social determinants of health and incorporating global health, as well as enhancing patient and public engagement in the medical school. I am undertaking a number of research projects applying contemporary theoretical perspectives to enhance our understanding of institutional leadership, career structures for educators, and public engagement.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The highs generally come from seeing students hearing through their formal and informal feedback that they have not only enjoyed their learning but feel wellprepared to help their patients and to deal with the stresses of professional life. I’m particularly proud that the recent work that we undertook reforming the final year of the medical course has been so well received by staff and students, and commended by the GMC. It is also very nice to see papers and presentations accepted - especially when they involve junior colleagues and students. In addition working across different disciplines has been one of the great aspects of working at UCL. My clinical practice is still a joy.

Lows come in three forms. First, is realising that you made a decision on behalf of your staff or students that didn’t lead to the most elegant outcome. I now realise this is inevitable and have learned to identify potential problems and build in safeguards so that we can try to adapt quickly to problems. Secondly, working relationships - losing senior staff and mentors at critical times and finding others particularly concerned with their own ambitions. Academic life can be very competitive and women in medicine have the added challenge of balancing family life with intensive work commitments and multiple career requirements.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? With the benefit of hindsight I think the advice is simple: • Try as hard as you can to find a topic you like sooner or later you’ll be sick of it - you don’t want that moment to come too soon • Feel comfortable and supported by your supervisor - if you don’t feel that relationship building quickly - change. • There’s never a right time (just like there’s never a perfect time to have children) but start your doctorate as soon as possible. For academics in the professions (such as medicine) this is particularly challenging as you have to make choices between specialty training, your academic career and family life. • If you are interested in teaching and learning - do another doctorate! Consider one of the excellent professional programmes such as the EdD at the Institute of Education.

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HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I tried very hard to focus on making a difference for students and patients. I completed my junior doctor posts in the coal towns of the Northeast during the miners’ strike, and both my parents are refugees from (different) despotic regimes so I see being able to ‘make a difference’ as a privilege. I think universities, particularly somewhere like UCL, can contribute to civil society and social justice as well as being places of great creativity and blue skies invention. At a very practical level I like to set targets that make tasks feel achievable for me, my students and colleagues. I try to keep faith in myself, my values and my own abilities - and when this faith inevitably flags I have a couple of mentors and a very smart, wise husband who try to pick me up and turn me around.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? Someone once said that most of our professional roles are like rubber balls; if you are basically good at what you do and committed, you can drop something for a while and it will bounce back. But there are two aspects of life which are like crystal balls that need to be treated with care: our families and our health. I’ve always struggled to be there for my children and not to be “the last mummy at the school gate” … I am pleased to say my boys seem to be turning out just fine - in fact the oldest has just got a place at UCL to study architecture! And just as my children are becoming independent both my parents need constant support so there’s little time for health and relaxation - I try to cycle, and in the summer go open water swimming with family in Spain. On a winter’s evening you will find me in front of a good film.

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SARAH-JAYNE BLAKEMORE PROFESSOR OF COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. She works on how the adolescent brain develops, and in particular how this affects the social interactions of adolescents. She has helped to set up the UCL Centre for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience to foster such work. Her research is relevant to educational policy, and she has contributed to Royal Society reports on this issue. She is a committed populariser of science, and has presented at the Cheltenham Festival, Cafe Scientifique, Royal Society Summer Exhibition, World Economic Forum and many schools, and has given a TED talk. Putting all of these aspects of her work together she has co-authored a book, The Learning Brain, which won the Society for Educational Studies Book Prize 2006.

SLMS Academic Role Models

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I didn’t know I had been nominated, so I was very surprised when I found out - and very happy.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? During my degree in Experimental Psychology I became interested in how the brain controls behaviour, so I applied to the PhD programme in neuroscience at UCL. My PhD at UCL was supervised by Chris Frith and Daniel Wolpert and focused on why people with schizophrenia experience symptoms like hearing voices and delusions. I continued this research during a post-doc in France, and then returned to UCL where I had the good fortune to work with one of science’s ultimate role models, Uta Frith. At that time, I became interested in why schizophrenia usually has its onset at the end of adolescence. Since 2004 I have had a series of Royal Society Fellowships and my research has focused on development of the human brain in adolescence.


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Working with people who are passionate about the same research questions is highly motivating. I feel enormously lucky to do a job that is inherently interesting.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The highs include: the opportunity to work with brilliant people – both mentors and supervisors as well as students and post-docs; being awarded a succession of independent research fellowships; and being based in central London with its fantastic opportunities to meet and collaborate with researchers from all over the world who visit this vibrant and multi-cultural city. It’s also a terrific privilege to be invited to give talks in universities and at conferences around the world and to meet so many interesting people in different countries. There are also lows of course, like when months or even years of work generate a nonsignificant result and you have to give up on what seemed like a good idea, or when a paper or grant is rejected. A thick skin is useful at these times!

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Working with people who are passionate about the same research questions is highly motivating. I feel enormously lucky to do a job that is inherently interesting. I was recently explaining my group’s research to a class of school children and teachers and they had so many great questions, the session ran way over the scheduled time. That is motivating!

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? Mostly being entertainer, chauffeur and chef to two small boys.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? I would advise people at the end of their PhDs to talk to many people at different stages of their career and get as much advice as possible. Think carefully at this point – if you don’t love research, it might not be the career for you. On the other hand, if you do love research then be ambitious and persevere with applications for post-docs. Many female PhD students have asked me if it’s difficult to have a career in research and a family. It’s very possible, although it is quite a juggling act; but I guess that’s no different in any other line of work.

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ANN BLANDFORD PROFESSOR OF HUMAN COMPUTER INTERACTION Department of Computer Science & Division of Psychology and Language Sciences Faculty of Engineering Sciences & Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Ann meets all of her students individually and regularly, and provides excellent support. Like many successful academics she works far too hard, which is both a weakness and strength. This job is also her hobby (besides climbing) and her enthusiasm is of great benefit to students: it is infectious and has great practical benefit when you get feedback on written work the next day or over a weekend. It makes you feel valued, listened too and keeps you moving. She is very driven, critical and has high academic standards that she encourages in others. Ann is a great role model and has had the biggest impact on my career that one person could have. If it wasn’t for her I could be earning lots of money in industry but instead I have found myself doing what I enjoy.

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Of course, I was delighted to be nominated – who wouldn’t be? I’m really proud of my team, and of our culture of supporting and empowering each other as well as doing great research. I’m also very grateful to my husband, who has been constantly supportive and made my career possible.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? My career has been unconventional and “sawtoothed”, with elective demotions as well as promotions and discipline-hopping. After a first degree in Maths, I worked in industry as a trainee engineer, then as a programmer and computer system manager. I stepped down to being a student again to complete a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Education while my children were pre-school. I fell in love with research during my PhD, and was lucky to talk my way into a post-doc position (that was initially just for four months, but got extended repeatedly for a further four years) at the Applied Psychology Unit in Cambridge. Then to a lectureship in Computer Science at Middlesex University, where I got promoted every couple of years to being Professor and Director of Research in the department. Then I took another step down to a Senior Lectureship at UCL in UCLIC. My initial appointment was held jointly across Psychology and Computer Science. I worked my way up again, to being a Professor in Computer Science and Head of Research Department in PALS, building a group that I am really proud of. And I’ve taken another step down recently, as Yvonne Rogers has taken over as Director

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I try not to dwell on the set-backs and the bad days. The good days and the successes are highly motivating. Life is rarely dull, so it’s not hard to keep motivated.

of UCLIC. I am now working with others on building UCL’s research identity in e-Health, and particularly the Human–Computer Interaction aspects of that. There is so much potential.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? I feel so privileged: I do a job that I love, with people that I really enjoy working with (both colleagues and students). If I have to pick high points, they would definitely include my two inaugural lectures (at Middlesex and UCL), where I could share the excitement of research with my family and administrative colleagues as well as academic peers. I usually love teaching, though there are exceptions to that! Last year, we celebrated 10 years of UCLIC, which really brought home to me how far we’d come in that time, and how many people had graduated successfully from the MSc and are now thriving. But you do need to be thick-skinned as an academic, to take the rejections of papers and proposals too. Having our EPSRC Programme Grant proposal rejected when it had received uniformly outstanding reviews was hard, but then it was funded three months later, so we’ve been able to do the work after all.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Firstly, celebrate: doing a PhD is challenging, and finishing it is a great achievement. But in terms of the next steps, I think it’s tough: people have to make hard choices, and accept compromise. To some extent, you can make your own luck (by networking, finding out what opportunities are coming up, even creating your

own opportunities), but it usually demands hard work and a preparedness to be flexible.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I try not to dwell on the set-backs and the bad days. The good days and the successes are highly motivating. Life is rarely dull, so it’s not hard to keep motivated.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? Firstly, one of the great strengths of UCL is its encouragement of interdisciplinary working, so my work is not confined to SLMS, but extends to other parts of the university, particularly Computer Science. While my children were younger, my out-of-work life revolved around them. For example, I spent the evening after my PhD viva with the children at a fashion show put on by the parent-teacher association at their school. With my older daughter, I discovered rock climbing, and since the girls left home that has been my main extracurricular activity. I spend many summer weekends away climbing: my favourite places are sea cliffs such as Cornwall and Pembroke. Through the winter, I make do with indoor climbing walls; the scenery may not be so good, but it’s sociable and keeps the body flexible and strong. And climbing is a sport that demands total focus (if you don’t focus, you fall off!), so it’s a great way to set aside the stresses of work. My husband and I have just become grandparents, which is another new and exciting phase of life that will, no doubt, introduce a new repertoire of activities outside work.

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PETRA BOYNTON SENIOR LECTURER UCL Medical School Faculty of Medical Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Petra is an excellent role model for young academics - particularly women. Since obtaining her PhD Petra has conducted research in sex and relationships health, and educational research. She has 85 research publications in high profile peer reviewed journals; delivered 53 invited talks at national and international conferences plus given a further 58 conference presentations, workshops and posters since 1995. Her work uses skills developed through her teaching and research to enable others. Aside from teaching undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD students at UCL and elsewhere to understand, apply, evaluate and disseminate health research, Petra has written a popular book ‘The Research Companion’ aimed at making social and health research easier, more ethical, effective and safe. Research methods are not usually considered particularly exciting by students, but Petra’s engaging approach to teaching is consistently described as ‘fun’ and ‘useful’.

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She has raised £450,000 from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission to fund 60 students from Commonwealth countries to study on the MSc in International Primary Health Care. Her teaching experience and model of pastoral care on this programme has informed teaching on other courses internationally via links with DFID and academic research groups worldwide. Petra focuses on applying research outcomes to the wider community. A study of young people’s attitudes, from non-traditional/low income backgrounds, towards medical school (with Trisha Greenhalgh and Kieran Seyan) led to the Dick Whittington Project (now Target Medicine), a mentoring programme to introduce gifted young people to the realities of applying for a degree in medicine and support them through this process. She manages to do all this whilst bringing up a young family.


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The highs of my career have been getting my PhD. After being written off at school that was some confidence boost! I also was delighted to be long listed for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing in 2011

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I was very pleased to be nominated. I’m a Critical Social Psychologist and it’s always good to recognise the work we do and skills we bring to medical education and research.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I was told to leave school at 16, as I was not considered academic. In fact one teacher told me I was ‘thick’. I took O and A Levels at Basingstoke Technical College. With the support of tutors there and the encouragement of my parents I applied to Sussex University where I did a BA in Social Psychology. Followed by a PhD in Applied Human Psychology at Aston University, Birmingham. During my PhD studies I grew frustrated with the focus on studying undergraduate students and wanted to work within communities. I completed postdoctoral research on women involved in street prostitution that transformed how I viewed the process of undertaking social research. I therefore, went to work for an R&D Department within a Health Authority where I had a lot of hands on experience of health care research and using diverse methodologies. I applied this by working for Imperial and the Open University teaching methodologies to students. I joined UCL in 1998 when I worked on an epidemiological study of sexual functioning with Mike King and Irwin Nazareth. Followed by teaching on the MSc in International Primary Health Care with Trisha Greenhalgh and colleagues where I have been since 2002. Since 2002 I’ve applied my academic research on sex and relationships through creating media advice in print, online and in broadcast media in the UK and

Internationally. I also served as a consultant for the Department of Health’s media sexual health activities (2002-2008). I was delighted when the late Otto Wolff (GOSH/ICH) encouraged me to see media advice giving (and the role of Agony Aunt) as a recognised part of health care provision and to campaign for better advice giving services worldwide. I see my academic and media careers as intertwined. I could not do one without the other.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The highs of my career have been getting my PhD. After being written off at school that was some confidence boost! I also was delighted to be long listed for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing in 2011 for my blogging on sex/relationship science and media criticism. I felt it gave legitimacy to my blogging that had perhaps previously not been taken seriously as an academic endeavour. The lows have been contracting Hepatitis A in my twenties. I had complications from the illness that led to other liver and gall bladder problems. It meant I had to postpone my PhD studies and left me struggling emotionally and financially. I had to fight for proper health care for over four years because I did not fit a standard medical diagnosis. The lack of recognition of the media work I have done and at times obstructive behaviours from some academic colleagues about this work have also been upsetting. Fortunately we are now in a far better position to recognise and celebrate public and media engagement. I’m really glad to see media health advice work being recognised and celebrated.

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WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? I tell all my PhD students and those finishing a PhD that usually it is worth it. It’s normal to feel exhausted and discouraged at times, and to consider giving up. For some people it may be there are different and more appropriate career paths to take, so it is worth being open minded. But if you are finishing a PhD look towards creating networks, making use of career development courses, going to conferences, and publishing your findings (before your viva if possible). Thinking about where you want your PhD to take you and your next career steps can help motivate you finish and shape how you write up your research. It’s worth remembering also this is probably the only time you’ll have this much space to deeply investigate something that interests you over several years – so it’s worth relishing that opportunity!

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I’m lucky to have friends and family who support me. Working with the media, blogging and tweeting means I get a lot of interaction and feedback that encourages me to keep going. Also working in International Health Care both academically and through media work means I hear about many inspirational healthcare workers and many injustices and inequalities that communities face, particularly those who are LGBT, sex workers, young people and those who lack internet access or struggle with literacy. Hearing their stories reminds me there is a lot of work still needing to be done.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I write a weekly advice column for the Telegraph (Wonder Women) and blog when I can. I have two young sons so I spend most of my time looking after them. Every day is a new adventure with dancing, pirates, dinosaurs and space being very popular. Plus endless questions I have no idea how to answer. Outside of the fun stuff I have the less glamorous job of housework that never seems to go away. I escape by going swimming, walking on the Sussex Downs and catching up with friends; preferably in a pub.

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ALAN BURNS SENIOR LECTURER Institute of Child Health Faculty of Population Health Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Alan has mentored me at several stages of my career and he has consistently proved an inspiration to me, encouraging me to reach my aspirations. He is a highly logical and organised researcher and encourages clear thought. Yet he is very ‘normal’ and approachable and funny! He is also inspirational in his management of a busy work life in conjunction with a large family. WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I am pleasantly surprised and somewhat flattered to be nominated. I didn’t think that anyone paid attention to what I do!

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? At first sight, my career has followed a fairly typical and conventional path: BSc degree, PhD, then two spells as a post-doc leading to a faculty appointment. My introduction to research was via a laboratory project carried out during my undergraduate degree. I really enjoyed studying the developing brain of a tapeworm larva and my supervisor must have been suitably impressed with my efforts to offer me a PhD position in his lab to continue that work. My degree and PhD were carried out in Northern Ireland during some fairly dark days of the “troubles” in the late 1980s and early 1990s, so when I was offered a postdoc position in Reno, Nevada, I jumped at the opportunity to leave Northern Ireland behind and commence a career in scientific research (not to

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mention living 30 minutes away from the beautiful ski resorts and golf courses around Lake Tahoe). In Reno I was lucky enough to be given a novel project that produced some important papers and helped establish my career. I moved on from there to Paris to train at the institute of Nicole Le Douarin, a renowned developmental biologist, and this led to me being offered a faculty position at the University of Ulster. I accepted this job with the intention of settling back in Northern Ireland, but it was not long afterwards that I was offered a senior lectureship at UCL Institute of Child Health. I jumped at this opportunity to lead my own group and work closely with colleagues in Great Ormond Street Hospital where my research could take a more “translational” approach and help to better understand the cellular mechanisms underlying a number of birth defects.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? I really enjoyed my time as a post doc in the USA. I was part of a team led by Professor Kent Sanders that taught me a lot about the importance of having a good work-life balance. We all worked hard and productively and yet were able to switch off and enjoy social time. The work that I did there has been highly cited and I still regard that as being a springboard to much that I have subsequently achieved, so it was definitely a “high” to have the privilege of working there. Another high was when I organised an international conference in my area of research. Although this took a great deal of time and effort, and encompassed many diverse activities (fundraising, finding suitable hotel accommodation, programme timetabling, etc.) the


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It’s great to see people that you have trained go on to get a job in a good lab, or start their own group, or have success in another line of work. For me, trying to ensure that people in my group achieve their potential is a great motivator.

meeting was attended by virtually all of the experts in the field from all over the world, making the meeting a success. On the flip side, like many scientists nowadays, obtaining funding is a challenge, and having grant applications rejected is hard not to take personally sometimes. Ten years or so ago, the chance of having a grant funded was well over 20%, but this has fallen to as low as 10% with some funding bodies now. This means that much time is spent writing about what you would like to do, rather than doing the things (exciting lab work) that attracted you to science in the first place.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? There is much talk in the media nowadays about the “dumbing down” of education and the lowering of standards. However, in my experience I have encountered many highly intelligent PhD students who have produced exceptional, ground breaking work. Although not all such students want to go on to lead a research group, there are many other exciting possibilities out there. Undertaking one or two post-doc positions is a great opportunity to establish your career: generally at this stage you are free to concentrate on lab work and can make significant advances in a relatively short period of time; this is also a great time to experience living and working in different countries, with the US still being a favoured destination for research scientists, and Europe and Australasia not far behind. For those wishing to leave “bench” science behind, there are opportunities in areas such as scientific writing, administration, etc. In fact it is worth taking advantage of the many “transferable skills” courses offered by UCL that would be beneficial for a career in academia or the private sector.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? When people outside science ask me what I do, I often explain that running a research group is a bit like running a small business. There is a lot of freedom, intellectually, and no one is really telling you what to do on a day-to-day basis, so basically you are your own boss. In addition, there are many and varied activities that you have to become good at: managing a group of people; planning research on a short, medium and long term basis; managing budgets; teaching and giving lectures; and the “shop front” activities of publishing your research and giving presentations at conferences and at other institutions. For a small business, the more effort you put in to it, the more you get out of it, and I believe that is the same for a research scientist. In terms of making all of this successful, the people you work with are the key. It’s great to see people that you have trained go on to get a job in a good lab, or start their own group, or have success in another line of work. For me, trying to ensure that people in my group achieve their potential is a great motivator.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I am a very keen golfer, but having a young family and a wife working full time in medicine makes it a rare occurrence when I can disappear for half a day to play a round of golf. Although much of my time outside work is taken up with driving my children to various sporting activities such as judo and rugby, I try to relax by looking after a large garden, DIY, and some photography (not unrelated to taking all those pictures through a microscope!).

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FRANCESCA CACUCCI SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW Division of Psychology & Language Sciences Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Francesca has an absolute passion for her research and that of others around her, is a first class experimenter with a recent (joint) first author paper in Science (Wills et al. 2010); and she is extremely supportive and encouraging for younger post docs and PhD students in her own and her colleagues’ groups. Francesca demonstrates important collegiate qualities as an enthusiastic member of such groups as the steering committee for the Centre for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, as well as offering support (and her time) to help in the development of the infrastructure for the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre. She has contributed enthusiastically to teaching throughout her time as a Research Associate and in her current role as a RC Career Development Fellow and is totally reliable and well received by the students. Outside of UCL, Francesca is mother to a four year old daughter and when she had more time she volunteered as an English teacher to a Camden charity supporting recent asylum immigrants to the area.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Totally astonished, flattered, and a little bit bemused (since I moved to Britain I have come to love the irony and self-deprecatory style which I think is a true mark of the genius of being British).

