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CL in Infectious Diseases

Dr Xin Hui Chan

Pathway to a Clinical Lectureship

The SARS pandemic interrupted my last year of school. Soon after, my sister became very ill with dengue fever. 

Then, a chance meeting with Professor Nick White (later my DPhil supervisor) inspired a decade of enthusiastic exploration of global health opportunities around the world. This culminated in a collaboration with the WHO Global Malaria Programme, which formed the basis of my doctoral work. 

This early line of inquiry gained unexpected relevance when I returned to clinical medicine at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. I came to see the value of formally combining the remainder of my clinical and academic training. 

What does the work involve?

The CL provides precious time and support to define the trajectory of the transition to independence as well as the shape of that independent career to come. 

In practical terms, it’s an ever-evolving set-up. I am experimenting with alternating blocks of clinical and academic time of different lengths and am learning to find the best in whatever is possible. It’s a privilege to be able to combine two intensive training programmes in this way. 

I am part of the Pandemic Sciences Institute. I work with Professor Peter Horby to accelerate the development and deployment of therapeutics for high-threat and emerging infections through well-designed academic clinical trials. It’s been an intensive introduction to research leadership and management at an exciting time for the Institute. I particularly enjoy our close collaborations within Oxford as well as internationally. Our group has a longstanding commitment to equitable partnerships and capacity development, which I am passionate about. I also co-supervise DPhil and MSc students, and provide bedside and seminar teaching for medical students in my clinical specialities of infection and internal medicine. 

The postdoctoral period as a clinical academic is a time of increasing responsibility in clinical, academic, and family life. Keeping all these balls in the air at any one time is not without its challenges. I am fortunate to be part of an outstanding group of people willing to transform these challenges into opportunities with me. I am really looking forward to what we can build together in the years to come. 

Why Oxford? 

Mentorship, OUCAGS, and the unparalleled range of academic opportunities available. 

Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones and others here in Oxford helped me see I had a place in academic medicine whatever my background. I became the first person to get a PhD and the first woman to become a doctor in my family thanks to their generous mentorship – it takes a village. 

The advice, training and community that OUCAGS offers has been invaluable wherever in the world I have been. Oxford, with its cutting-edge innovation, extensive clinical-trial infrastructure, and globe-spanning networks, is an exceptional environment for the translational research that I do.


January 2023