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Dr Anna Ridley: The Enemy Within – how our bodies’ own defence system can harm us

Seeing my grandmother suffering with arthritis sparked my interest in the immune system and I now carry out research into how the immune system functions in health and what happens when it goes wrong and attacks our own body, as we see in arthritis. I've had a varied career working in a hospital lab, whilst training to be a clinical scientist, for a private company, working on clinical trials for cancer therapies, and now at a university, carrying out research and teaching about our immune system. 


Mr Martin Gillies : Studying the electric windows on an UFO

I attended state school and studied medicine at Oxford.  I practiced as a clinical doctor for 12 years, a neurosurgeon for eight of those years. Latterly, I was employed as a post-doctoral scientist in neurosurgery, having done a PhD during medical school. I had to stop surgery because I developed multiple sclerosis. Now I am a full time researcher in neurosurgery and tutor on the medical neurosciences course. I am a research magpie; I am involved in clinical trials and clinical basic science research. My main academic interest is how does thinking work at a cellular level? The more I have studied the brain as a scientist and a surgeon, the more I think the brain is like an UFO and I've just figured out how the electric windows work!


Dr Helen Stark : Sentinel skin flaps – a window into rejecting organs?

I loved science at school, I wanted to understand how everything works! I decided to study medicine and I am now training in plastic surgery. One of the key challenges in plastic surgery is how to reconstruct complex injuries. One potential solution is transplantation. I am currently investigating the possible use of skin for monitoring in transplants. This involves both immunology in the lab and a clinical trial. If we can understand rejection better I hope we may develop more options for reconstructive transplants.


Books mentioned in the talk:

Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction -


Speakers 21 April