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I studied for my first degree in Naples. I graduated in Biological Sciences, a five year course which also included a substantial (a two-year long) stint in a molecular biology lab. It was at this time that I developed my love for developmental biology (through reading one of the early books of Lewis Wolpert, which my boyfriend at the time obtained through somewhat illicit means – I still owe Lewis Wolpert not only my love for developmental biology and neuroscience, but also some royalties). By the end of my degree, I was awarded a 4-year Wellcome Trust PhD studentship at UCL, a brilliant PhD programme which is still running. I decided to do my PhD with John O’Keefe, as I was literally dumbstruck when I ‘heard’ my first place cell (cell that codes for the location of the organism). I have since remained at UCL (in contravention to all rules of academic career development) and I now have my own nascent group, and we study, among other things, how these fascinating place cells are constructed during the development of the animal.


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Just keep alive that flicker of curiosity that made you start your PhD. I don’t want to sound too pompous, but I think this is it, try to keep your integrity and shy away from the more ‘institutional’ aspects of science, as these might be deadly.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? My personality is such that I always go through highs and lows. The highs are generally brief moments of utter bliss, when in the lab, I delude myself that I have grasped something I didn’t know before. The lows are generally linked to the fact that science is such a predatory occupation, and it can feel rather draining at times, as one would like to also get some time to do, think and feel something science-unrelated (if such a thing were to exist).

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Just keep alive that flicker of curiosity that made you start your PhD. I don’t want to sound too pompous, but I think this is it, try to keep your integrity and shy away from the more ‘institutional’ aspects of science, as these might be deadly. Your path might be different from that of the huge majority of people, you might lie well beyond the 99th percentile, but this is why science is great, because very often the unpredictable is exactly what you were looking for. Remain playful and do it for fun (if there is no fun, something has gone seriously wrong).

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I hate to admit it (given that the course I convene bears the title of ‘Neural Basis of Learning and Motivation), but the source of my motivation is totally elusive to me. Perhaps it is because I don’t particularly need to make an effort to keep motivated. As I mentioned before, the lows in my career are due to the fact that science is such a consuming enterprise. And it is a tough master, in that it always confronts you with the meaninglessness of it all.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I am mainly trying to be a decent mother for my 4 year old daughter. She has the misfortune of both of her parents being scientists, and I put all my efforts in trying to compensate for this compromising start in life. Balancing parenthood and a scientific career is quite challenging, but totally fulfilling, as both are true, all-encompassing, passions. Given these two full-time roles, I had to put (momentarily) on the back burner, my other lifelong vocation, my desire to help those who feel they are less happy than they might be.

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DAVID COLQUHOUN RESEARCH PROFESSOR OF PHARMACOLOGY Division of Biosciences Faculty of Life Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION David Colquhoun has made major contributions to our understanding of how ion channels (proteins which allow charged ions to pass across cell membranes) function to mediate electrical signaling in nerve and muscle cells. This work elegantly combines experimental and theoretical aspects, and resulted in David being made a Fellow of the Royal Society. David played a key role in resisting the notion that UCL should merge with Imperial College in 2002, by running a website opposed to the merger. He thus facilitated the continued existence of an independent UCL. He is also well-known for his principled opposition to therapies that are not based on scientific evidence, and for his blog which comments on this issue as well as on university bureaucracy and politics.

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Astounded!

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? My first job (in 1950s) was as an apprentice pharmacist in Timothy Whites & Taylors (Homeopathic Chemists) in Grange Road, Birkenhead. You can’t get a more humble start than that. But it got me interested in drugs, and thanks to my schoolmaster father, I got to the University of Leeds. One of the courses involved some statistics, and that interested me. I think I made a semi-conscious decision that it would be sensible to be good at something that others were bad at, so I learned quite a lot of statistics and mathematics. I recall buying a Methuen’s Monograph on Determinants and Matrices in my final year, and, with the help of an Argentinian PhD student in physical chemistry (not my lecturers) I began to make sense of it. I purposely went into my final viva with it sticking out of my pocket. The examiner was Walter Perry, then professor of Pharmacology in Edinburgh (he later did a great job setting up the Open University). That’s how I came to be a PhD student in Edinburgh. Although Perry was one of my supervisors, the only time I saw him was when he came into my lab between committee meetings for a cigarette. But he did make me an honorary lecturer so I could join the Staff Club, where I made many friends, including a young physics lecturer called Peter Higgs. The staff club exists no longer, having been destroyed in one of

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My first job (in 1950s) was as an apprentice pharmacist in Timothy Whites & Taylors (Homeopathic Chemists) in Grange Road, Birkenhead. You can’t get a more humble start than that.

those acts of short-sighted academic vandalism that vice-chancellors seem so fond of. The great university expansion in the 1960s made it easy to get a job. The most famous pharmacology department in the world was at UCL so I asked someone to introduce me to its then head, Heinz Schild, and asked him if he had a job. While interned during WW2 he had written a paper on the statistics of biological assay and wanted someone to teach it to students, so I got a job (in 1964), and have been at UCL ever since apart from 9 years. Between 1964 and 1970 I published little, but learned a great deal by writing a textbook on statistics. That sort of statistics is now thought too difficult for undergraduates, and the famous department that attracted me was itself destroyed in another act of academic vandalism, in 2007. I have spent my life doing things that I enjoy. Such success as I’ve had, I attribute to a liking for spending time with people cleverer than I am, and wasting time drinking coffee. I found a very clever statistician, Alan Hawkes, in the Housman Room in the late 1960s, and we began to collaborate on the theory of single ion channel analysis in a series of papers that still isn’t quite finished. He did the hard mathematics, but I knew enough about it to write it up in a more or less comprehensible form and to write computer programs to evaluate the algebra. When I got stuck, I would often ask Hyman Kestelman (co-author of the famous mathematics textbook, Massie & Kestelman) to explain, usually in what was then the Joint Staff Common Room at lunch time (it is now the Haldane room, the common room having been confiscated by

unenlightened management). Before leaving for the USA in 1970, in league with the then Professor of French, Brian Woledge, I eventually got through a motion that allowed women into the Housman room. I’d also talk as much as I could to Bernard Katz, whom I asked to submit the first theoretical paper by Hawkes and I to the Royal Society. His comments on the first draft led to the published version making a prediction about single ion channel behaviour before channels could be observed. The next step was sheer luck. As this was going on, two young Germans, Neher & Sakmann, succeeded in observing the tiny currents that flow through single ion channel molecules, so it became possible to test the theory. In a series of visits to Göttingen, Sakmann and I did experiments late into the night. Neher & Sakmann got a well-deserved Nobel Prize in 1991, and I expect I benefitted from a bit of reflected glory. The work that I have done is nothing if not basic. It doesn’t fit in with the current vogue for translational research (most of which will fail), although I would regard it as laying the basis for rational drug design. My only regret is that rational drug design has proved to be so difficult that it won’t be achieved in my lifetime (please don’t believe the hype).

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The highs have been the chance to work with brilliant people and write a handful of papers that have a chance of having a lasting influence. Because I have been able to take my time on those projects there haven’t been too many lows, apart from observing the

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continuous loss of academic integrity caused by the intense pressure to publish or perish, and the progressive decline in collegiality in universities caused by that pressure combined with the rise in power of managerialism. Luckily the advent of blogs has allowed me to do a little about that. I’m saddened by the fact that the innumeracy of biologists that I noticed as an undergraduate has not really improved at all (though I don’t believe it is worse). Most biologists still have difficulty with even the simplest equations. Worse still, they don’t know enough maths to communicate their problem to a mathematician, so only too often one sees collaborations with mathematicians produce useless results. The only real failure I’ve had was when, in a fit of vanity, I applied for the chair of Pharmacology in Oxford, in 1984, and failed to get it. But in retrospect that was really a success too. I would have hated the flummery of Oxford, and as Head of Department (an increasingly unattractive job) I would have spent my time on pushing paper, not ion channels. In retrospect, it was a lucky escape. UCL is my sort of place (most of the time).

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? My career course would be almost impossible now. In fact it is very likely that I would have been fired before I got going in the present climate. There were quite long periods when I didn’t publish much. I was learning the tools of my trade, both mathematical and experimental. Now there is no time to do that. You are under pressure to publish a paper a week (for the glory of your PI and your university) and probably rarely find time to leave the lab to talk to inspiring people. If you are given any courses they’ll probably be in some inane HR nonsense, not in algebra. That is one reason we started our summer workshop, though bizarrely that has now been dropped by the Graduate School in favour of Advanced PowerPoint. The plight of recent PhDs is dire. Too many are taken on (for the benefit of the university, not of the student) and there aren’t many academic jobs. If you want to stay in academia, all I can suggest is that you get good at doing something that other people can’t do, and to resist the pressure to publish dozens of trivial papers. Try to maintain some academic integrity despite the many pressures to do the opposite that are imposed on

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you by your elders (but not always betters). That may or may not be enough to get you the job that you want, but at least you’ll be able to hold your head high.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Work-life balance is much talked about by HR, though they are one of the reasons why it is now almost impossible. In the past it wasn’t a great problem. I’m fascinated by the problems that I’m trying to puzzle out. I’ve had periods of a year or two when things haven’t gone well and I’ve felt as though I was a failure, but luckily they haven’t lasted too long, and they occurred in a time before some idiotic performance manager would harass you for ailing to publish for a year or two. The climate of “performance management” is doing a lot to kill innovation and creativity.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I’ve had various phases. For a while I carried on boxing (which had been compulsory at school). When I was first at UCL in 1964 I bought a 21 foot sloop (and as a consequence could barely afford to eat), and in 1970 (at Yale) I learned to fly. I had a lot of fun sailing right up to the early 1980s, when I found I could not afford a son as well as a boat. That was when running came into fashion and that could be done for the price of a pair of shoes. I did marathons and half marathons for fun (London in 1988 was great fun). And that was supplanted by walking country trails in the early 2000s. There is never a clear division between work and play, especially with algebra. You can continue to struggle with a derivation on a boat, or even get a new angle on it while running. That, of course, is why the UCL Transparency Review is such total nonsense. The main cause of stress has never been work for me. Stress comes mainly from the imposition of dim-witted managerialism and incompetent HR policies. And that has become progressively worse. I doubt that if I were a young academic now I’d have the time to spend the weekend sailing. I’m not sure whether the blogging that has taken up something like half my time since my nominal retirement in 2004 counts as work or not. It certainly depends on things that I have learned in my academic work. And it’s fun to have effects in the real world after a life spent on problems that many would regard as esoteric.


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JANE DACRE PROFESSOR OF MEDICAL EDUCATION UCL Medical School Faculty of Medical Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Professor Jane Dacre has shown endless commitment to the medical school through teaching and curriculum development whilst holding a number of extremely influential positions within her profession. She has recognised expertise in the scholarship of assessment, including developing a number of undergraduate and postgraduate assessment systems in the UK. Her current role as Director of UCL Medical School highlights her ambition and dedication to medical education. As one of the small number of female clinical professors across the country, Professor Jane Dacre has been an inspiration to female trainees in their pursuit of academic medicine and leadership within the profession. She has written many articles on Women in Medicine, balancing a career with a family, and is Chair of a steering group, so named, at the RCP. She is an inspiration because she shows how to do all these things whilst remaining grounded in the reality of day-to-day clinical medicine, whilst teaching students and juniors. Professor Dacre is always approachable and recognised for her ability to lead and inspire others to evolve their careers. We know many people who would aspire to follow in her footsteps.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I am delighted and flattered to be nominated as an academic role model. My career trajectory has been largely unplanned and influenced by getting involved in projects and issues which I find interesting. Happily, others have thought these areas were important too! Perhaps my most important lesson was realising that if I focused on where my interest and skills lay, I would enjoy the job more and do it better. That is why I chose medical education, and I haven’t looked back.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I qualified as a doctor, and followed a traditional physicianly path, taking time out for a traditional research degree. Whilst doing my research, I became increasingly interested in education, and in clinical skills. My motivation to improve the teaching of clinical skills was based on my own poor experiences of being taught, and the realisation that it could be done so much better. This led to the setting up of the first Clinical Skills Centre in the UK, at St Bartholomews’ Medical College. I also realised that the best way of improving a student’s skills and knowledge was through assessing them well, so I focused on assessment. Generating data from assessments made for interesting research findings about training and trainees.


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Perhaps my most important lesson was realising that if I focused on where my interest and skills lay, I would enjoy the job more and do it better. That is why I chose medical education, and I haven’t looked back.

During this time, I had 3 children, and realised that the career hurdles for women with children were significant, especially if following an academic pathway. Realising for the second time that there must be a better way, I began working on the issues around women and medicine, and was asked by Dame Carol Black to chair the research steering group “Women and Medicine”. This received a lot of publicity, and has been gratifyingly influential. I am now working as Director of the UCL Medical School, and continue to work in assessment as Medical Director of the MRCP examination. I am coming to the end of a term as a GMC Council member, and Chair of their Education and Training Committee.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Working as a clinical academic is extremely rewarding, but is not an easy option. Resilience pays off though, so keep on working at it, and you will make progress.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Good feedback from students is hard to beat, followed by recognition from colleagues.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I go to France, and I spend time with my family.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Working at the Royal College of Physicians and the GMC, being able to raise the profile of medical education at UCL and externally.

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JULIE DANIELS PROFESSOR OF REGENERATIVE MEDICINE AND CELLULAR THERAPY Institute of Ophthalmology Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Julie is one of the most humble principal investigators I have ever met. In spite of being one of the most recognised names in the field, she is very down to earth and modest. Always one to listen and understand another’s point of view, she has no prejudice based on position. It is also worth mentioning here that in spite of her modesty, she does not back down even against fierce opposition. Never one to be rude, she will graciously explain her point of view and make sure it is understood. She is a great judge of character too and has ensured that everyone in our lab has a great relationship with each other. She is the first person we run to in excitement and frustration. In times of trouble, she either has a solution or a kind word to offer. She knows that you may not always have the result you expect (in science) and encourages us to strive further and make use of what has been obtained. When I was confused about whether I should pursue a PhD, I approached her and she was quick to realise that that’s not where my heart lies and that I only wanted to do a PhD as it was a natural progression. She patiently explained to me that I didn’t have to pursue something just because everyone else did and that there were a million ways to succeed.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I was very surprised and absolutely delighted to find out that I had been nominated. When my nominations were passed on to me to read, I realised that my team thinks almost as much of me as I do of them. I feel very humbled and honoured to have such great people, past and present, to work with. My success is a direct reflection of their achievements.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? My career started by taking a BSc in Microbiology and then a part-time PhD in Tissue Engineering at the University of Leeds. During my PhD I also worked as a research assistant at the Yorkshire Regional Tissue Bank where I was responsible for culturing skin cells for the treatment of patients with major burns. This was quite harrowing at times but only served to strengthen my desire to undertake research that would help patients. I joined the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology as a new post-doc in 1996 and have remained there ever since! The opportunities and challenges I have been presented with have certainly shaped the person I am today. My underlying goal of developing new therapies for patients has been a constant throughout my career. Having this focal point has really helped me to deal with the roller coaster that is research.


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I was shown a letter of thanks from a patient who joined our research programme. The letter detailed a life changing experience. This was definitely a significant high point for me and my team

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The highs of my career include securing my first academic position and proving to the doubters that I could build a successful research team and establish a regulatory compliant cell therapy manufacturing facility! This is what enabled my team to deliver cultured stem cells to patients with blinding ocular surface failure, which has helped some of them to regain vision. I was shown a letter of thanks from a patient who joined our research programme. The letter detailed a life changing experience. This was definitely a significant high point for me and my team. Of course obtaining grant funding and getting our work published is always a great achievement too. The lows of my career include the usual grant application rejections and crazy reviewer’s comments on manuscripts, but that’s all par for the course as an academic.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Try to find something that makes you unique and excel at it. For me this was my cell therapy expertise. If you are fortunate enough to have a choice in these financially difficult times, pursue a path that really motivates you. Don’t settle for second best. Listen to the doubters, as there is usually something to learn from them but don’t let them put you off. Find a good mentor; we all need a bit of help along the way. Be organized with your time and keep your CV up to date. It’s easy to forget all the things that you have done and achieved. Science is extremely competitive but I firmly believe that it is possible to succeed while considering others and without being ruthless.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I try to remember that my actions also have consequences for others. If I don’t work hard then others will suffer. If I don’t bring in funding then my team will disappear. In our work we meet patients who desperately need our help. This is the most motivating aspect for me.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? When I’m not working in SLMS, I can usually be found in a field with a bunch of dogs and their owners. I’m a part-time dog training instructor and member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, something I had to study and be assessed for. I also do a variety of activities with my own dogs including agility. I have a keen interest in canine behaviour modification, especially for the type of aggression that tends to get dogs into trouble, using no force training methods. For evening entertainment I enjoy live rock music. For me it is important to have an absorbing interest that makes me stop thinking about stem cells for a short while! I find this helps to clear my mind and therefore I hope makes me a better researcher.

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ANNA DAVID READER IN OBSTETRICS AND MATERNAL FETAL MEDICINE Institute for Women's Health Faculty of Population Health Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION As a mentor Anna is generous with her time, her ideas and her support. I have lost count of the times she has calmly pointed me in the right direction, and when this has not been enough a gentle nudge has always followed! Whenever I have needed advice or encouragement Anna has always made time to listen and gone out of her way to provide practical help. She has always given relevant and constructive advice, even when this means telling me what I least want to hear, in a kind and encouraging manner. Anna is consistently supportive to Specialist Registrars (SpRs), visiting fellows, medical students looking for projects, and those interested in finding out about careers in academic Obstetrics and Gynaecology. As a trainee at the very beginning of my career as a researcher, my aim to one day be a senior clinical academic running my own projects, seems in many ways to be an abstract, almost unreachable goal. Observing Anna balancing clinical and academic commitments, whilst still being available to provide help and support to students and trainees, is both highly motivating and a constant reminder of what I am working towards.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I was so delighted to be nominated, but also felt rather humbled. I constantly feel during my juggling of clinical, academic and family commitments, that it may all come tumbling down. However one of the things that keeps my perspective is chatting to those who are more junior, inspiring in them the interest and excitement that research brings to me. In some ways mentoring is fundamental to being an academic. I had some superb mentors during my academic development, and I feel privileged to be nominated.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? My research interest was caught during my pre-clinical medical school course when I did an intercalating BSc. I was drawn to a career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) during clinical training and after that I was on the lookout for a funded PhD post, but did not find one until after I had taken my membership exam (i.e. I had done 5 years O&G specialty training). In some ways this was good because I knew then that I was fascinated by fetal medicine. Towards the end of my PhD in this field, my supervisor suggested I could continue as a clinical lecturer at UCL, so I stayed on doing 4 more years as a Senior Registrar combined with subspecialty training in Maternal Fetal Medicine. I then was awarded an NIHR Senior Clinical Lectureship in 2008 and became a consultant.


