CL in Histopathology
Dr Kezia Gaitskell (2018)
Pathway to a Clinical Lectureship
I studied medicine at the University of Oxford and became involved in several research projects, including my first taste of epidemiology. My postgraduate training included a rotation in histopathology, which confirmed my interested in the specialty. I completed an MSc in Epidemiology, before starting specialty training in histopathology in London.
I was awarded a Clinical Research Training Fellowship from Cancer Research UK to study for a DPhil in Oxford, doing research at the junction between epidemiology and histopathology. Afterwards, I applied for this Clinical Lecturer post, which allows me to continue my research alongside completing training in histopathology.
What does the work involve?
I spend 50% of my time doing clinical work as a histopathology registrar, and 50% on research. My research involves a mixture of histopathology and epidemiology, looking particularly at risk factors for ovarian and kidney cancers, and how these associations vary between different histological tumour types – and considering what this variation might tell us about the underlying biology. I have recently been awarded some small grants to conduct a pilot feasibility study of retrieving archival tumour tissue blocks, which would allow my group to incorporate information on molecular tumour markers alongside routine epidemiological data. I am also involved in departmental teaching of histopathology for medical students, and I do some college tutoring.
I really enjoy the variety of being able to combine clinical training with research and teaching, with all aspects of my job feeding into each other. It is such a privilege to be able to work on exciting research with excellent teams of clinicians and academics – and the CL post gives some protected time to enable this to happen alongside clinical work. My positive experience of this CL post has helped to confirm me in my plans to continue with a clinical academic career.
I chose Oxford for my DPhil because I wanted to work on the epidemiology of ovarian cancer, and Oxford hosts an internationally-renowned Cancer Epidemiology Unit, which runs one of the largest prospective cohort studies in the world – the Million Women Study. This provides unparalleled data for exploring the questions I was interested in.
I later chose to return for my Clinical Lecturer post, as this allowed me to continue and expand my existing projects, networks, and collaborations – and to continue working with an excellent and highly experienced research team.