100 years since women were admitted as full members of the University of Oxford, women now hold vital posts at all levels of this institution.
The women of Medical Sciences come from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, from all over the world. We asked women in our department to reflect on their journeys, their place in Medical Sciences and their vision for the next 100 years.
Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences
Tell us a bit about your role
I lead a team of researchers who work with companies aiming to develop new tests for community healthcare settings. We have worked on developing novel community based testing and monitoring strategies for common conditions including dementia, urine infections, kidney monitoring in heart failure and home health checks for people with severe mental health amongst many more.
I also lead and collaborate on clinical trials of new approaches to diagnose and treat infections in primary care. This is crucial to help avoid inappropriate use of antibiotics, which promotes antimicrobial resistance. Recently I helped to design and run the PRINCIPLE evaluating the effectiveness of treatments for COVID-19 in patients in the community.
Having initially studied physiology and psychology at Oxford and completed a PhD in Neuroscience focussing on depression, I went on to study Graduate Entry Medicine determined to pursue a career as a clinical academic. I started working with the primary care department in my first year as a junior doctor, on an Academic Foundation programme, and enjoyed my time so much that I chose an academic General Practice training pathway. I subsequently was awarded an Academic Clinical Fellowship and an Academic Clinical Lectureship in the department.
The teams I lead work across a wide variety of medical sciences departments, with particularly close links with the Modernising Medical Microbiology team, the Health Economics Research Centre and the methodology teams in the Oxford and Thames Valley NIHR ARC. We also collaborate more widely with the University and Oxford University innovation to support development on early phase technologies which could become novel diagnostics, and with clinical teams across OUH and Oxford Health NHS trusts.
WHAT IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL ASPECT OF YOUR WORK?
By working both as a GP and a researcher I can develop questions which are directly relevant to the patients I care for, and see that the findings of my studies have an impact on management of patients in primary care. This ability to both generate and answer questions in my patient population is very rewarding.
AN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOMETHING YOU'VE DONE, CONTRIBUTED TO THAT YOU'RE MOST PROUD OF?
I am proud to have led the establishment of a national platform for evaluation of COVID-19 diagnostics in spring of this year. This created the first direct collaboration between teams focussing on diagnostics from 6 universities, and has already supported key government policy initiatives with crucial evidence. Doing this while heavily pregnant was an additional challenge!
wHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SEE IN THE mEDICAL sCIENCES IN THE NEXT 100 YEARS?
I’m really proud to part of the Medical sciences division and of all the recent and historic achievements it can lay claim to. In the future I would like to see greater opportunity for primary care clinicians in research. We see 90% of NHS contacts and do not enjoy anywhere close to that representation in the research environment.
Meet more incredible women from across the Medical Sciences: 100 Women of Oxford Medical Sciences