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I love the fact that I am making a difference not just to the patient that I am seeing in the clinic today, but to the patient that I will see in 2 or 5 years’ time. In one of my clinics my patients already reap the benefit of research that we did 2 years ago

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? One early high in my academic career is when I successfully extracted DNA from blood while doing a medical student research project. It seems trivial, but to see that glob of DNA precipitate out from a patient’s blood sample, and then to go on and perform PCR for HLA typing in the early 1990s was tremendously exciting. Another career high was being awarded an NIHR Senior Clinical Lectureship which meant I could stay on at UCL as a clinical academic. More recently I have just been awarded a large EU translational medicine grant which is based on work that I began as a pilot study in 2005. It seems amazing to think that it all began with a £10,000 pot of soft money from my supervisor and an idea to use gene therapy to treat a pregnancy condition. Finally a consistent high point for me has been developing a research team working together for a common purpose. The lows…lots of them….but being a “glass half-full” person I don’t tend to dwell on them too long, and something better always seems to come along instead. Manuscript and grant rejections are always a blow to your confidence, but usually the manuscript gets accepted somewhere else, and the grant gets reworked and funded eventually.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD?

everybody that I have approached has been keen to work together. I would also recommend that people look around to see whose job they would like and then investigate how they might get there.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I love the fact that I am making a difference not just to the patient that I am seeing in the clinic today, but to the patient that I will see in 2 or 5 years’ time. In one of my clinics my patients already reap the benefit of research that we did 2 years ago and that is a huge motivation to do more. I also believe that as a clinical academic you have great flexibility. I have a young family (aged 8 and 11) and I manage my time so that I can drop off and pick up from school, get to Harvest Festival, Sport’s Day etc. This does mean that I quite often do work in the evenings and at weekends, but I get to see my children more than many of my full-time clinical colleagues. My husband is a tremendous support and we are a team. I could not do it without his help.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? As a family we go for long cycle rides at the weekends, and for holidays I try to find destinations where I will be unable to pick up a Wi-Fi or mobile phone signal. Sail boats, North Devon and Cornwall beaches are excellent for this as is the Alps!

I would say that they should take advantage of any opportunities that arise, and don’t underestimate what a small pot of money can achieve. One of the best reasons for working at UCL is collaboration and

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UTA FRITH EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT Division of Psychology & Language Sciences Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Professor Uta Frith has been an inspirational role model not only to a generation of young cognitive neuroscientists, but also to patients and parents of patients with autism and dyslexia, and to women pursuing academic careers in science and engineering at UCL. Her pioneering research on the biological basis of autism and dyslexia has inspired not only the many cognitive neuroscientists whom Professor Frith mentored directly, but also an entire generation of scientists around the world now working in a research field she helped to create. Importantly, her research helped to shift public discourse in the twentieth century away from a damaging tendency to attribute autism to bad parenting and dyslexia to laziness. Therefore Professor Frith is a scientific heroine for parents of children with autism and dyslexia, who are no longer blamed for causing the biologically based disorders with which they struggle, and who are better able to obtain medical, educational and social support.

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Finally, she has been an inspirational role model to women in science at UCL and elsewhere in the UK. In 2005, she established the “science & shopping” support network, which meets several times a year and currently involves more than 100 female scientists, many of them at early stages in their careers. The aim of this group is to promote the careers of women in science, by sharing ideas, information and useful knowledge about common problems, and by emphasizing the importance of maintaining focus on “things that are inspiring and fun”. Through this group, Professor Frith has helped and inspired women scientists in all parts of UCL and has recently founded the network UCL Women, which provides an informal opportunity for monthly meetings over lunch. In acknowledgment for her work Professor Uta Frith was made a fellow of The British Academy, The Academy of Medical Sciences and The Royal Society. More recently, Professor Frith became an honorary Dame Commander of the British Empire, yet another recognition of her outstanding scientific career.


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I believe perhaps the greatest motivator for people in the biomedical sciences is that they can keep the broader vision of how their work, no matter whether in a small or in a big way, will benefit others, their health and their quality of life.

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Having just had a wonderful week with Ada Lovelace Day which celebrates role models for women in science I am thrilled that I am thought of as a role model myself. I have just led a Wikipedia edit-a-thon at the Royal Society where we made or edited entries for women in science in Wikipedia. It was an exhilarating experience to see this work being done and names, such as UCL’s Eleanor Maguire, now appear in Wikipedia. But I have my eye on other great women at UCL for whom I look forward to creating entries. I am just a tiny bit intimidated that I am in such illustrious company. Take for example Kathleen Lonsdale, after whom a building at UCL is named. I choose a paper about her as my favourite from the Royal Society Journal Notes and Records. The title of this paper is interesting: ‘Where are the Intelligent Mothers to come from? – Marriage and Family in the Scientific Career of Dame Kathleen Lonsdale FRS (1903–71)’ At some point, an eminent engineer told Kathleen Londsdale that he believed that brilliant men often inherited their gifts from intelligent mothers, but he also told her that women should not be scientists because they would inevitably leave the laboratory if they married. To this she gave the reply contained in the title.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I was born and educated in provincial Germany. As a child I had dreams of wanting to be a writer, a gardener, an archaeologist, and so on, but no idea that I would study psychology. I didn’t even know what

psychology was. My school was an old fashioned humanist gymnasium, which taught me a broad range of subjects. I strengthened my curiosity in languages, art and history, but it also gave me an inkling that science, especially biology, was a riveting thing to do. At university in Saarbrücken, I was determined to sample lectures in all sorts of subjects and somehow I tumbled from art history into experimental psychology. What I liked about it was the fact that you could find out really interesting answers with straightforward tests just from asking the right question. Unbeknown to me, settling on psychology had a decisive effect on my future life. The psychology course I took was based on American textbooks and therefore I had to learn English, a language that my school had not offered. This is how I first came to London. I remember that one day I walked along Gower Street and past University College, and I knew that this was where I would like to be. However, attracted by the fame of Professor H.J. Eysenck, I went to the Institute of Psychiatry. I completed a course in Abnormal Psychology, which is what Clinical Psychology was called then, and by incredibly good fortune I was taken on as a PhD student by Neil O’Connor and Beate Hermelin. Luckily, the German Academic Exchange Service gave me a grant to do this. My thesis was on autism, a topic, which I am obsessed by to this day. However, since my undergraduate dissertation in Saarbrücken I was also interested in reading and spelling difficulties. After my PhD I immersed myself in the topic of spelling, intrigued by the question why it is so difficult to learn for some people, and so easy for others. This led me to the topic of dyslexia and this too has been a lifelong fascination.

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By another stroke of luck I was offered a place at an MRC Unit affiliated to UCL. So I did get to UCL after all, and I have stayed there ever since 1968! I am very grateful to the MRC for funding throughout my career. This gave me the freedom to pursue questions such as: what goes wrong in the mind/brain of a young child to lead in one case to autism, in another to dyslexia. The aim was to narrow in on invisible mechanisms in the mind/brain that we normally take for granted. Amazingly, they can be made visible, because they are vulnerable to genetic faults and then result in atypical brain development and atypical cognitive development. For example, in dyslexia there is a hidden fault, which only shows up when an alphabetic code has to be learned and then used to make reading and spelling automatic. We investigated this mechanism in collaborative work and I would like to credit particularly the first of my brilliant PhD students, Maggie Snowling, and one of the last, Eamon McCrory, who is now Senior Lecturer at UCL.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? One high was the collaborative work that led to two major theories to explain the core symptoms of autism, nicknamed Theory of Mind and Weak Central Coherence. Here I would like to acknowledge my amazing PhD students Simon Baron Cohen, Francesca Happé, Amitta Shah and Sarah White. But of course there were other people, too many to mention here, who have been part of my group and who have contributed the major part to the research projects I was fortunate to lead. Another undeniable high for me has been the ability to use the amazing techniques of brain imaging, first with PET and then MRI scanners. I was very excited by these possibilities and the idea that they allow us to look inside the thinking and feeling brain. It was obvious that they would help us to pinpoint the subtle cognitive problems in dyslexia and autism and I was privileged to have the collaborators to teach me how to do this. I must acknowledge my husband, Chris Frith, as my most important collaborator. What were the lows? I am sure there were lots of those, but I can’t remember.

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WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? If you have reached the end of your PhD you have shown that you can be the world’s expert in some distinct area of scholarship or science. At this point, nobody in the world knows more than you about the topic you worked on and finally wrote up. Of course, science moves fast and unless you keep working at it, you will soon lose this advantage. So keep at it and use the momentum that your work created to decide where to go from there. Ideally, at this point you should try and get a different perspective and find a lab abroad where you can work for a while.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? If you are feeling jaded sometimes, and I don’t blame you, then you need to switch to some other topic. I always had the possibility to switch from autism to dyslexia and back again when things felt a bit stuck. It is not only refreshing to go abroad and to experience a different culture, but it makes you get a different view of life and you can test your strength in different waters. I believe perhaps the greatest motivator for people in the biomedical sciences is that they can keep the broader vision of how their work, no matter whether in a small or in a big way, will benefit others, their health and their quality of life.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? Since I am retired and can do what I like, I find that actually I like best to continue thinking about the questions that have always intrigued me. But if I am not writing or chatting with young researchers, then I am playing with my little grandchildren, who are nearly three years old. I relax with Twitter, which is more fun than reading papers and often more informative. I love to meet up with young women in science and I try to support and promote them by being generally available and acting as a sounding board. I also love to go to museums and recently I particularly enjoyed exploring UCL’s wonderful collections.


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DAVID GEMS PROFESSOR OF BIOGERONTOLOGY Division of Biosciences Faculty of Life Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION David Gems is dedicated to doing excellent, honest science while caring for his people and reaching out to society. He is strongly involved in teaching, mentoring and welcoming students. I can testify that David, through his lectures, attracts a considerable amount of students, who ask to do internships in his lab. He gives interviews and comments on issues related to his expertise to explain to a broader audience what is really happening. He believes science is for all and should be an exciting adventure. He does his best to provide his team with the best working environment, free from stress and administrative hassle. He is a creative and very open-minded scientist, who is not scared to reconsider accepted paradigms when scientific evidence starts to challenge them, and is therefore a motor of change in the ageing field. Recent work from his lab will certainly challenge a lot of many old ideas about ageing and change ageing research. One of a series of important publications was published last year in Nature, challenging the established role of sirtuins in longevity and of the so-called anti-ageing drug resveratrol. This publication was a battle for scientific integrity, which he eventually won over pressures and threats. More surprising and exciting papers are in

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preparation and I expect that the next decade will see a drastic change in the way we see ageing, in big part thanks to David’s team work. I believe David Gems will have an important impact beyond his field and he will do so while staying human, honest and creative; values that modern science tends to sacrifice because of increased competition for funding. WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I would like to thank my anonymous nominator for their kind remarks, and for so diplomatically leaving out my many faults. They might have added, among other things, that I am distractible, rather disorganized, selfabsorbed, very unsociable, bad at statistics and sometimes slow on the uptake.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I got a degree in Biochemistry from Sussex University, a PhD in Genetics from Glasgow University, and was then a postdoc at Imperial College and then a research fellow at the University of Missouri-Columbia, USA. After that I was a Royal Society University Research Fellow here at UCL, then a lecturer, a reader and, recently, a professor, all here at UCL. I am now at the Institute of Healthy Ageing, and the Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment (formerly the Department of Biology). As I teenager I wanted to be a cartoonist and studied to go to art school, but then disillusionment with many things - coinciding with the punk period - and also some odd philosophical ideas, led me to decide to study


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If you are considering continuing with research, it is good to pick as a topic something that you feel really passionate about, something that really matters. That passion is the most dependable thing to keep you working in the years ahead and in it lays the very meaning of your work.

genetics. In the early-mid 1980s I became disaffected with science and, as I saw it, its incapacity to serve the public good within capitalist society, and left science for Central America (including Nicaragua where the Sandinista-led revolution had just taken place). In the late 1980s, at a loose end I began a PhD in Glasgow and, rather against expectation, found the work delightful.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Highs: many. Working with Linda Partridge, and encountering Misha Blagosklonny’s recent hyperfunction theory of ageing, which is revolutionary and, I suspect, holds the key to understanding ageing. Lows: also many, but one gets inured to them to an extent. The first 5 years of running my own lab involved so much very hard work that seemed to achieve so little - I became quite run down. The senseless paperwork (particularly from the EU) can be dispiriting as it wastes precious time that would otherwise be spent on discovery or teaching the young. We must all do what we can to reduce it to a necessary minimum. It is also dispiriting when budding young scientists fail to blossom, which sometimes happens. I grew up in bleaker, more pessimistic times during the Cold War and in the shadow of the hydrogen bomb, so it is a wonder to me that each generation seems better educated and more humane than the last. Working with students has made me slightly more hopeful about the long-term viability of humanity. Sometimes I worry a little about students’ lack of engagement in political and philosophical issues, which is critical to ensure that one’s work as a scientist drives progress and benefits humanity.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? If you are considering continuing with research, it is good to pick as a topic something that you feel really passionate about, something that really matters. That passion is the most dependable thing to keep you working in the years ahead and in it lays the very meaning of your work. Finding this may well require changing topics – just as, as a rule, one should not marry the first person that comes along.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Mostly it is that I just need something to do. I have an inner compulsion to work, such that if I do not do it I become morose and irritable, and even ill. Other sources of motivation are compulsion (e.g. to avoid getting fired and losing my salary), habit and, to an extent, concern for the wellbeing and careers of the scientists and students for who I am responsible. Also, discovering the biological basis of ageing should greatly improve the human condition and, having worked on this mystery for so long, I want to know the answer.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? Besides research, my main source of excitement and amusement in life is my wife. Aside from her, simple things make me happy…my children, tending to the garden, watching films, and reading - which I do a lot in the bath. I recently read Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature”, which is perhaps one of the most important books ever written. Everyone who reads should read this book.

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DEBORAH GILL SENIOR LECTURER UCL Medical School Faculty of Medical Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Dr Deborah Gill is an inspirational figure, as she is always full of energy, enthusiasm, and innovative ideas. As the deputy director of UCL Medical School, she is dedicated to the excellence of UCL graduates in a constantly changing medical world. Recently, she has been pivotal in leading the implementation of the new MBBS 2012 curriculum, a truly herculean task considering the number of stakeholders involved and the complexity of the medical curriculum. It is only through her dedication, commitment, and leadership that this has been possible. Deborah is a great leader, supervisor, teacher, and friend - a role model in every sense, and an inspiration to us all.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Flattered and surprised in equal measure. I suspect like many I just thought I was doing my job to the best of my ability. I am humbled that I have the respect of my co-workers and am seen as a positive influence in the academic community.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I fell into academia quite by accident. If you asked my colleagues at medical school who was the most likely to follow an academic pathway I might have been quite a long way down their list. I undertook the London Academic Training Scheme at Barts & the London for a year after completing GP training and was bitten by the bug! I then applied for a lecturer post in primary care at the then Royal Free Medical School department of primary care in a community based teaching initiative and began to develop my skills, network, publications and qualifications. During this time my interests moved more towards medical education in general rather than community based teaching in particular so when a new post of part time senior lecturer in the newly formed Academic Centre for Medical Education (ACME) at the now merged Medical School came up in 2002 I was ready to take on new challenges. Over 10 years with ACME and the UCL Medical School I have been involved in a wide range of scholarship activities and am now proud to lead the MBBS programme and look after the education of over 2,000 medical students.


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Over 10 years with ACME and the UCL Medical School I have been involved in a wide range of scholarship activities and am now proud to lead the MBBS programme and look after the education of over 2,000 medical students.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The high has got to be the day the Ed D (education doctorate) got handed over to my supervisor: if only for the sense of sheer relief! To be honest there are not many lows. Working with teachers and students is an inspiration every day and so no matter how lousy a day has been there are always good bits.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Firstly, and most importantly, finish it! The American writer and poet Dorothy Parker said ‘I hate writing. I love to have written.’ So, even those who make writing their career find it painful. I also remember my supervisor saying: ‘Deborah, it will be neat, then it will be messy, but don’t worry, it will be neat again eventually’. That got me through some long evenings and weekends.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Coming to work at UCL Medical School is a joy (I hope I don’t sound too Ann of Green Gables in saying that). My colleagues are a constant source of inspiration, support and guidance. So many things are really satisfying – even if it is just completing a well written report. Also our medical students are our greatest asset and every day I am reminded of how special every one of them is.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? When am I not working in SLMS?? Honestly I am also a GP one day a week, a GP appraiser, a wife, a benignly neglectful mother to a stroppy teenager and a school governor at my local secondary school. When I have a day (or hour) off I enjoy good friends, good wine, gardening and cooking (badly).

Secondly, don’t get too hung up about ‘next steps’. Opportunities and the career one builds from them tend to fall into place rather than follow a grand master plan. If the opportunity looks like you might meet some interesting people, extend your CV and more importantly you would enjoy doing it, than seize the opportunity.

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ALLAN HACKSHAW PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY AND MEDICAL STATISTICS UCL Cancer Institute Faculty of Medical Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Professor Allan Hackshaw is the Assistant Director of CRUK & UCL Cancer Trials Centre (CTC). He is also a senior statistician who supervises a group of 5 statisticians at CTC. Allan is committed to his work, extremely hardworking and highly competent, qualities I would like to see in the person I choose as my role model. I would also like my academic role model to be an excellent teacher who values teaching. Allan is just that. He is brilliant at explaining the most complicated concepts in the simplest possible way, something that I would like to copy in my own teaching techniques. Above all I appreciate his support to his colleagues. His door is always open. He is also willing to encourage his fellow statisticians to be independent and also to look for pastures new using the experience gained while working with him. Allan has certainly influenced the way I think about clinical research and also the way I would organise my work life.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I was of course very pleased to be nominated. I did not think that the attributes mentioned in the nomination were anything special; they were characteristics I saw in some of my peers during my career, so it is a privilege to be able to pass these on to new researchers and students. Two important aspects for working successfully in medical research are (i) being available to colleagues, especially if they have a problem, and (ii) being able to describe your research methods and findings as simply as possible, so that many people can understand them.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I began as a Research Assistant/Statistician at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine (Barts & The London School of Medicine & Dentistry) in 1991, working on a variety of topics, mainly neural tube defects, antenatal Down’s syndrome screening, and smoking and health. I learnt a lot from the experienced people around me, and at other institutions, including many scientific and practical aspects of epidemiology and medical statistics (i.e. how to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, or prevent early death). Over the following years, I progressed to Lecturer then Senior Lecturer. In 2003, I moved to UCL as Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK & UCL Cancer Trials Centre. Here, I was promoted to Reader then Professor in 2011. My own career path has always been in the academic sector, but there have been opportunities in the private sector, so it has been comforting to have the option to switch between the two.


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I still get a buzz, even after teaching for so many years, due to the interaction with students and being challenged on aspects that I may take for granted, but are not so obvious to others.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? There have been many highs over the past 22 years. Research wise, these have included being a lead investigator on some high profile projects that changed public health or clinical practice worldwide. Examples are: • leading a report on lung cancer and passive smoking (in the BMJ), later used as evidence for the ban on smoking in public places; • developing new approaches to screening for Down’s syndrome in pregnancy, which became common practice internationally (with Professor Sir Nicholas Wald); • two major cancer trials: one that found a safer and quicker approach to treating thyroid cancer, and the other that shows why it is important for women with breast cancer who are on tamoxifen to complete their 5-year course, and; • the first comprehensive systematic review on maternal smoking and birth defects, used to encourage women to stop smoking before or early on in pregnancy. Taking these on, some of which were early in my career, was initially daunting, but they prepared me for later projects, including those that were difficult or controversial.

Teaching is another major highlight. This has been thoroughly enjoyable, particularly courses for Masters and PhD students in biomedical research. I still get a buzz, even after teaching for so many years, due to the interaction with students and being challenged on aspects that I may take for granted, but are not so obvious to others. There are hardly any seminars from which I have not learnt anything from the students. An additional highlight is being able to collaborate with the scientists in the UCL Cancer Institute, other research units at UCL and elsewhere, especially when they lead to developing new projects that could potentially change clinical practice There is no “low” in my career which I consider to be a regret. Although hindsight is a wonderful thing, there are no aspects of my career that I would have avoided, but I would have done some differently. The main reason for not having major regrets is that I usually seek advice on important projects or career prospects before making decisions about them. The main “low”, however, has been having to deal with the increasing amount of bureaucracy in human medical research, much of which I don’t think really matters. It has often been difficult to do, because I can compare it to research 15-20 years ago, when studies could be developed and conducted relatively quickly; as opposed to the slow process now.

My main work now is to investigate new treatments and screening for several cancers, using small or large scale national/international clinical trials.

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WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? The advice relates to the time towards the end of the project, and then during the early career, so I make the distinction here.

• Try to take on a variety of different work, e.g. research, collaborations, teaching, and administration. You will probably do much better in some areas than others, but the varied experience could benefit you in the long run.

During the PhD:

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED?

• Aim to finish the dissertation on time, without lingering too long on it. And keep focused, resisting the temptation to expand the project because you feel that you might not have enough; • Make sure colleagues look at important parts of the thesis closely, with recommendations for major edits, if required. PhDs shouldn’t really be done in complete isolation; they should reflect real life, where research projects are collaborative; • When writing the thesis, don’t write for yourself (you know what you have done!). You are writing for people (e.g. the examiners) who have never seen it before, therefore what might look obvious to you could be unclear to someone else; • Don’t think of your study as ‘negative’ or ‘positive’; both are unfortunate labels. All studies should provide some new information, essentially making them all positive. The most important aspects of a PhD are not necessarily the final results themselves, but rather how you have gone about your study, i.e. the planning and execution, interpretation of the findings, and thinking how your study fits in with other work.

Motivation is to some extent a personal attribute, but this often depends on an individual’s circumstances, and pressures from other parts of their life. The biggest source of motivation for me is working with keen and enthusiastic people, and both new and experienced researchers. And there are many such people in the Cancer Trials Centre at UCL. Others are: • Knowing that no matter how senior you might get in your career, you can always still learn things from other people, and especially from new researchers; which can and should influence your way of thinking; • Being able to bounce ideas off other people; • Working with people who can ‘see through’ bureaucracy; • Having a variety of research areas and being able to choose what to work on.

Early in your career: • Don’t blindly accept what others say without thinking it through for yourself; • Take on work that stretches your abilities; you are likely to learn many things this way, which prepare you for more difficult projects later on. You should always be part of a research team, with access to any support you might need; • Listen and learn from those who have many more years of experience than you; • Be patient with your research. Many new researchers want to publish sooner rather than later, but it is much better to think things through carefully and get the right answer. Unfortunately, there is often pressure to present or publish as soon as possible, but I have seen examples where early conclusions have changed completely when a study has been analysed properly and the results gone through in more depth;

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WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? Although it is important to value work, one also needs a social or family life, with sufficient interests and activities outside of work. Many of my regular interests are in central London, including cinema (of which there is usually an excellent selection of international films); some theatre (but not the big expensive productions with a million people in the audience!); and choosing from a vast array of restaurants, the good as well as the bad. Otherwise, I try to travel abroad several times a year, even if only for long weekends, or a day or two tagged onto a work-related conference or meeting. There are too many countries to visit properly in a lifetime, but I hope to see as many as I can, especially more of South America, Asia and Africa.


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GRAHAM HART PROFESSOR OF SEXUAL HEALTH AND HIV RESEARCH Dean of the Faculty of Population Health Sciences Faculty of Population Health Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Graham Hart is an excellent communicator, team leader and motivator. He provides juniors with opportunities to develop their careers whilst remaining engaged and supportive. Graham achieves a healthy work life balance and is an excellent role model. WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Surprised and delighted. A great thing about being at UCL is being part of a community: there’s a sense that we’re all in this together, so let’s make a go of it. People’s kindness and generosity always amaze me.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I realised at University that I wanted to have a research career, and so went straight to doctoral studies and was awarded my PhD when I was 25. Research posts followed, until in 1986 I was offered a Lectureship in Medical Sociology at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, doing research on HIV risk and the prevention of AIDS, and teaching medical students across London about this new disease. This was both a frightening and exciting time – friends of mine died of AIDS, but I was part of a group of people at UCL trying to find ways to halt the epidemic.

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I left London in 1994 to take up the post of Associate Director of the MRC Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, where I was Programme Lead for HIV and Sexual Health. I was appointed Professor there in 1999. At the beginning of 2006 I returned to UCL as Director of the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research. Since then I’ve been Head of the Research Department of Infection & Population Health, and Director of the Division of Population Health (now renamed the Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care). I became inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Population Health Sciences in August 2011.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? My early work was on risk behaviour for HIV in injecting drug users (IDUs) at a time when very little was known about this, and my first peer-reviewed publication was in the BMJ, which was very important to me at the time. It also gave me confidence to apply for research funding, and my first grant as PI was to evaluate the impact of the first UK needle-exchange scheme for IDUs, publications from which were influential in drugs related HIV prevention throughout the world. I’ve had an incredibly varied career in terms of the groups of people affected by HIV that I’ve worked with, here and abroad, including men who have sex with men, young people, sex workers, people living in rural Africa and many others. Their lives and experiences are so varied and interesting that it’s made me aware of other issues (such as stigma, and violence against women) about which I’d have known very little, had it not been for my HIV research.


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My motivation comes more from the people around me – from the students I’m supervising, the great researchers I work with, my academic colleagues, right up to the senior management team of the College.

I’ve been a member and sometimes Chair of grant funding panels of the MRC, NIHR and the Department of Health. It’s great to be in a position to support research in this way, and award Fellowships to earlycareer researchers. It’s exciting being part of research strategy at a national level, and hugely rewarding to be involved in capacity building.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED?

Some people might see becoming a Dean as a career low, but I’m enjoying it.

Some people are single-minded about their research. It’s so important to them that it propels them out of bed every day and all the way through this week, next month and the years to come. My motivation comes more from the people around me – from the students I’m supervising, the great researchers I work with, my academic colleagues, right up to the senior management team of the College.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD?

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS?

If you don’t have any publications yet, think about which chapters or sections of your PhD will make stand-alone papers. This is something that your supervisors and examiners can help with.

I try to make the most of where I live – London Fields, Hackney – by walking the dog, running and going to the gym. I like the cafes and restaurants in Broadway Market, and the great atmosphere of Columbia Road flower market. My partner Chris is a keen gardener, so there are lots of visits to garden centres, particularly in the run-up to the National Garden Scheme open day (usually in June for the London Fields Group). We like the theatre, and I go to exhibitions whenever I have annual leave – whatever is on at the time. London is the best city in the world, and I love it.

If you’re going for an academic career it’s good to apply for jobs at other universities and research institutes rather than immediately thinking that you should stay in the same place – getting a range of experience is good. At the very least, work with a different research group. I can’t really advise on other careers, but would say that if you have any uncertainty at all about pursuing an academic career, don’t do it. It’s tough, competition is intense and most post-docs won’t end up in research or teaching.

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ANGELA HASSIOTIS READER IN PSYCHIATRY OF LEARNING (INTELLECTUAL) DISABILITIES Mental Health Sciences Unit Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Dr Angela Hassiotis has been an inspirational figure for colleagues and junior trainees and has always taken an effort to help others develop interest in research and academia. She is very approachable and willing to engage in various activities such as workshops and lectures to generate interest among junior trainees. She is actively involved in medical student teaching and has supervised her trainees in developing a medical education module involving people with intellectual disabilities from local boroughs. This provides students to have a unique experience and also provides people with intellectual disabilities from local boroughs to have paid employment. She is very flexible in her approach and helps trainees to maximise their strengths and work on their weakness by creating a blame free environment. This helps in making the research process enjoyable. She is a very motivational leader and has guided her trainees to pursue a career in academia by completing fellowships and degrees in medical education.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I am very pleased to be nominated! Working with young researchers from a variety of backgrounds brings significant responsibility in terms of ensuring that we inspire them and help them along in their chosen career. Leading a team of researchers and successfully concluding projects and disseminating the findings is a satisfactory experience and creates a peer group aligning in common purpose. It is vital for those training in our department to be able to contribute and to receive the guidance and support in doing so. I am fortunate to have been able to nurture talented scientists and clinicians who will be continuing the scientific effort in the future and have learnt a lot myself from their responses to the various challenges they have been faced with. Furthermore, my nomination has come at a point where my specialism – Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability - is experiencing a period of exciting opportunities as a result of medical advances and investment by funding bodies. I sincerely hope that these may act as a pivot to attracting high calibre scientists and enhance our prospects to develop new projects together with the wider community in the School of Life and Medical Sciences.


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I see what I do as a lifelong course with potential to learn, improve and discover along the way and I feel that much of what I do is under my control within certain parameters. In my view, a useful mind-set is one that considers challenges as alerts for doing things differently.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? An important issue in my personal development was the fact that I had come to train in Psychiatry in the UK having spent my formative schooling including undergraduate medical education in Greece. Considerable work was required on my part to assimilate a new way of reasoning and to consider the direction in which I would take in pursuing research. My academic career path began with the fairly low key activity of writing a paper for publication under supervision whilst still a junior trainee in psychiatry at the Royal Free rotation. This gave me the encouragement I needed to consider the possibility of becoming more involved in research. A year as a clinical fellow in an innovative community mental health service produced further publications and allowed me to become part of a peer group and enhanced my interest in an academic path. There has been mentoring and guidance by established researchers along the way which I have greatly appreciated and learnt from. Completing an MA and later a PhD encapsulated the rigours of academic endeavour in terms of shaping an argument and resolving a problem. I was delighted to be appointed as a Senior Lecturer at UCL within what used to be called Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences and currently the Mental Health Sciences Unit. It has been a supportive environment all along with hard working and well known researchers who took an interest in my work and those partnerships have endured to this day. As a clinical academic, I would like to mention my clinical work at Camden and Islington Foundation NHS Trust who have been very supportive of my academic role and my

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service (Camden Learning Disability Service) who have contributed too much of the research I have carried out in recent years.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Some of the highs: every time a paper finds its way to publication and a grant application is successful; celebrating successes within our research team including those of the trainees I mentor and supervise; becoming known and using our work to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Lows are temporary; I tend to see them as part of the daily routine and take them as points of departure towards a different direction that could be more fruitful.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? In my supervisory and mentoring role, I always try to link people with other scientists in their fields and try to map to an extent possible trajectories for their work. Being involved in academic publications within their specific field but also working on other options as they arise helps to develop professional networks and enhances academic skills; making contacts and helping out in projects that established academics are considering are always good opportunities to remain involved and potentially provide the next step in the career ladder. I think it is important to be engaged with and interested in under and post graduate education by teaching and undertaking some supervision of students themselves. Applications for further research fellowships either UK or EU funded, if successful, can lead to prestigious awards that can help to develop a

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longer term research framework. SLMS and the wider UCL provide a wealth of experience and opportunities and students should be vigilant to take advantage of the infrastructure and support. Having a family need not be a barrier to success and I have seen many of our trainees managing the demands of both by being reliable and on time with their work commitments. This is where I think that a supervisor’s support and guidance might be of greatest value. Finally, I can never stress enough the importance of probity, governance and respect for the work of others.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I like my work and I believe that I can make a difference for the benefit of our service users. I see what I do as a lifelong course with potential to learn, improve and discover along the way and I feel that much of what I do is under my control within certain parameters. In my view, a useful mind-set is one that considers challenges as alerts for doing things differently. Motivation may also be provided by new opportunities that arise; new techniques that are being trialled or positions that become available. Asking for help in tackling a difficult issue can lead to an answer that has eluded us; as can being curious and engaged with one’s peers and environment. And of course one should not forget that there are rewards as well in terms of impact of our work, recognition and inspiring others on the way including opening a dialogue with a lay audience who may be the recipients of the outcomes of our endeavours.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I have a variety of interests including a daily exercise routine, reading several books a year, watching movies, listening to opera, attending arts events and travelling, sometimes linked with some work related invitation or winter sports. I tend to use Sunday afternoons to respond to emails so Mondays are not overwhelming but I will keep one day over the weekend free for socialising and pouring over the (hard copy versions of) newspapers. The social media keeps me in touch with friends, family and the world.

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AROON HINGORANI DIRECTOR OF UCL INSTITUTE OF CARDIOVASCULAR SCIENCE Faculty of Population Health Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION I nominated Aroon Hingorani because I am part of a large and diverse team carrying out a five year programme which he won with the collaboration of many. I am not merely impressed by his intelligence and academic acumen, and his ability to inspire interest in the research topic; it is more the kind, patient and unselfish manner with which he has pursued his academic goals. To bring and keep together a team where much collaboration and compromise was required without ever appearing to “lose his cool”, and to treat each person with enormous respect, requires a special person.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I was touched by the kind words of the person who nominated me. Many people have had a positive influence on my own career; it came as a bit of surprise to be thinking I might be influencing others in a positive way.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I did an undergraduate degree in Physiological Sciences in Oxford and then came to Guy’s Hospital in London to complete my clinical training. I qualified in 1989 and did my house jobs on the Guy’s rotation. I did 6-month senior house officer jobs in London at Hammersmith, The National Hospital Queen Square (before it became part of UCL Hospitals), Barts and the Middlesex. I trained in Cardiology/Clinical Pharmacology, Neurology, Renal Medicine and HIV/Respiratory Medicine respectively. I wanted to get as broad a background in Medicine as I could. I entered the St.George’s Hospital Specialist Registrar rotation in 1992 and did a year of Medicine and Cardiology at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford. I then decided to do a PhD and worked at this for 3 years in the Clinical Pharmacology Unit at Cambridge on an MRC Clinical Training Fellowship. I returned to London in 1996, completing my SpR training in Clinical Pharmacology and General Medicine at UCH. During that time I failed to get an MRC Clinical Scientist Fellowship but managed to get British Heart Foundation funding, first as an Intermediate and then Senior Research Fellow. During that time I was appointed as a Senior Lecturer at UCL. I became an Honorary Consultant at UCH in 2000. In 2008, I moved


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I was touched by the kind words of the person who nominated me. Many people have had a positive influence on my own career; it came as a bit of surprise to be thinking I might be influencing others in a positive way.

my research base from the UCL Division of Medicine to the UCL Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, though I continue to play an active role teaching Medicine and Therapeutics and continue to work as a Consultant at UCH on the General Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology service. In 2011, I became Director of UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? An academic career comes with a lot of freedom and I have been lucky enough to enjoy the jobs I have done. Science and medicine continue to be fascinating and there is always the thrill of finding something new, no matter how modest. The advances in understanding the genetic basis of common human diseases in the last 5-7 years have been particularly exciting. Seeing the people I work with progress and become independent is also very rewarding as is helping to train each new generation of medical students. But an academic career can also be demanding. The toughest periods have been those when the demands of work and family life have both been high, such as when taking professional exams and helping to look after our two young children.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Smile! This is probably your last exam. Decide whether you wish to continue on an academic track; if you do, it can be hugely rewarding, but be prepared for rejection from time to time (grants, papers etc.) and to be adaptable. Running a research group feels at times a bit like running a small business – you need to generate grant income, appoint and manage staff and produce a successful research product.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I like the work I am doing. I am lucky enough to work with some really clever, enthusiastic people – importantly all of them have a sense of fun. If my motivation flags, my wife lists all the other things I could have been doing had I been less fortunate.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? Nothing very exciting I’m afraid. I cycle and run a bit, watch my son and daughter play hockey and football, meet friends; enjoy nice meals, and holidays with family and friends.

My wife is now a Consultant Ophthalmologist so juggling the demands of two medical careers was difficult. We opted to train in London as this provided the best chance of us working as near to one another as possible. Trying to ensure that our on-call rotas coincided, so we managed to see one another on nights off, was also challenging. When we were SHOs on 6-month contracts, there were several periods of great uncertainty.

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DAVID ISENBERG PROFESSOR OF RHEUMATOLOGY Division of Medicine Faculty of Medical Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION David Isenberg has been instrumental in developing and encouraging the careers of many young academic rheumatologists at UCL and elsewhere for the last thirty years. I don’t know anyone who has a better understanding of what it takes to develop a career in academic rheumatology or the best way to approach those challenges. He has also approached the same issues on a national scale as President of the British Society of Rheumatology and more locally as Chair of the North London Rheumatology training rotation. He will go out of his way to advise young rheumatologists thinking about an academic career and his advice will always be good. He combines teaching, research and clinical skill in a way that many people would like to emulate but few ever will. He has an international reputation in the field of rheumatology research, especially systemic lupus erythematosus. Many academic rheumatologists (including me) would not be in academic careers today if it were not for David Isenberg.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Both honoured and a little embarrassed. At heart, I still feel myself to be the little kid that I was wandering around the streets of Tottenham during the great days of “the Double”. I come from a family full of doctors so it was no surprise that I opted to become a doctor, but any success I have had is predicated by a very simple principle (which I have also tried to instil into my own kids) that ultimately success, whatever you do, is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration – remembering although “chance favours the prepared mind” – you still have to have the chance and then try to make the best of it.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? Although I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but when qualified, I had really no idea which sub-specialty to follow. A chance meeting with Michael Snaith, then recently appointed consultant rheumatologist at UCH, persuaded me that rheumatology was going to be a good choice. Having the opportunity to work with Ivan Roitt at the Middlesex Hospital and Robert Schwartz in Boston, taught me the fascination of research in general and immunology, in particular. I returned from a very happy and successful period in Boston to establish a research laboratory at UCH/UCL, the rest was down to writing a very large number of grants and talent spotting!


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…any success I have had is predicated by a very simple principle (which I have also tried to instil into my own kids) that ultimately success, whatever you do, is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration – remembering although “chance favours the prepared mind

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The high points were being invited to give the Heberden Round at The British Society for Rheumatology in 2002, and winning the Evelyn Hess Prize awarded by the American College of rheumatology for a major contribution to systemic lupus erythematosus (in 2010, I was the first non-North American to win this). I have also rather enjoyed challenging editorial decisions to reject manuscripts that I and colleagues have sent and getting the verdict changed! The lowest point, from which I learnt an important lesson, was having gone to the then Professor of Medicine at UCH (this happened many years ago!) and proposing an article on inflammatory muscle disease, writing the first and four further drafts entirely on my own, only to be told as the manuscript was to be submitted, that professor of medicine had decided that he would be the first author! From this, I learnt how not to behave. I have always tried to follow the dictum of a very famous Rabbi, Hillel, who formulated a “golden” rule that, “Do not do unto thy fellow men what is hateful to thee. This is the whole law, the rest is commentary”. Much sadder “lows” have been the deaths of several, often young patients from the various autoimmune rheumatic diseases that I specialise in. Let’s finish on “a high”! Certainly, as I have progressed through my career, it has become a greater and greater pleasure to witness the success of both clinician scientists and basic scientists to whom I have been able to “give a chance”. I think it has been important to employ an “open door” policy (I really must get that door

fixed!) so that people working in academic rheumatology in the unit I direct know that I don’t stand on ceremony and if there is a problem, I would much rather hear about it sooner rather than later!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Don’t hang about, get it done as soon as possible and make sure both of your supervisors read every paragraph, sentence, word, comma, full stop - much better to get the criticism before you submit it!

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? As above, watching patients especially young patients suffer from the diseases I helped to look after and in some sad cases dying from them. It is a huge motivation reminding me that though we have made huge advances, there is so much more we need to know. I am also a great believer in the comment of the late Peter Medawar that “Isolation in science is over. We all depend upon and sustain one another.” I have always found working with colleagues to be an enriching experience.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I greatly enjoy writing songs and performing with my band, Lupus Dave and the Davettes, and spending time with my family, especially our newest member, my first granddaughter, Rosa, and although there is usually more pain involved than pleasure, making reasonable use of my Spurs Season ticket (I think of the money that it costs me as a sort of charitable donation really!).

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ANNE JOHNSON PROFESSOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE EPIDEMIOLOGY Institute of Epidemiology & Health Faculty of Population Health Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION As previous Head of the Division of Population Health, and now a SLMS Domain Chair and Wellcome Trust Governor, Professor Anne Johnson has an excellent knowledge and understanding of UCL, as well as being aware of opportunities for career development through external funding sources. Anne is highly respected in the field of Population Health, particularly for leading the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles since their inception in 1989. Her current research portfolio includes international HIV cohort studies, behavioural intervention studies and a community study of the epidemiological and immunological determinants of seasonal influenza transmission (MRC Fluwatch), with collaborations with colleagues in Europe, Africa and China. Anne is very approachable and always supportive of junior staff by providing opportunities to develop expertise, helping to resolve issues, and offering careers advice and guidance.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Delighted, of course! Especially pleased that it emphasises mentoring younger colleagues. It’s always good to have a small hand in helping others flourish, and selfishly it’s a win-win, as often great for one’s collaborative research output.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? Training in Medicine, General Practice and Public Health where I soon realised I was interested in a research career. A chance meeting with Mike Adler (now Emeritus Professor) led to a 2 year lectureship in epidemiology and public health at the Middlesex Hospital Medical (now part of UCL) to study AIDS epidemiology at the start of the epidemic. I never got round to leaving. I developed a research programme and MRC funded group on HIV epidemiology and climbed the academic promotion ladder to Head of Division, had two children, a sabbatical in Australia, and sat on innumerable government and funding committees on the way. With Anthony Costello, I set up the UCL Institute for Global Health and now Chair the Grand Challenge and the Population Health Domain.


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It’s always good to have a small hand in helping others flourish, and selfishly it’s a win-win, as often great for one’s collaborative research output.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Highs: The early, fast moving days of the AIDS epidemic. A combination of scientific excitement and despair, uncertainty, politics, and public engagement with the opportunity to build scientific collaborations that have lasted over 25 years. Publishing the first results of the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles in 1992. More recently working right across UCL Faculties to develop the Institute for Global Health and working on the Lancet/ UCL Commission on Managing the Health effects of Climate Change. Becoming a Wellcome Trust governor.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Through people and their ideas. And fear of boredom.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? My biggest commitment outside SLMS is my work as a Wellcome Trust Governor, a fascinating strategic role from which I am constantly learning right across the breadth of science from molecular biology to global health and medical humanities. Of course, I highly value my home, family and social life, where most of us, men and women, however hard we work, spend most of our lives.

Lows: The annual round of budgetary cuts in our incomprehensible Resource Allocation Model as Head of Division. ‘Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow but never jam today’

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Regard it as a marathon and not a sprint. The pain will be worth it for the exhilaration and career opportunities of finishing. And once you’ve got your breath back, get those papers published from it. Noone but you, your supervisors and examiner will ever read your magnum opus, but there is a potential huge audience for papers you publish.

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STEVE JONES EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF HUMAN GENETICS Division of Biosciences Faculty of Life Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Mention the name Steve Jones to pretty much anyone and they will know who you are talking about. Steve is one of the most famous geneticists of our time, known throughout the world due his numerous best-selling popular science books including ‘Almost Like a Whale’ and ‘Y: The Descent of Men’. As Steve’s Wikipedia entry states, “In 1996 his writing won him the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for his numerous, wide ranging contributions to the public understanding of science in areas such as human evolution and variation, race, sex, inherited disease and genetic manipulation through his many broadcasts on radio and television, his lectures, popular science books, and his regular science column in The Daily Telegraph and contributions to other newspaper media.” Steve’s success in taking science to the masses, annually enthusing hundreds of biologists through his teaching at UCL and beyond, as well as his significant contributions to genetics research, make him the perfect academic role model.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I am pleased to be nominated, but there are plenty of people at UCL more worthy than me. Long ago I made the wise decision to be born at the right time, which meant that I came to London and UCL in the early 1970s when universities were expanding and before the start of the blizzard of forms, appraisals and calls for self-justification that fill most waking hours today. As I sometimes say to my young colleagues here, “Don’t worry, the first forty years are the worst”; but in fact I have real loyalty to the College and can think of nowhere else I would prefer to be: what I really mean is “Don’t worry, the next forty universities are not as good at fending off the paperwork as we are”.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? Linear, until I hit a roadblock. I started writing an undergraduate essay on the population genetics of land snails in 1965, and scribbled away happily at it for a quarter of a century. Then the money ran out and, at almost at the same time, in 1991, I was asked to give the BBC Reith Lectures on genetics. It was the ideal time to do so, for marvellous things were happening in the science, although the public knew almost nothing about them (and now indeed things have become so confused that it may be better that its present state is hidden from public view). That led to a TV series which involved visits to, inter alia, the electric chair in Georgia, the survivors of Hiroshima, and the ruined city of Great Zimbabwe. Since then I may have spent too much time on the public understanding of science – but I still manage to keep the snail work going (it is, on the other hand, a pretty sluggish field).


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The high point, and I remember it well, was standing on a remote hillside in Yugoslavia, as it then was, and realising that I could predict what the genes would be in the population on the hillside opposite

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WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The high point, and I remember it well, was standing on a remote hillside in Yugoslavia, as it then was, and realising that I could predict what the genes would be in the population on the hillside opposite: a trivial discovery indeed, but my first; and everyone remembers that. Low point, releasing two million genetically marked fruit flies on the California Channel Islands, and getting none of them back.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD?

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Force of habit.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I write books, fairly obsessively (and often on trains) and spend quite a lot of time in France so doing. I am also on far too many committees outside UCL and go to lots of schools and schools conferences, usually talking to around 20,000 school pupils a year. Now and again I go for a walk.

Nil desperandum: you will get there in the end, and this is the moment in your career to decide whether or not you can keep running up the down escalator fast enough to get to the top; in other words whether to stay in, what is now an intensely competitive, uncertain and micro-managed University business, or whether to get out into the real world.

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PENG TEE KHAW PROFESSOR OF GLAUCOMA AND OCULAR HEALING Institute of Ophthalmology Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Professor Peng Khaw is one of the world’s leading eye and vision scientists. Peng has great strategic vision; he is a tireless advocate for patients and their families and is a highly effective fundraiser. He provides great leadership for ophthalmology worldwide and has just completed his term as President of ARVO (the world’s largest vision and ophthalmology research organisation in the world). Despite his immensely busy schedule, Peng always has time for his staff, being very approachable and easy to talk to, and always has viable solutions for difficult problems. He once flew to the other side of the world for 48 hours to help me out of a difficult political situation when I was a PhD student. He is a truly inspirational mentor.

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Pleasantly surprised and rather humbled.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I qualified as a medical doctor and was very inspired by several of my teachers, particularly those who were superb clinicians. They taught me the art of medicine, and how to listen to and enjoy working with my patients to make them better. I trained in general medicine and then in ophthalmology. I came to Moorfields as a senior trainee and remember looking after a young child with glaucoma (caused by eye pressure), who had had many operations and anaesthetics but who eventually lost her vision. This was because all her operations had failed due to scarring and complications for which we had no effective treatment. I remember visiting an eye hospital in Florida and one of the world authorities in the field took his entire lunch hour to talk to an unknown visiting resident (me), he inspired me to think about the importance of scarring. Rather than taking a consultant job, I applied to the Wellcome Trust and did a PhD in the lab to study scarring, including spending a year in the USA. During this time, I discovered that very short 5-minute applications of anti-cancer drugs could put fibroblast cells into growth arrest for extraordinarily long periods, and that simple changes in surgical technique could make the surgery much safer. This allowed better control of scarring, which is a major reason for the failure of glaucoma surgery, and is also relevant in every blinding disease. These techniques have since been adopted around the world, and have made surgery more effective and safe. I always get immense satisfaction when doctors write to

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Because research has been so clearly life changing for my patients, I have been delighted that the inspiring story of one of my young patients has helped us fundraise and build a new children’s hospital and research centre at Moorfields.

me from many countries telling me how much better their patients are doing as a result of changing their surgical technique. A few years ago, the same doctor who took time to inspire me came up to me and gave me a hug because my technique had transformed the outcome for his patients. I told him the story of the resident he had inspired to do this research, and that that resident was me, and how I was so pleased that I had repaid his kindness through our research. I was lucky enough to have had the first 50:50 NHS research consultant job at Moorfields created for me, which allowed me to continue my research and build my research group. I was awarded a personal chair at UCL five years after becoming a consultant. I have been fortunate to have worked with some truly outstanding doctors and scientists through my career many of whom are now Professors at UCL and Heads of Departments around the world from the USA to Australia. Because research has been so clearly life changing for my patients, I have been delighted that the inspiring story of one of my young patients has helped us fundraise and build a new children’s hospital and research centre at Moorfields. More recently, I have taken on further roles facilitating research, including Director of Research and Development at Moorfields, UCLP Eyes and Vision, the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. I am particularly keen to encourage a new generation of researchers, and have pushed for this, so that, for example, we have gone from none to nine clinical lecturers. Research is the life blood of innovation and improvement. Recently, I was elected President of the Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

(ARVO), which is the largest eye and vision research organisation in the world. I reflected that what the membership had in common, from the first year PhD students to the Nobel prize winners, was that we all want to feel we have each made a difference in our lifetime. The theme set for the 2013 ARVO meeting was 'Life-Changing Research' which reflects how research inspires us as human beings, changes our lives, our families’ lives, stimulates innovation and industry, and of course patients around the world.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The highs of my career relate to discoveries from our research that has improved the lives of my patients and many other people around the world. The lows related to not being able to help some of my patients.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Just write it. If you can finish writing your thesis, you will almost certainly get your PhD.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I enjoy talking and interacting with people. They, and particularly my patients, inspire and motivate me. I am constantly amazed at the ability of people to cope with great hardship and difficulty in their lives. I also enjoy listening to inspirational individuals. Watch Bill Gates’ recent Dimbleby Lecture on polio – just amazing.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? Relax at home.

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JOSEF KITTLER READER IN MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR NEUROSCIENCE Division of Biosciences Faculty of Life Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Josef Kittler studies the trafficking of membrane proteins and subcellular organelles such as mitochondria, by combining an impressive array of different techniques including molecular and cell biology, electrophysiology, quantum dot imaging, and confocal and 2 photon imaging. His work has been recognised with the award of a Wellcome Advanced Training Award, an MRC Career Development Award and Senior Fellowship, a Lister prize and a European Research Council Award. He runs a large and happy group of creative, enthusiastic people.

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Thanks! I am delighted.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? UCL! Or to be a little more precise after studying Biochemistry at the University of Bath I worked on the neurobiology of inhibitory ion channels as a PhD student and postdoc at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology with Stephen Moss. Following on from this I trained with David Attwell as a Wellcome Training Fellow in the Physiology Department. I stayed at UCL to start my lab with Career Development funding from the MRC and I am currently an MRC Senior Non-clinical Fellow.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The first few years when I started my lab were very hard work but also a lot of fun and it was a great feeling when the first few pieces of work from the lab came to fruition and then were finally accepted for publication. It’s also great when a lab member gets a cool and exciting new result.

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The freedom to think up and then test out new ideas and the opportunity to interact with very clever, energetic and enthusiastic young researchers in my lab is truly a privilege and a major motivator.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD?

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS?

Aim high for your PhD. This will put you in a strong position to go on and get a great postdoc. But realistically to achieve that, you need to be creative, rigorous and really (really) hard working. Being smart and lucky also helps! A successful PhD and importantly a great paper (or two) will be a passport to independent fellowship funding and open the door to the best labs in the world. Moving to a postdoctoral position is also a fabulous opportunity to learn something completely new, expand your scientific horizons and experience life and research in another country.

When I can find the time there are lots of great markets to check out in London (and museums too!). But it’s also great to escape the city and I love to travel and explore new and exciting countries and places. I particularly enjoy exploring the National Parks and deserts in the USA (which alas I get to visit only once every few years).

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? The freedom to think up and then test out new ideas and the opportunity to interact with very clever, energetic and enthusiastic young researchers in my lab is truly a privilege and a major motivator. Seeing the PhD students that trained with me going on to do great things in their future careers is also very rewarding and motivating.

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DIMITRI KULLMANN PROFESSOR OF NEUROLOGY Institute of Neurology Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Dimitri’s approach to science and scientific enquiry is inspiring. His approach to science is often guided by his clinical background, and yet he demonstrates that drawing a line between “basic” and “clinical” research is an artifice, and that allowing the two to fuel each other in complementary ways can lead to great advances. Along with that, his continued intensive involvement in both research and clinical practice is admirable and inspiring. People joining the lab are awed by Dimitri’s technical expertise, knowledge and speed in identifying technical limitations of experiments. And yet with all this technical know-how, it is inspiring to see Dimitri asking whatever questions come to mind. This gives others the confidence to ask their own questions and engenders an environment of enquiry. In mentoring others, he balances his own scientific interests with an ability to enable junior researchers to develop their own research interests, and by so doing, novel directions of research emerge. His encouragement of junior researchers to pursue their own questions and independence has resulted in many going on to independent positions.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I am flattered and embarrassed!

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I flip-flopped for a long time between medicine and research and discovered that I would always be unhappy doing either or the other in isolation. I managed to find a balance that suits me but I took many risks with my career along the way.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? I am probably not alone in having found myself in what seemed like a blind alley a few times in my career. It’s important to have the confidence to admit when this has happened, cut your losses and start again in a new direction.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Remember that your PhD was the time when your focus was the narrowest it had ever been. You should now work to broadening your horizons. See where your methods can also be applied, find out what other methods might be around the corner, and make contact with people in neighbouring areas to see if you can contribute to solving their questions. A complete change of environment is a good thing.


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I am fortunate to be surrounded by talented people working on inter-related topics, and there is always an experiment generating exciting results happening on any day.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I am fortunate to be surrounded by talented people working on inter-related topics, and there is always an experiment generating exciting results happening on any day.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I think it’s important to step back and do something completely different. If nothing else it gives you an opportunity to ask yourself why you are working on a particular question. My clinical work achieves this to some extent, because most of it is quite unrelated to my research, but I am also unapologetic about taking holidays.

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CATHERINE LAW PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND EPIDEMIOLOGY Institute of Child Health Faculty of Population Health Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Catherine goes above and beyond what is required of a supportive line manager. She has employed individuals from a range of backgrounds and has always encouraged them to hone and strive to achieve, their short- and long- term career goals, no matter what they might be. She supports her staff to develop their broader academic interests, for example through sitting on committees or attending conferences, and actively endorses the value of a healthy work-life balance. Catherine has been extremely successful in her career, but is renowned for being friendly and approachable; she has acted as inspiration and a source of advice to many individuals from both within and outside the Department. She excels in communicating her research to a range of audiences in a clear and non-patronising manner, and encourages others to do the same. She works with the Department of Health and other policy makers at the interface of research and policy, and is committed to ensuring that research is informed by, and communicated to, interested parties through her involvement in organisations such as INVOLVE and the National Children’s Bureau. In summary, Catherine’s attitude, success and affability make her an inspiring role model. She is a motivating mentor to her staff and others, and is passionate about investing in the next generation of researchers.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I am honoured and also quite surprised. I have been able to do many interesting activities in my career and I hope that the people I work with feel encouraged to do this too. I am quite concerned that the pressure to publish, get grants etc, pushes aside time for really worthwhile, broader activities. But such activities are essential for personal development which in turn feeds into greater success in core academic outputs such as papers and successful funding applications. I am glad my endorsement of a healthy work-life balance is apparent to my colleagues as I am not always that good at self-enforcement. But I work better when I play better and I try to remember this. None of us are indispensable.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? Hard to define! I trained originally in paediatrics but became interested in public health and I have always liked numbers, so epidemiology was attractive. I haven’t had very conventional academic jobs but I have been lucky enough to be employed by organisations that value the many ways in which research can be carried out and used.


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In different ways I am trying to promote children’s health and to tackle social injustice. What greater motivation could I have when so much needs to be done?

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? A high was being Scientific Secretary of the ‘Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health’, chaired by Sir Donald Acheson (in 1997/8). It was the first time I felt able to make a significant contribution to public health and was very intensive work, but I loved it. I am still working with some of the people I met then. And then my first day at the Institute of Child Health, it was early September and I felt like I was starting a new school.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? In different ways I am trying to promote children’s health and to tackle social injustice. What greater motivation could I have when so much needs to be done?

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? Watch Southampton Football Club (well someone’s got to), garden and sail.

I haven’t really had any lows, I have been unbelievably lucky. The first time I chaired a committee in public (for NICE) was rather nerve-wracking, but it went ok.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? It will never be perfect, but if you do it well it will always be a source of pride to you. Also, enjoy your viva - it’s your chance to discuss what you have been working so hard on all this time - with people who are really interested in what you think.

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NILLI LAVIE PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY AND BRAIN SCIENCES Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Professor Lavie has worked for over 20 years in experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience, specializing in human visual attention, perception and psychophysics. Through the creation and development of her Load Theory of Selective Attention (Lavie, 1995), Nilli Lavie has made a seminal contribution to the scientific field. The theory provides a solution to the long standing problem of early vs. late selection in human information processing. As her PhD students and Post-Doctoral researchers, we can attest that she stands out among supervisors for her exceptional generosity with her time, not only giving a rare level of hands-on supervision for on-going projects, but also giving up considerable time to selflessly promote the careers of others. She also represents a particularly strong role model for young researchers by demonstrating that through a high level of efficiency it is possible to combine an outstandingly successful academic career with a healthy work/life balance. In short, Nilli Lavie’s exceptional contribution to science, coupled with her dedication to nurturing the potential of her students, makes her an outstanding candidate for the UCL academic role model initiative.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I am deeply delighted that my students, postdocs and colleagues have nominated me. While I am flattered by all the nice comments made I am particularly happy to see that my group of young researchers have felt well cared for and assessed me as “a particularly strong role model for young researchers by demonstrating that through a high level of efficiency it is possible to combine an outstandingly successful academic career with a healthy work/life balance.” I believe that showing that it is possible to accomplish academic goals while also maintaining a good life style is the key to true success.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I obtained my first degrees in Psychology and Philosophy at Tel Aviv University, where I also conducted my PhD in Cognitive Psychology. I came up with “Load Theory” during my PhD (Following my advisor’s suggestion that I should come up with whole new theory for my PhD). I conducted my postdoc research as an independent research fellow (funded by the Miller Institute for Basic Sciences) in Anne Treisman’s lab at UC Berkeley. I then joined the MRC Applied Psychology Unit at Cambridge as a junior scientist and 2 years later took my first lectureship position at UCL, where I stayed ever since.


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Overall my advice is that if you want a job that will never cease to stimulate you then a career in science is the way to go.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The first high of my career was looking at the dataset from my first experimental test of Load Theory and seeing that the data supported my prediction! The most recent high was while reuniting with former PhD students and postdocs of mine from different “lab generations” (many of whom are now in senior academic position) during a celebratory symposium associated with my receipt of the mid-career award from the Experimental Psychology Society, UK. In between the first and most recent highs I have had many other highs. These were either associated with specific scientific achievements (e.g. a good new idea, nice new result, new collaboration, convincing Toyota HQ that our work on load should be taken into consideration in the design of future cars) or with career progression of my lab members (e.g. whenever a lab member secures a good academic position). As for lows, I had a few during my PhD (because my supervisor was not convinced by my theory) but once I received my PhD, apart from rejection of some damn good grant proposals, I cannot recall any others! On the whole I feel that a major bonus of a scientific career is that it keeps on getting better and better.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? I believe that if you have the knack for it (and finishing off a PhD here at UCL is a good indication that you do!) science is the best career to go for. This is because while in many careers your job remains the same and therefore one faces the risk of getting stagnant, in science you are always going forward

pursuing novel interesting questions and you never stop learning. Moreover a career in science has a healthy mix of reading, thinking and being creative, together with working collaboratively with other people, advising, managing and supervising. Overall my advice is that if you want a job that will never cease to stimulate you then a career in science is the way to go.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? The fact that there is always interesting new ideas, questions and challenges at various levels: from theoretical concepts to designing experiments and interpreting new data; and in a range of topics: from basic science to applied directions and conveying the implications of the research to the media means I never have to worry about keeping motivated.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? When I am not working as a scientist, I fulfil my other careers as a mother (for two lovely boys) and as a woman (e.g. keeping up with fashion, fitness and good girly gossip!). I also enjoy keeping up to date with indie-rock music (I am a “confirmed XFM listener”- you may need to listen to this station to get what I mean) and any new cool gadgets (some friends call me techno-chick). One of my former students sent me a card, which quotes: “Successful women can still have their feet on the ground they just wear better shoes”. I have adopted this as one of my personal mottos.

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MARILENA LOIZIDOU SENIOR LECTURER Division of Surgery & Interventional Sciences Faculty of Medical Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION I have known Marilena for many years and have witnessed her professional attitude when chairing many teaching committees, where she always demonstrates a positive attitude to junior staff. She is the lead for several UCL based BSc/MSc courses, where she lectures on surgical oncology and nanotechnology. Marilena also has an active research team investigating the role of endothelins in colorectal cancers and has developed a national and international research reputation. These activities give her a balanced outlook on academia, which will allow her to give measured guidance from a secure academic foundation. WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I was pleasantly surprised, since I did not expect this. UCL has amazing academics and teachers who are world class. Being nominated is an honour.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? Rather unconventional: I was born in Cyprus, went to university in Canada (Biochemistry) and returned to the UK to undertake graduate studies. I studied for a Masters in Pharmacology in Southampton; and then worked full time as a clinical biochemist, while doing my PhD part time. My head of Department (Surgery) was headhunted to come to UCL and offered his

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group positions here. I had always been involved in both teaching and research and I find the combination enriching. At UCL I have created/helped create new courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level (iBS’s in Tumour Biology, Surgical Science; MSc’s in Surgical Science, Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine, Evidence Based Healthcare; distance learning); throughout I have been research active in the field of solid tumour pharmacology and now head the Cancer Nanotechnology group in the Division.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Highs: Like other colleagues, when a grant awarding body says “yes” (not often enough!). Prizes awarded by peer review and assessment, either personal or to students, are recognition that our activities are worthwhile and relevant. I was awarded the Excellence in Medical Education award (2010) as part of the team that created the innovative iBSc in Surgical Science. Another high came from the MSc in Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine being cited in Nature (careers and recruitment, 2009) as an innovative course. Finally, it is always rewarding when my students (and myself when a student in the distant past) are awarded prizes for research presentations at international conferences. Lows: Like other colleagues, when a grant awarding body says “no”.


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I get a huge buzz from doing translational research that has real potential for clinical applications; finding out whether an off-the-wall experiment worked; getting unexpected, exciting results that offer new possibilities; and in meetings when discussing how to take research forward, when it all comes together the group energy is amazing.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD?

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS?

Well done! You have a degree that is a truly personal achievement and declares you a high level problem solver and trouble shooter. Do at least one postdoctoral job that will really embed your skills and independence. Try to get a job in an area that really interests you and with a lab that has a vibrant atmosphere. Then decide whether you want to stay in academia – only do this if you are really committed to the discipline. Otherwise, the world is your oyster: there are interesting jobs in industry, banks, law, schools, media, and the city.

I am a council member for the Society of Academic and Research Surgery and I am very interested in the intercalation of clinical training with a graduate degree. I have “served time” on various parents’ committees at schools. I find it interesting to be involved in education at this level and I hope my contributions are helpful, whether I discuss educational objectives and transferable skills, or I sell cakes. I am quite passionate about dissemination of science to the public and have lectured at open university and schools – talking to five year olds on “genes for jeans” day involved different coloured strings tied together to represent different genes in the DNA and was unforgettable! What I find quite challenging is lecturing in Greek, to public groups, on scientific matters (like the causes of various cancers). Although this is my first language, all my training (from my undergraduate studies onwards) has been in English; translation can be demanding, not only just the specific terms but also for “placing in context”. I am not very good at keeping life-work balance and I do not know many people who are! I try to set aside blocks of time where family life is a priority –for example, a couple of evenings per week and part of the weekend, when I spend time with my husband and teenage son.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I am lucky to have a job that I find so very interesting and I am privileged to work with some amazing colleagues and first class students. I get a huge buzz from doing translational research that has real potential for clinical applications; finding out whether an off-the-wall experiment worked; getting unexpected, exciting results that offer new possibilities; and in meetings when discussing how to take research forward, when it all comes together the group energy is amazing. During teaching, those golden moments during one of my lectures when I look into students’ eyes and I know they “get” it (but then, UCL students are great); and watching/enabling students and junior colleagues to progress in their own careers. And when there are problems, plain mulish stubbornness drives me, because “things have to work”.

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NEIL MARLOW PROFESSOR OF NEONATAL MEDICINE Institute for Women's Health Faculty of Population Health Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION During my 16 years career so far I have worked both in academia and the healthcare service. I can reasonably claim to have rubbed shoulders with many high ranking people who held very responsible jobs in addition to pursuing busy research careers. Yet I cannot say I have met any who could carry this professional ‘burden’ with as much graciousness as Professor Neil Marlow does. I think he is inspirational at many levels as a line manager, a research leader, a colleague, and a person. I have witnessed first-hand how he can catalyse other researchers and engage their minds, harnessing the very best that each can offer in their own specialty. Equally he is able to command great loyalty from his staff at all levels and he, in turn, never fails to acknowledge someone’s contribution to the work at hand no matter how small. He encourages staff to grow and prosper in their role, offering support and making time for their professional training. Despite the enormous demands on his time, he remains a very hands on leader who follows personally the developments in the projects he leads, delegating only when he is satisfied his standards will be met. Some people never need to assert their authority and I think Professor Marlow he is amongst these lucky few. This

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leaves plenty of room for the person within and his great sense of humour. He enjoys very close ties with his very supportive family; he has a great sense of aesthetics, a fine appreciation of nature through his love of photography, a passion for music, fine foods and travel amongst others, striking that wonderful balance between his professional and personal lives. Professor Marlow is inspirational because he shows us it can be done: one can reach professional excellence, be very family oriented and remain human and able to connect with, motivate and inspire others. WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I am really delighted to have been nominated – it is a really great honour and provides great confidence that will inspire me to continue in this vein.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? Following a conventional training in new-born medicine I was first a Senior Lecturer in Bristol where I ran the busy NICU alongside trying to develop a research portfolio. I moved to Nottingham to a personal chair in 1997 and continued this development working with national and local cohorts and encouraging NICU based research. I moved to UCL in 2008 to consolidate these activities and expand my horizons. I started as a student who was always ambiguous about clinical medicine and inspired by research and I have been lucky to find my niche. I was offered a research post without a job description as a trainee and


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Seeing many of the issues I have researched come into clinical practice is deeply motivating to do more. Keeping a group of young researchers focused is likewise highly motivating as one is responsible too for nurturing this family.

welcomed it with both hands. Since then I have developed an area of clinical research that has always interested me and sought skills in disciplines not directly related to new-born medicine. I also encourage others to do the same and to work across different traditional boundaries – in psychology, imaging, and respiratory medicine – to name a few. This brings breadth to research and encourages collaboration.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? I suspect the greatest high was being awarded the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences as this indicated that my career had been taken seriously by my peers, rivalled by being asked to take up the chair here at UCL where I was inspired as a medical student. I am lucky to have had several ‘highs’ – particularly when the New England Journal of Medicine said yes to my first big original paper in 2000! My lows have related to a failure to inspire individuals in other disciplines to work with us in trying to solve the problems faced by ex-premature children as they grow up. Probably that I was unable to interest high flying individuals in broadening their horizons but over recent years this trend has been reversed leading to some really interesting collaborations and developments.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? I hope that these discussions start when they start their PhD but I would encourage everyone who has spent so much time working at research to consider carefully a research career, difficult though it may be,

as the long term rewards are really worth having – in terms of personal satisfaction and sense of pride at being able to contribute to human knowledge. I think the pathway is often not made easy as the hard steps have to be taken when life is most difficult in terms of developing relationships or families but my advice is to look beyond that at what you can achieve. Big developments are now rare but important bricks can still be put into the wall of knowledge and most importantly if we set our mind to it we can make a difference in the world in which we work, no one can ask to do more.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Motivation comes from within, keeping your thirst for knowledge and interest in broadening your horizons. Many good researchers wander off into admin roles – something I have done but also have been careful not to let them dominate my career focus on research activity. Seeing many of the issues I have researched come into clinical practice is deeply motivating to do more. Keeping a group of young researchers focused is likewise highly motivating as one is responsible too for nurturing this family.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? One reason I moved to UCL was to be able to use more effectively the fantastic artistic environment in central London. I often make last minute bookings to concerts and plays which allow me to broaden my horizons. At home I am a member of the Ramblers Association and the RSPB – giving us many activities to really enjoy locally and further afield – even better if there is a good restaurant there too!

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EAMON MCCRORY READER, CLINICAL, EDUCATIONAL & HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY Division of Psychology & Language Sciences Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Eamon McCrory has so many different qualities as an academic role model. He is a fantastic teacher, who is able to present complex ideas in a clear way, helping the student to see the significance of his thoughts and to share in his expertise. As a researcher he has built up a group contributing to our understanding of the impact of maltreatment on brain development, translating his findings as a clinician in a way that can make a real difference to the welfare of vulnerable young people. He has also been responsible for the development of a suite of MSc programmes (four at the last count). As someone who has benefitted from his support, I can vouch for the way in which his clarity of thinking and organisational skills had made it possible to take on a big task whilst feeling extremely well held and supported. When needed Eamon can make tough decisions and is able to hold his own ground; but he also gives space to others to develop their own creativity and autonomy, and is extremely generous in the way he supports others. As an academic role model, Eamon not only has impressive individual skills, but also has the capacity to work with others and to bring the best out of those around him whether students or professional colleagues. He is a huge asset to UCL.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I feel humbled and honoured. Working life often feels like a complicated juggling act of clinical, teaching and research responsibilities, and it is all too easy to focus on those things that are going wrong or need fixing. This has been an opportunity to step back and appreciate that something must be going well!

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? As a child I had a love of biology, but as my education progressed I became increasingly fascinated by the links between mind and brain. The Natural Sciences Tripos at Cambridge allowed me to bring together biology, philosophy and psychology within an experimental framework. Rather fortuitously, this seemingly eclectic set of interests formed the ideal foundation for the newly emerging field of cognitive neuroscience in the mid-nineties. After graduating, I took up a research assistant post with Uta Frith and Cathy Price as part of an imaging project investigating cross-cultural differences in dyslexia. It was a dynamic and exciting time when the Functional Imaging Laboratory (FIL) and Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in Queen Square were just opening their doors. After this project, I stayed with Uta and Cathy who supervised my PhD; they were (and continue to be!) incredible role-models with an exceptional ability to inspire and challenge in equal measure. However, as I


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Don’t be driven simply by money or short term goals – their allure quickly fades. If you take on roles or pursue research that genuinely engages and challenges you, motivation will follow naturally.

reached the end of my PhD I was having doubts about pursuing an exclusively research-focused career and was increasingly drawn to the practical application of psychology. I was lucky to be accepted onto the Institute of Psychiatry doctoral training in Clinical Psychology, which only increased my curiosity about the root causes of mental health problems. My first jobs were working with adults using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and at the same time in the NSPCC with children who had experienced maltreatment. I couldn’t help but be struck about how early adversity can shape so much of our sense of selves and the world, and set seeds for later unhappiness into adulthood. And yet the real puzzle is that for some people, early adversity is a challenge that acts as a spur to later success. Why such different outcomes? The paucity of brain imaging research in this area was something I found to be an extraordinary gap in our attempts to address this question. In 2006 I returned to UCL to set up a new MSc in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology at UCL, in collaboration with Yale University. The timing could not have been more perfect, as Essi Viding had just started at UCL as a new lecturer. We had known each other years previously at the ICN when I was doing my PhD. I didn’t have an office at UCL and would camp out at her spare desk. In a matter of months (after many cups of coffee) we hatched grand plans for the future, and eventually the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit was born – even though at that moment in time, we were it! Since then we have built a dynamic team of post-docs, research support staff and students; it feels like an extraordinary luxury to doing something you feel passionate about.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? I now oversee four UCL MSc programmes and several diplomas, all focused on child development. It has been very satisfying to be involved in conceiving two of these from scratch with a group of talented and experienced colleagues at UCL, Yale and at the Anna Freud Centre. Working with good people is what makes the difference in terms of job satisfaction. Securing my first grant to use brain imaging to investigate the impact of maltreatment was also a huge high – and crucial in realising my research goals. Lows? Two years after clinical training I had a mixture of childcare responsibilities and a busy part-time clinical job – that was a tough time. At that point my PhD peers were speeding ahead in their academic careers as were my university friends. After a decade of learning and training - on very little salary - I was beginning to question if I needed to completely rethink what I was doing and move into the commercial sector. It took patience and nerve to hold out. I managed over time to take on three posts that brought together my clinical, research and teaching skills. This was challenging, but Peter Fonagy our Head of Department provides huge opportunities to be creative if you wish to take them, and I am incredibly grateful for that.

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WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? For those students interested in pursuing clinical psychology after a PhD I would advise being realistic...and patient. Training programmes are heavily oversubscribed and you need to build up a diverse portfolio of clinical experiences – ideally you should be doing this during your doctorate. This is much easier said than done, as relevant experiences are difficult to secure. If you wish to develop skills in clinical practice and research, patience is essential – you will be studying and training for all of your twenties! But over the long term the reward is a stimulating and diverse career.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Don’t be driven simply by money or short term goals – their allure quickly fades. If you take on roles or pursue research that genuinely engages and challenges you, motivation will follow naturally. Do what you do to the best of your ability – you will be rewarded by the satisfaction of doing a good job. I also sit down and plan at the start of the year – make strategic goals. Review them and from time to time step back and keep the bigger picture in view.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? A busy life outside work is an essential ingredient to your career success. I enjoy going out in London every week – there is so much to discover, fantastic restaurants, theatre and opera. Funny what you begin to enjoy as you get older! Also, I could not live without the gym – a great way to de-stress.

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NEIL MILLAR PROFESSOR OF MOLECULAR PHARMACOLOGY Division of Biosciences Faculty of Life Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Neil has the ability to keep a team motivated. He is supportive but has the appropriate distance to encourage yet not encroach on members of his team’s work. He manages to keep up with the recent scientific literature. He's knowledgeable and has creative ideas for how to take projects forward. He has good leadership skills and a ‘common sense approach’ to work. Throughout my time of working with him he has had a strong work ethic but has also maintained time for his family and social interests. Neil is a good role model; he works hard and is a confident speaker at conferences and when giving lectures, where his enthusiasm shines through. He gets the job done quietly and confidently.

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WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I’m flattered (and rather surprised).

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? After a BSc in biochemistry and a PhD in molecular virology, I became interested in neuroscience. This interest led to postdoctoral research positions at Yale University and then Cambridge University, after which I was appointed to an independent position at UCL in 1993, as a Wellcome Senior Research Fellow. Over the years at UCL I was promoted to Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and, in 2007, I was appointed as Professor of Molecular Pharmacology. More recently, I have taken on various roles at UCL. I’m currently ViceDean in the Faculty of Life Sciences and Acting Director of the Division of Biosciences.


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I can think of very few careers that I would have enjoyed more than that of an academic scientist.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The more transient highs and lows have tended to be associated with funding decisions relating to research grant applications and editorial decisions on papers submitted to scientific journals. The longerlasting highs relate to the excitement that is associated with novel research discoveries and the friendships that have developed through working on various research projects.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Scientific research is driven by curiosity and I’m still curious.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I enjoy listening to music - frequently Bob Dylan (but, this week, mainly Wilko Johnson).

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? I can think of very few careers that I would have enjoyed more than that of an academic scientist. However, I would be cautious in advising a PhD student about career choices, other than to encourage them to consider all of the many options that they still have before them. There is a tendency amongst some university academics to see an academic career as being the only honourable and true path for a PhD student, but this is nonsense. However, if a PhD student has enjoyed doing research, I would certainly encourage them to consider a postdoctoral research position (perhaps in a different scientific field and, perhaps, in another country) before making longerterm career decisions. Who knows what the future may bring but hopefully it will be enjoyable.

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HUGH MONTGOMERY CHAIR OF INTENSIVE CARE MEDICINE Division of Medicine Faculty of Medical Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Hugh Montgomery is an inspiring figure. A polymath with a wide range of interests outside medicine, such as quantum physics, scuba diving and archaeology, notwithstanding his writing of novels and films. Despite this, and his significant academic achievements in the fields of cardiovascular medicine, genetics, mitochondrial biology, intensive care, orthopaedics, hepatobiliary surgery and sports medicine, he remains genuinely curious, and a believer in the best in people. His bedside rapport with patients and staff is real and warm, and is seen in his interactions at all levels, he’d treat a porter, a student, a nurse or a colleague with the same respect and courtesy, even in disagreement. Despite the fact that his optimism and willingness to help has caused him occasional difficulty, he has continued unfazed, this being his outlook on life.

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Hugh has been unusual in his openness in discussing the bad decisions he has made, his mistakes and regrets, allowing his fellows much insight into academia, and acting as a mentor. He accepts that his path is not everyone’s, and seeks to help people along their own path. Finally it is unusual to have a prolonged conversation with him without the subject of children (either his own or his fellows’). Family plays a large part in his decision making and he regrets that they don’t play enough. He works on ensuring his juniors lead a more balanced life, the most frequent complaint from the fellows’ partners is that work seems to be too much fun.


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Finally, good data are hugely motivating, as is the wish to communicate them. I still find a new insight hugely exciting, and can't wait to tell everyone.

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I’m seriously flattered, and somewhat surprised. I’m sure that most responsible adults would rather their children follow the safe, secure and well-trodden path. Suggesting that I should be a role-model is tantamount to proposing a similar role for the Sex Pistols to an aspiring virtuoso.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I never really managed to stick to a ‘path’. I was extraordinarily lucky in meeting inspirational people along the way, whose enthusiasm infected. I loved physiology and was ‘told’ by the then professor of physiology (Eric Neale) that I was doing a degree with him. It wasn’t an invitation. It was he who forced me to question, and opened my eyes to the fact that much (if not most!), still wasn’t known in any field. I did my house jobs and SHO years, thinking that I was to be a cardiologist. However, time at the Hammersmith opened my eyes to Intensive Care, and Chris Haslett took me aside and offered advice. I think he could see that I’d make a useless clinician if based in outpatients, and he guided me to think about an ICU career. I then decided to go to Africa. I was strongly advised that this would be the end of my career in medicine: it was a sign of 'lack of commitment'. Evident nonsense. However, I DID get excellent advice: to try to find a post to which to return. I met with John Camm at St George's, and explained that his was the only

cardiology rotation I wanted... and flew back for the interview. I was successful. The time in South Africa was just wonderful, however. I very strongly believe that others should be allowed and indeed encouraged to work abroad in this way. An 18 month spell as a general medical Registrar followed and boy was that fun! I just loved being in casualty, and working with a team. Then a year in cardiology, before a spell of research with Jean McEwan at UCL. At the time, I viewed this as a rite of passage, a necessary interlude to progress my career. But Jean encouraged and, with Derek Yellon (in whose lab I was placed) allowed me the space to 'plough my own furrow'. This is so very important, in my view. I had some ‘genetic’ ideas, and Steve Humphries took me under his wing, supporting my academic career. Others did likewise: Monty Mythen funded me when I failed to obtain grant funding, and successive professors and Deans did likewise. My path was stormy, and others were probably as traumatised as I was. I needed to accredit in cardiology… but also to train in ICU… as well as general medicine. There was no structure for that at all... let alone for supporting a developing academic career. But there WAS support from scientists and from clinicians, many who backed me when their lives would have been far easier had they not. Reading what I have just written, it becomes clear to me that I owe everything to people who have picked me up along the way, without ever being asked to do so.

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WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS?

Highs? Oddly enough, they have all been the ‘eureka’ moments. The time when you suddenly and instinctively understand something which no-one has understood before. Fortunately, surrounded by bright enthusiasts, these moments haven’t yet dried up.

I am fortunate in that I find it hard to distinguish work from play (with the sole exception of administration which I am shockingly bad at, and loathe. Thank heavens for the saints in the Department of Medicine, and Research and Development, who have been prepared to put up with me!)

Lows? Facing unemployment comes pretty high on the list: the ‘big grant’ failed on the day before my first son was born. Bad timing. But then you find out who your mates are, as they step up to the mark and look after you.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Just do it! It’s like cabbage as a child: eat it first, and the cake follows. Then, recognise the opportunity you have. You’ve got your driving licence. Now the open road is yours. You should fill your car with passengers you like, and go exploring!

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? The first rule is to avoid negative people. Their misery infects like plague. The second is to surround oneself with capable enthusiasts who question and are open for finding that all they once thought true is wrong. In general, I also like the sociable. The most important work at conferences is over breakfast, in the coffee shop, or in the bar. There’s a reason for that. Finally, good data are hugely motivating, as is the wish to communicate them. I still find a new insight hugely exciting, and can’t wait to tell everyone.

SLMS Academic Role Models

I am passionate about environmental degradation and its impact on people. Luckily, UCL actively supports cross-disciplinary work, and I do much of this in my ‘spare hours’. I did become concerned that all I did was work, so earlier this year I booked into two evening courses. The first was on Particle Physics. The second was on close magic. I’m now torturing a guitar, and researching my fifth novel, a thriller this time. My wife has a new job in Birmingham, so I now work in London during the week and commute up ‘home’ at weekends. I thus do no work (unless on call) at weekends, which are spent (with huge joy) with my utterly fabulous children and (as you’ll have guessed, very tolerant) wife!


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ANTONELLA RICCIO READER IN MOLECULAR NEUROBIOLOGY MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology Faculty of Life Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Antonella is a world-leading authority and researcher working at the cutting edge of molecular neurobiology and epigenetics. She provides an excellent academic role model through her dedication to science, her ambition, and her desire to take on ambitious and important research problems. She sets very high standards for herself and her colleagues, and through this provides excellent training and mentorship that generate rewards through high profile publications, success in grant applications, and invitations to leading meetings. This combination of being driven scientifically together with a remarkable technical ability has enabled Antonella to attract a group of young, very smart and energetic researchers that together generate an exciting environment in which to work. Colleagues at UCL, and increasingly on national and international stages, hold the work of her laboratory in high regard. Antonella achieves this as a woman and mother in science. She is an excellent example of how it is possible for women to have ambitious and successful research careers, while also having a fully committed family life.

SLMS Academic Role Models

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I was honoured that my colleagues nominated me. I love science and I find it extremely rewarding that my experience in academia may encourage others to follow this career path.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I started Medical School at Catholic University in Rome when I was still very young and idealistic, just to realise that I had no particular inclination for clinical work. Luckily for me, I met early on Professor Giorgio Macchi, an extraordinary neurologist who encouraged me to follow my passion for neuroscience. However, I had no patience for the Byzantine ways of Italian academia and after obtaining my medical degree, I decided to complete my graduate training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA in the laboratory of Professor David Ginty. I was in Baltimore for eight years and enjoyed my time there immensely. In 2005, I moved to UCL to the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology and I have been here since then.


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Learning new things in any form or shape is my true passion, and what motivates most of my everyday choices.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD?

Joining the Department of Neuroscience at Hopkins was a life-changing experience. I remember the first day in the lab, feeling extraordinarily excited and at the same time quite overwhelmed by the sheer range of opportunities that the place was about to offer me. Starting my lab was also a wonderful experience, as I always enjoyed supervising junior colleagues. I love when a student or a postdoc comes up with their first truly creative experiment, it is like a child learning to walk and hopefully, getting ready to run. And the recognition of your peers of course, a paper or a grant application that receives great reviews, a talk at a meeting that goes particularly well.

To follow their instinct without worrying about the competition and the difficulties related to becoming a scientist. There are lot of opportunities for brilliant and motivated young people in science and more specifically, in academia.

There are also lows obviously. Sometime great projects turn out to be, well, not that great and I always feel responsible for not providing the people in my lab with the best possible chance to succeed. It is still difficult for women to be assertive and truly ambitious in science. Often research goals that are considered positively challenging for a man, suddenly become “too ambitious” for a woman. I always joke that the best reviews that I ever received were the ones where the reviewers referred to me as a “he” because they were unaware of my gender (and actually, it is not a joke).

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I do not do much really but sometimes a break from the lab helps. I left Italy many years ago and although I have been happy in the USA and here, sometimes I need to immerse myself in the sheer beauty of my native country.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I spend time with my family of course. I have a 6 year old daughter and my husband is a scientist as well, so we both try very hard to get a good balance between home and work. I love indie rock and punk music, and I try to go to as many gigs as I can. I like listening to new bands and for this, there is no better place than London. I have a very busy life and travel frequently both for work and pleasure, but I don’t go anywhere without a book. Learning new things in any form or shape is my true passion, and what motivates most of my everyday choices.

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MIKE ROWSON SENIOR TEACHING FELLOW Institute for Global Health Faculty of Population Health Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Mike Rowson is an excellent role model for those interested in pursuing a career in teaching. He has a real passion for addressing global health issues and improving pedagogy, which he has achieved in his role as Senior Teaching Fellow responsible for the strategic development of the Institute for Global Health’s education activities. He led the successful redevelopment of UCL’s MSc in Global Health & Development to offer an innovative curriculum with multi-disciplinary teaching from several UCL faculties, leading to a significant increase in student numbers. In addition Mike has helped to expand one of UCL’s most popular intercalated BScs (Global Health), and has a strong commitment to increasing global health teaching to medical students.

SLMS Academic Role Models

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Delighted! It’s really nice to feel appreciated by other colleagues – but I’m lucky to work with a number of good people who just as much deserve nomination.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I worked in the NGO sector for 10 years, and ended up running a small health charity called Medact which undertakes education and lobbying on global health issues. Part of my role there was to engage medical students with a global agenda, and I worked with Professor John Yudkin at UCL who was setting up the UK’s first BSc in Global Health, and helped teach on the degree. I came to work full-time at UCL in 2007 when, with Professors Anthony Costello and Therese Hesketh, we expanded the global health courses here.


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I’m lucky to be involved in an area where the complexity and politics keep me constantly engaged and motivated. And, although it sounds cheesy, I’m motivated by the continual discussions I have with students. It’s a great privilege to teach them.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? I have been quite astonished with how interested medical students are in global health. There are global health student groups in 28 UK medical schools and a number of other BScs. Hundreds attend student conferences on global health. I’m proud to be a patron of the national student organisation, Medsin, which has made this growth possible. I’m also very interested, as a non-health professional, in seeing larger numbers of people with a greater diversity of disciplinary backgrounds active in the global health field. I think the popularity of our MSc Global Health and Development shows the importance of taking a broad-based approach to global health. As someone formerly active in trying to influence policy, I became very concerned that a biomedical approach and training does not help policy development in this field, because global health is about so many things than ‘better medicine’.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I’m lucky to be involved in an area where the complexity and politics keep me constantly engaged and motivated. And, although it sounds cheesy, I’m motivated by the continual discussions I have with students. It’s a great privilege to teach them. And from another professional perspective I enjoy the strategic and planning aspects to my job.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I’m a general culture-vulture, so you’ll catch me reading books and looking at paintings and, more rarely these days, playing the piano.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? I have avoided doing a PhD. I think academia could benefit from giving more flexibility and recognition to people who don’t have standard (research) qualifications. We have things to add which should be equally valued by the university. In the final analysis a team of different, but equal, skills is needed to produce good outcomes for students.

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CHRISTIANA RUHRBERG PROFESSOR OF NEURONAL AND VASCULAR DEVELOPMENT Institute of Ophthalmology Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Christiana Ruhrberg is Professor of Neuronal and Vascular Development in the Institute of Ophthalmology. She is an outstanding scientist who studies the molecules which control blood vessel growth and how blood vessels form without disrupting the other cells in the tissue they are growing into. She has pioneered the use of genetic techniques to study these issues, and attained recognition from an early stage with the award of the British Society for Cell Biology Prize for Young Cell Biologist of the Year (1996), the Werner-Risau Prize for outstanding contributions to endothelial cell biology from the German Society for Cell Biology (2003), a Career Development Award from the MRC (2007) and most recently a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award (2011). WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I feel very honoured to be deemed worthy of this nomination. At first I was unaware of the reasons for my nomination and wondered why, in a place as packed with eminent scientists as UCL, I was considered. After my initial surprise, I learnt of the reasons why I was nominated. This prompted me to reflect on my gratitude for past and present mentors as well as the colleagues who supported me throughout my career. I hope that I can support others in a similar fashion.

SLMS Academic Role Models

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? After two short lab experiences, my research career took off when I joined Fiona Watt’s lab at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), now known as the London Research Institute of Cancer Research UK. Fiona gave me the freedom to explore a new line of investigation in her team, allowing me to work independently towards my PhD. She was a superb mentor, teaching me a critical approach to data analysis that was combined with great enthusiasm for every new finding we made. After obtaining my PhD, I trained in Robb Krumlauf’s lab at the National Institute for Medical Research, where I acquired the developmental biology expertise that I have used since on a daily basis. Similar to Fiona, Robb gave his trainees plenty of freedom to pursue their own research, but at the same time provided inspiration and invaluable advice on how to achieve a successful research career. When Robb left the UK for the US to head The Stowers Institute, I re-joined ICRF to apply my developmental neurobiology expertise to study blood vessel growth in the newly established laboratory of David Shima. This research seeded my current research focus, underpinned by a generous endowment when David also moved to the US – I inherited the lab’s knockout mouse colony. Funded by an MRC Career Development Award and supported by John Greenwood at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, I started up my own research team in SLMS in 2003. Since then, I have been promoted to Lecturer and then Reader, and I am now a Professor at the Institute, where I very much enjoy being part of a flourishing multi-disciplinary research community that has close ties to clinicians at Moorefield’s Eye Hospital.


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I enjoy having a stimulating and ever-changing job that strives to advance scientific knowledge and benefit human healthcare.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD?

The low point of my career was at the beginning. Having had several inspiring and motivating teachers at secondary school, some of my University supervisors made a career in science appear a difficult challenge. For example, I failed to get support from a course tutor for a scholarship at University – he argued that investing time and money in women is ultimately wasted, as they will have babies and therefore give up their science careers. In the first two lab environments after graduating, I experienced different facets of the same type of discriminatory attitude. However, these negative experiences turned out to be beneficial in the long run, as they endowed me with the resilience necessary to deal with the ups and downs of experimental enquiry and the ability to focus positively on the future. Fortunately, both sexes have worked hard together over the last 15 years to bring about real and positive change for British women in science, and I feel that the types of hurdles I had to overcome early in my career are rare in the UK nowadays. Thankfully, after a difficult start, I have since had many happy and rewarding experiences, such as seeing my students and postdocs forge successful careers for themselves. The greatest excitement, however, has always been to understand an important new detail of a biological process for the first time, and the realisation that, on occasion, such a discovery may turn out to be direction setting.

I recommend that students approaching the end of their PhD training should seriously consider changing field to broaden their research expertise and knowledge base. Such change will reap benefits at later career stages, when one has to identify a novel research niche that is likely to secure research funding.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I enjoy having a stimulating and ever-changing job that strives to advance scientific knowledge and benefit human healthcare. On a daily level, I cherish sharing new ideas and planning experiments with students, postdocs and colleagues, and I particularly enjoy explaining to my children how their bodies work.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I spend as much time as possible with my family, but try to fit in some exercise, too. Swimming, cycling and the occasional (table) tennis match feature high on the list of our favourite activities, although I don’t excel at any of them! When things get too much, I escape to the local gym, watch a funny movie or escape into one of my son’s adventure books.

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SOPHIE SCOTT PROFESSOR OF COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE Division of Psychology & Language Sciences Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Sophie has been a leading authority on the neurobiology of human vocal communication for over a decade, publishing widely and holding major research awards. Amidst these personal accolades, she makes the career progression of her fellows her personal concern and goes to great lengths to ensure that they can achieve their goals. Sophie is truly passionate about sharing her expertise and ideas with as many people as possible, making numerous contributions to science programmes on radio and TV, maintaining a lively blog on current topics in speech neuroscience, and educating and entertaining 3,487 (at last count!) followers on Twitter. Accessibility is one of Sophie’s defining characteristics in the workplace – from the prospective student, to the artist interested in collaboration, or the inspired Twitter follower, Sophie will make time to meet and offer advice. She is a role model for scientists and nonscientists alike, and is an inspiration to women, not just for her remarkable academic achievements but also because she has maintained and enhanced her position as a world leader in cognitive neuroscience while caring for a young family. Above all, Sophie is a fantastic role model because her brilliance is not diminished by self-importance or loftiness. She is an excellent scientist, a sincere mentor and a wonderful ambassador for UCL.

SLMS Academic Role Models

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I am absolutely delighted. I am incredibly proud to be a Wellcome Fellow, and to be a Chair at UCL, and I’ve had the immense honour to work with fantastic postand pre-doctoral researchers. I am even more delighted to learn that I can have a positive influence on other people’s experience of science and working in research. Role models have been incredibly important to me in my career, both in general and specific ways. I really think that to have a diversity of potential role models is extremely important to researchers at many different stages in their careers.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? It took me a while to discover psychology, which I came across in the course of a biology degree. I changed onto a psychology degree, and then did a PhD in Cognitive Science at UCL. I know now that I was fortunate to be involved in both biological and computational approaches to investigating human behaviour, as these meet up in the area of cognitive neuroscience. I was a post-doctoral researcher at the MRC Applied Psychology Unit (now the MRC CBU) which combined an extraordinary fertile research environment with tremendous freedom to get involved in a range of research. I moved back to UCL after 5 years, to work with Professor Paul Burgess at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and I started applying for my own grants. I was awarded a Career Development Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust two years later, which enabled me to start my own research group, looking into the neurobiology of human vocal communication. I’ve been funded by the


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I find human vocal behaviour – from speech to song to laughter to beat boxing – absolutely fascinating and the techniques we have now mean that we can investigate their neural underpinnings in incredible detail. And there is always more to know!

Wellcome Trust since then, more recently as part of the Senior Fellowship scheme. Ten research fellows and seven PhD students and a Fulbright Scholar are or have been in my lab, in addition to MSc and BSc students.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Three tremendous highs involved getting my funding from the Wellcome Trust, and another was being promoted to chair in the week that my son was due to be born! I was also very pleased to be elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences this year. I like to get involved in public engagement work, and so another high was my very successful Summer Science Exhibition at the Royal Society in July 2012. The only real low was towards the end of my PhD, when I was finding it very difficult to get job interviews. However the outcome was excellent, as another high point was getting my first post-doc job at the MRC Applied Psychology Unit. Another high point was that my first published paper was in Nature, though I haven’t managed to repeat this especially quickly!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PHD? First, it’s really easy to get so focused on your PhD that you may not realise the wide range of skills you have developed over the course of your studies. Taking a wider perspective on your abilities will help you see what the next step should be, after your studies. Second, that first job after your PhD can be incredibly important, so take the process seriously. If in doubt about a position, don’t be afraid to ask someone (not necessarily your supervisor). Academia is not always

good at providing structured systems for mentoring people, so don’t be afraid to make your own – in my experience, colleagues are happy to give advice.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I genuinely think I have the best job in the world. I find human vocal behaviour – from speech to song to laughter to beat boxing – absolutely fascinating and the techniques we have now mean that we can investigate their neural underpinnings in incredible detail. And there is always more to know! I find writing theoretical papers is a great way of elaborating upon potential new research areas, and of finding a way of articulating my perspective on an area. Collaborations – both with fellow scientists and non-scientists (such as actors, theatre directors) - have also been extremely good sources of motivation, and I find a good collaborative relationship really can deliver work which reflects more than the sum of its parts. I also find public engagement work really motivating: it is very rewarding to find that people are interested in what you do, especially if you can find ways of showing them how science can help us understand issues in quite unexpected ways.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I love stand-up comedy, both watching it and performing it. UCL’s Public Engagement Unit runs Bright Club, where academics have the opportunity to present their work in a stand-up comedy format, and I can honestly say that doing stand-up comedy has been a revelation for me. I really enjoy writing and performing comedy sets, and I think it’s made my teaching and research talks better as well.

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ALEXANDER SEIFALIAN PROFESSOR OF NANOTECHNOLOGY & REGENERATIVE MEDICINE Division of Surgery & Interventional Science Faculty of Medical Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Professor Alex Seifalian is one of the most admirable academics I have ever come across. His revolutionary quest in tissue engineering of human organs with nanomaterials has not only inspired me and his current team to be successful academics but also many young students to pursue careers in academic or clinical research. I am constantly inspired and motivated by his enthusiasm and direction to establish excellence in all endeavours with great academic discipline, efficient team working skills and perseverance and I have taken him to be my role model as he sets a prime example of successful leadership where he executes innovative ideas in a multidisciplinary team, with hard work and indefatigable enthusiasm as well as being genuine and reliable. I am immensely grateful for the invaluable example he has set of himself and his passionate dedication to research and great consideration of his team. I am most certain for a fact, that my opinion of Professor Seifalian in the above aspects is also that of my colleagues, as well as the great number of previous and current students who were/are under his direction.

SLMS Academic Role Models

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Of course, I am ever so pleased and delighted to read the comments made by the nominees, who have been very generous, and hope I can keep up the momentum!

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? After my first degree, I wanted to do so many things from working in the field of nuclear physics to medicine as well as moving in to the financial sector. However, after spending time in number of universities in the UK, USA and Sweden, I settled down at UCL and built up my career in a multidisciplinary role to improve the outcome of human organ transplantation. This included scientific research and clinical applications surrounding the field of liver transplantation, which led me on to my current role in the development of organs using nanotechnology and stem cells. Currently, I head the centre of excellence in nanotechnology and regenerative medicine with a team of researchers, and one of the largest groups of postgraduate students at UCL, all working on research and development of human organs and cancer treatments using nanotechnology.


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The highest point of my career has been the successful implantation of human organs, developed in my laboratory for human use. They captured the world’s imagination as the first synthetic trachea, as well as tear ducts and coronary artery bypass grafts that were recognised with huge scientific and media interest.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The highest point of my career has been the successful implantation of human organs, developed in my laboratory for human use. They captured the world’s imagination as the first synthetic trachea, as well as tear ducts and coronary artery bypass grafts that were recognised with huge scientific and media interest. I do not think I ever had low points in my career, I am always positive and pushing forward; however, battles against administrative paper work and a heavy work load can sometimes make you feel low!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? UCL is a global university and anyone graduating from UCL should think globally, this is in terms of quality of research, as well as, collaborations with centres of excellence throughout the world. My advice to PhD students who are finishing their degree should be to look for postdoctoral positions, as well as, to collaborate globally with centres of excellence, or to select the best biotech companies to join. Most importantly is networking with people and one should take the opportunity to do so during conferences and via email or other media communications, as many students already collaborate throughout the world.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? My motivation comes from translational research performed in my laboratory, and in many cases to reach patients in the clinic through to commercialisation. This is usually achieved with a young and bright dynamic research team including students, who are working continuously to achieve the same goal as my own.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? Sport and music is fun and the most enjoyable pastime for me is walking in the countryside looking at nature, as well as the time I spend with my children at The Natural History Museum. I find nature amazing, and we could all learn so much by just looking at it in detail, i.e. the amazing colours of butterfly wings, which can change colour, and other insects, which use pungent odours or a change in body condition to protect themselves. I also love walking on Hampstead Heath, so Sunday is the time spent with my family walking, and I usually end up in a local pub afterwards for a drink (or two).

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GORDON STEWART PROFESSOR OF EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE Division of Medicine Faculty of Medical Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Professor Stewart has been a linchpin of the UCL MBPhD programme for a number of years and as such has the role of fostering the next generation of academic clinicians. He is a dedicated and inspirational teacher who combines interest both in the art of clinical diagnosis and the academic rigor of lab life. His often esoteric teaching style mixes humour, wit and insight in equal measure making him a unique asset within the UCL Medical School community.

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Suspicion: what do they want out of me this time?

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? After school in Edinburgh, I went to Sussex and studied Physics. After this I returned to Edinburgh and studied Medicine at the Medical School there. I liked general medicine and decided that I wanted to be a physician. In junior hospital jobs we found a family with unique and bizarre red blood cells: this family formed a starting point for a research career in red cells. I mixed training jobs at Hammersmith and St Marys with laboratory research at Cambridge and fetched up at UCL in 1987. A ‘little while’ later, UCL made me a Professor.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Highs: finding a new disease; cloning the gene for a novel protein; being involved in finding the genetic cause for a series of human diseases. Lows: getting scooped; those grant rejection letters.

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Keep a very good lab book. In your prayers at night, thank the Almighty for word processors.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Keep a very good lab book. In your prayers at night, thank the Almighty for word processors.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? It’s the ever-stimulating mix of clinical medicine, teaching and research. And lots and lots of tea.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I retreat to the shed where I make and mend things.

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SARAH TABRIZI PROFESSOR OF CLINICAL NEUROLOGY Institute of Neurology Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Sarah is an outstanding tutor and coach to PhD students, clinical fellows and colleagues. She impresses me, my peers and those who are working with her with her ability to motivate young scientists, to spark their interests to undertake research into disease mechanisms and understanding the importance of translational research. As a leader of her own research team, established during her fellowship, she published a series of outstanding articles on prion disease and on Huntington’s Disease (including senior-author papers in high impact journals such as Molecular Cell, Lancet Neurology (2009, 2011, 2012), Nature Communications, Journal of Experimental Medicine, and PNAS). Her research featured in a review article in The New England Journal of Medicine, scientific articles in The Economist, Lancet Neurology, and Scientific American, and widespread lay media coverage, underpinning research and clinical excellence at UCL Institute of Neurology. Impressed with her positive attitude to motivating her team, and to successfully mentor and guide the next generation of clinicians, scientists and health care professionals, I recommend her unconditionally and unreservedly for the nomination as a UCL role model.

SLMS Academic Role Models

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I am very honoured to be nominated. Looking after patients and at the same time trying to do research both in a lab, and also with patients themselves, in order to help find treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, is what has driven me forward. Seeing patients in clinic always reminds me about why we do what we do, and when things get tough and experiments don’t work (which is common) or research is proving tough, looking after patients helps me get a perspective. In addition, mentoring has been an extremely important part of my work. I am motivated by helping foster the future generations of young clinicians and researchers and I think my group represents that. I am also particularly keen on supporting women in research.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I did a degree in Biochemistry before medicine which fostered my interest in basic science, and it was clear to me that I wanted to combine research with being able to translate the research into patients, hence my undertaking medical training at Edinburgh University where I graduated in 1992. I always knew I wanted to combine clinical practice and research. I wanted to do neurology even as an undergraduate where neuroanatomy was my favourite preclinical subject. I was an SHO on the Hammersmith-Queen Square rotation, and as an SHO, I worked for Professors Anita Harding and David Marsden at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and they both made an enormous impression on me. Anita Harding was an early mentor of mine and she really had a huge


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The highs in research come when you get a breakthrough result, publish a great paper or when your hypothesis turns out to be validated by the data. Setting up and looking after patients in the multidisciplinary HD clinic has also been immensely rewarding and our clinical service has grown from seeing only a few patients to being one of the largest multidisciplinary clinics in the UK with a large team.

influence on me. Unfortunately, she died in 1995 and I was unable to complete my research programme with her, but I undertook an MRC Clinical Training Fellowship PhD between 1996-1999 at UCL with Anthony Schapira, studying mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegeneration. It was during my PhD that I became motivated by Huntington’s disease (HD). I met patients with advanced disease during my PhD and my clinical interest remained a guiding motivation. I also worked with Gillian Bates from KCL who had just made the first mouse model of HD and influenced me greatly at the time; we continue to work closely together now. Even before my medical training at Edinburgh University I knew I wanted to combine clinical practice and research and after training as a Consultant Neurologist, I embarked on a 5 year Clinical Scientist Fellowship to study cellular protein-misfolding in prion disease as a model of cellular neurodegenerative diseases, working with Charles Weissmann and John Collinge. This fellowship enabled me to set up my own lab and group and I was successful in getting a number of other grants. At this time in 2003, I also set up my research programme and multi-disciplinary clinical service in Huntington’s disease which is working hard to undertake both basic science and translational research, all working towards trying to find therapies for this disorder. I was promoted to Reader in 2007 and to Professor at UCL in 2009. My research now incorporates both basic science and studying patients with Huntington’s disease. While animal models have given us important insights, we must not lose sight of the fact that the Huntington’s disease is a human disease and a broad approach is

vital. I am interested in studying human biology from the bench to the clinic - from analysing ex vivo human cultured cells through to direct patient studies - to better understand brain dysfunction. I am hoping that with this combined approach, we can understand all facets of neurodegeneration in Huntington’s disease, with applicability to other protein misfolding diseases, in order to help treat these diseases early.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The highs in research come when you get a breakthrough result, publish a great paper or when your hypothesis turns out to be validated by the data. Setting up and looking after patients in the multidisciplinary HD clinic has also been immensely rewarding and our clinical service has grown from seeing only a few patients to being one of the largest multidisciplinary clinics in the UK with a large team. I think developing and fostering a large research and clinical team has been immensely rewarding. I encourage my team to think independently and develop their ideas into projects, and find that this fosters progress and good team work. Combining active clinical work with basic science and translational research can be very challenging. In academia, you are always planning or writing the next grant application, the next paper and the next experiment, and juggling that with looking after patients and managing clinical emergencies can be exhausting at times. Occasionally my life can feel like a struggle between these competing demands on my time, and getting the right balance is important.

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WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD?

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS?

I would say that this is a very exciting time, you should now have all the scientific grounding you need to move forward in science. The PhD is a training period that lets you think creatively, start thinking independently, answer a research question in a hypothesis-driven way and develop writing and communication skills. You need to capitalise on this and think carefully about your first post-doc post and group, and how it will help you move on the career trajectory you are focused on. I also think it is good to identify a mentor, if you can, who will advise you objectively and from whom you can ask advice.

In order to be able to do good science, and care for patients to the best of your ability, it is really important to have a work-life balance. It is important to take annual leave, have time when you don’t check your emails, and have a life outside work. It is an important part of my life, and family and friends are a big part of this. I am also an avid reader: my husband, Michael Nath is a writer and English Lit Academic and I am always being made to read the classics. Finally, I am a great advocate of regular exercise and am an enthusiastic and dedicated (if not particularly good) runner and I recently took up boxing, which I love!

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? I am motivated mainly by my drive to try and do research that will somehow contribute to our global efforts to effectively treat Huntington’s disease. This is a disease that affects young people with a mean age onset of 40, and ultimately we want to be able to treat people, many years before any symptom onset, to delay disease onset completely or into old age. I’m motivated by a desire to achieve that goal in my professional lifetime, alongside my collaborators across the world. When I see patients in clinic and witness the devastation that diseases like Huntington’s disease causes to families, I don’t need any more motivation. It’s genuinely humbling and it always gives me a perspective and keeps me motivated. I tend to be a pretty enthusiastic person so that helps! My favourite saying is from one of Churchill’s war speeches – ‘Never, never, never give up’ – I am pretty tenacious.

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ESSI VIDING PROFESSOR OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Division of Psychology & Language Sciences Faculty of Brain Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION I have known Essi for 14 years since she was a research assistant at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, a position she took up following her UCL degree. This was followed by a PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, KCL and then a return to UCL as a Lecturer in 2005. As a colleague over this period I have watched with incredible admiration how she has been able to develop and advance a flourishing research career alongside having two children. Essi is an outstanding role model for young women who can see that (rapid) academic success in the research field and family life are very possible to combine. Essi was made professor last year and I imagine that she must surely be one of the youngest female academics to be promoted to professor. She has established a unique position, nationally and internationally, in her work exploring antisocial behaviour and psychopathy. These are not stereotypically ‘female’ areas of research interest, and this makes her contribution all the more refreshing. She is committed to translating her work to benefit children and invests much effort in helping to shape policy where appropriate. Essi and I now co-direct a research lab together and I am continually impressed with the effort and dedication in helping to promote

SLMS Academic Role Models

new talent, in her supervision of PhD and Postdoctoral students. In this regard she has an impressive track record of her students progressing to excellent positions once they leave UCL. Essi is also actively involved in mentoring junior female faculty and was involved in the UCL Psychology’s previous Athena Swan submission and is also consulting the current submission.


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Keep working on topics you are passionate about, persist despite the inevitable rejections, and pick your future collaborators carefully.

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? I am delighted with the nomination. I hope the Academic Role Model scheme will encourage researchers who are starting out and give them useful pointers for their academic career. It will be particularly good to read about different career paths and for people to realise that there is no ‘standard’ way of doing things.

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I completed a BSc at UCL in 1998. I was not entirely sure whether I wanted to pursue a clinical or research career and in order to decide, worked as a research assistant for two years. This job was based at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience working with James Blair and Uta Frith. Unsurprisingly, given the inspiring research group I was lucky to work in, I got bitten with the research bug and went on to do an MRC funded 4-year interdisciplinary PhD (2000-2004) at the MRC Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King’s College London. My PhD work was supervised by Francesca Happe and Jonna Kuntsi and focused the heterogeneity of conduct problems using behavioural genetic and neurocognitive research methods - work that I am continuing to date. I followed my PhD training with a one-year ESRC post-doctoral fellowship under the supervision of Robert Plomin, after which I started as a lecturer at UCL Psychology and Language Sciences in 2005. I have been here since then and was promoted to a reader in 2008 and professor in 2011. I took six month breaks to have babies in 2007 and 2010 and although combining work and parenting is

an interesting juggle, it is much more easily done in academia than in many other professions. I have headed a research group with Dr. Eamon McCrory since 2006 and we have several talented PhD students, post docs and research assistants working with us.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Highs have definitely been exciting new research findings that have cropped up along the way. There have not been any particular lows, although it is clearly irritating and disappointing when papers or grants get rejected – an on-going career low for anyone in academia.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? Keep working on topics you are passionate about, persist despite the inevitable rejections, and pick your future collaborators carefully.

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? By working on research topics I am passionate about and collaborating with inspiring people.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? I hang out with my family, go for dinner with my friends, try to catch the odd concert and art exhibition, and go to the gym (occasionally).

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MARY WICKENDEN SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW Institute of Child Health Faculty of Population Health Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION Mary has worked tirelessly to develop the skills of students to disseminate and communicate their ideas and research, and is committed to bringing out the best in students. Her international experience of setting up speech therapy in Sri Lanka is inspiring to students, and her teaching experience in low income countries more generally makes her able to understand and empathise with students from overseas. She has kept the disability stream of research and teaching alive in our department when it was threatened by cuts and staff leaving. Her teaching methods are varied and engaging, and she ensures that students learn by doing. I have had the pleasure of working with her, and found her full of innovative ideas to develop our qualitative research methods module. In her free time she works for disability rights, managing a newsletter and organising symposia. Mary is an excellent role model for students and for other teaching professionals.

SLMS Academic Role Models

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? A generous description and thanks very much!

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? I started out working in the NHS as a speech and language therapist, and then became involved in cross cultural and international aspects of disability through working in India. I developed an interest in research and teaching while a clinician and hence moved into academia, initially to teach undergraduate and post grad SLTs. My particular specialisation was with young children with severe disabilities. I came to UCL to work on an innovative project in Sri Lanka where I lived for 3 years. Increasingly, I became interested in broader, less clinical aspects of the lives of disabled children and their families in developing countries. I therefore switched disciplines, doing an MSc and PhD in medical/social anthropology. This gave me a new and different set of skills and perspectives. My interests now are in social and cultural aspects of disability, doing participatory research with children and their families, relationships between disability and poverty and developing ways of evaluating community based rehabilitation. I enjoy both teaching students and doing action focused research. I am involved in a number of international research, advocacy and policy groups related to improving the lives of disabled people, mainly in low income countries.


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It’s particularly exciting to find new insights directly from disabled children and families which we could not have acquired if we had not done research directly with them in their own contexts.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD?

I am a people person, so have always enjoyed working directly with disabled children, teaching students and doing participatory research. These three aspects intersect and complement each other and adding a theoretical perspective is also interesting. I get a buzz out of seeing students’ skills develop and from learning things from disabled children themselves. It’s particularly exciting to find new insights directly from children and families which we could not have acquired if we had not done research directly with them in their own contexts. I guess the lows are the interminable fight that we have on our hands to get disability recognised as a legitimate and important area of study and concern. It is often overlooked as an area of research, paralleling the way that disabled people themselves are often excluded from mainstream activities! It would be great if a disability aspect could be included in all major health and wellbeing focused studies.

If the PhD seems like a mountain, then that’s because it’s just the start of a more interesting journey! It should open doors for the development of even more interesting projects, ideas and opportunities. Hang on in there!

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Be very proactive in making links with others who have related interests. Try to keep the highs and lows in proportion and have fun!

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? Lots of things, mostly outdoors and energetic such as cycling, camping, sailing, skiing etc. Good to get some oxygen to feed the overworked brain.

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KATHERINE WOOLF LECTURER IN MEDICAL EDUCATION UCL Medical School Faculty of Medical Sciences

REASON FOR NOMINATION I nominated Katherine Woolf because she is a true all-rounder who has a positive impact on all those she works with. She has the highest academic standards – with the potential to become one of UCL’s outstanding researchers of the future – and is an insightful, brilliant teacher who routinely receives excellent feedback. Katherine is one of the most supportive and encouraging academics in our department, she set up a Publish or Perish group with the express aim of encouraging and supporting the junior staff in their research endeavours. Furthermore, she is committed to equality and fairness in education and society in general and these values pervade her work. She is a pleasure to work with and I cannot think of a more inspiring role model.

SLMS Academic Role Models

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO BEING NOMINATED? Pleased and a bit embarrassed!

WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN? At school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study at university, and did an Art Foundation before applying for BSc in Psychology. Once I got there I knew I had made the right choice. I loved exploring humanity from a scientific perspective, and in my final year was lucky enough to work with a wonderful group of ‘savants’ with autism and blindness who despite being low on conventional measures of intelligence had amazing musical ability. After graduating in 2003, I continued on the savant project as a research assistant (RA) and spent the other half of the week working for an MP in Westminster. I soon realised I wanted to work in academia not politics and got an RA job at UCL Medical School. After a break of 6 weeks volunteering in an orphanage and school in rural India (where I got my first teaching experience) I started at the medical school in 2004, and have been there ever since, doing a PhD in medical education and psychology between 2005 and 2008, and taking up a Lectureship in the Department in 2009.


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The parts of my career I have enjoyed the most have been brainstorming with students and colleagues, analysing data and finding exciting results, and having the freedom to pursue interesting projects.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE HIGHS (AND THE LOWS?) OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? The parts of my career I have enjoyed the most have been brainstorming with students and colleagues, analysing data and finding exciting results, and having the freedom to pursue interesting projects. The least enjoyable bits have been receiving rejections from journals or funders, but I have learned to use useful feedback to come back with a stronger paper or proposal.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE FINISHING OFF THEIR PhD? You are nearly there - just keep writing! Get feedback on your drafts from colleagues in any academic field, and get them to ask you questions to prepare for your viva. If you have time, think about the future. Reflect on what you have and haven’t enjoyed about doing a PhD, and talk to as many varied people as possible to help you decide whether or not you really want a career in academia. It is not the only option. If you do want it, be ambitious - make opportunities talk to the people you want to work with as early as you can to find out about possible or upcoming post-docs. Finally, get your PhD professionally proof-read before submitting!

HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED? Talking to inspiring colleagues about interesting ideas, and hoping I will change the way people think or behave, whether it is through teaching, research or public engagement.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING IN SLMS? There is always an endless supply of work to do, so I try really hard to make sure I spend the weekends doing non-work things, even if it just going out for dinner or a bike ride with my partner, or having a cup of tea with my friends. Other things I like doing include going on holiday (I have just travelled across Asia by train), tinkering with our narrow boat which keeps breaking down, volunteering for the housing cooperative we live in, painting, and playing keyboards in a karaoke rock band called Someone Else’s Wedding.

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CONTACT DETAILS Role Model Dr Anita Berlin Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore Professor Ann Blandford Dr Petra Boynton Dr Alan Burns Dr Francesca Cacucci Professor David Colquhoun Professor Jane Dacre

Division /Institute

Faculty

Email Address

Institute of Epidemiology & Health

Faculty of Population Health Sciences

a.berlin@ucl.ac.uk

Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

Faculty of Brain Sciences

s.blakemore@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Engineering Sciences & Faculty of Brain Sciences

a.blandford@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Medical Sciences

p.boynton@ucl.ac.uk

Department of Computer Science & Division of Psychologyand Language Sciences UCL Medical School Institute of Child Health Division of Psychology & Language Sciences

Faculty of Population Health Sciences alan.burns@ucl.ac.uk Faculty of Brain Sciences

f.cacucci@ucl.ac.uk

Division of Biosciences

Faculty of Life Sciences

d.colquhoun@ucl.ac.uk

UCL Medical School

Faculty of Medical Sciences

j.dacre@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Julie Daniels

Institute of Ophthalmology

Faculty of Brain Sciences

j.daniels@ucl.ac.uk

Dr Anna David

Institute for Women's Health Division of Psychology & Language Sciences Division of Biosciences

Faculty of Population Health Sciences a.david@ucl.ac.uk Faculty of Brain Sciences Faculty of Life Sciences

david.gems@ucl.ac.uk

UCL Medical School

Faculty of Medical Sciences

deborah.gill@ucl.ac.uk

UCL Cancer Institute

Faculty of Medical Sciences

a.hackshaw@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Uta Frith Dr David Gems Dr Deborah Gill Professor Allan Hackshaw Professor Graham Hart

Dean of the Faculty of Population Health Sciences Mental Health Sciences Unit

u.frith@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Population Health Sciences g.hart@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Population Health Sciences a.hingorani@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Anne Johnson

Faculty of Population Health Sciences anne.johnson@ucl.ac.uk

Institute of Epidemiology & Health

Faculty of Brain Sciences

a.hassiotis@ucl.ac.uk

Dr Angela Hassiotis Professor Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences Aroon Hingorani Professor David Isenberg Division of Medicine

Faculty of Medical Sciences

d.isenberg@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Steve Jones

Division of Biosciences

Faculty of Life Sciences

j.s.jones@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Peng T Khaw

Institute of Ophthalmology

Faculty of Brain Sciences

p.khaw@ucl.ac.uk

Dr Josef Kittler

Division of Biosciences

Professor Dimitri Kullmann Institute of Neurology

Faculty of Life Sciences

j.kittler@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Brain Sciences

d.kullmann@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Catherine Law

Institute of Child Health

Faculty of Population Health Sciences catherine.law@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Nilli Lavie

Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Division of Surgery & Interventional Sciences Institute for Women's Health Division of Psychology & Language Sciences Division of Biosciences

Faculty of Brain Sciences

n.lavie@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Medical Sciences

m.loizidou@ucl.ac.uk

Division of Medicine

Dr Marilena Loizidou Professor Neil Marlow Dr Eamon McCrory Professor Neil Millar Professor Hugh Montgomery Dr Antonella Riccio Mr Mike Rowson Professor Christiana Ruhrberg

MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology Institute for Global Health Institute of Ophthalmology

Faculty of Population Health Sciences n.marlow@ucl.ac.uk Faculty of Brain Sciences

e.mccrory@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Life Sciences

n.millar@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Medical Sciences

h.montgomery@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Life Sciences

a.riccio@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Population Health Sciences m.rowson@ucl.ac.uk Faculty of Brain Sciences

c.ruhrberg@ucl.ac.uk

Division of Psychology & Language Sciences Professor Division of Surgery & Interventional Alexander M. Seifalian Science Professor Gordon Stewart Division of Medicine

Faculty of Brain Sciences

sophie.scott@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Medical Sciences

a.seifalian@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Medical Sciences

g.stewart@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Sarah Tabrizi

Faculty of Brain Sciences

s.tabrizi@ucl.ac.uk

Faculty of Brain Sciences

e.viding@ucl.ac.uk

Professor Sophie Scott

Professor Essi Viding

Institute of Neurology Division of Psychology &Language Sciences

Dr Mary Wickenden

Institute of Child Health

Dr Katherine Woolf

UCL Medical School

Faculty of Population Health Sciences Faculty of Medical Sciences

UCL Medical Illustration Services for further information please email us, or contact us on 020 7830 2359. To find out more our services visit at UCL Medical Illustration.

SLMS Academic Role Models

m.wickenden@ucl.ac.uk k.woolf@ucl.ac.uk


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SLMS

Academic Role Models

SLMS Academic Role Models  

Profiles of 40 UCL academics. The role models were selected from nominations made by their peers, with the single requirement that the nomin...