Dr Adam Ali
Academic Foundation Programme (2014)
Pathway to an AFP position
Adam developed an interest in research during his pre-clinical studies at Cambridge University, where he intercalated in physiology and undertook an eight-month research project identifying novel Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channel isoforms in platelets. He was then awarded a Frank Knox Fellowship at Harvard University where he studied at the Harvard School of Public Health and Kennedy School of Government, spurring a strong interest in epidemiological and health economic research.
Adam completed his clinical studies at Oxford University where he undertook a number of research projects in orthopaedics and was attracted to the orthopaedic-themed AFP at Oxford. This programme provided the opportunity to work in leading centres for both trauma research (The Kadoorie Centre for Critical Care Research) and elective orthopaedic research (The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre). The world-renowned Centre for Epidemiology in Oxford gave Adam the opportunity to develop his interest in public health, and the collegiate system a means of pursuing his passion for teaching.
What does the work involve?
Adam undertook clinical rotations in general medicine, general surgery and plastic surgery (with academic day release) in his FY1 year, and accident and emergency medicine, trauma and orthopaedics (80% research, 20% clinical) and general practice in his FY2 year. As an Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS), he was able to benefit from a wealth of opportunities in clinical research training and enjoyed participating in the regular Academic Medical Forum meetings organised by OUCAGS.
Adam was appointed as College Lecturer in Medicine at St Hilda’s College; in addition to tutoring first-year students in anatomy and clinical students in surgery, he served as part of the undergraduate admissions team. Adam was Regional Lead in Oxford for the award-winning on-line teaching platform MedicineAfrica, and helped establish the OxPal teaching programme and publish research assessing the outcomes of on-line teaching in Somalia and Palestine.
Adam feels that one of the key strengths of the Oxford AFP is the environment. Oxford is overflowing with world-class researchers, and more importantly researchers who are willing to give their time and resources to support junior academics! The seminars and social events organised by OUCAGS were an invaluable opportunity to network with other clinical academics and gain ideas that would not be possible through working alone. It is one of the few programmes to offer day release and give AFPs the complete freedom to choose their own supervisor. The Oxford AFPs also spend most of their time in Oxford, which makes it much easier to complete research projects and meet with supervisors.
The only downside is that there are often too many opportunities and it can be difficult to turn down many of the interesting projects which are constantly springing up!
The orthopaedic-themed AFP at Oxford provided an unrivalled opportunity to work with world-renowned clinician scientists in both trauma and elective orthopaedics. The system of day release allowed me to spread my research over the entire foundation programme rather than having it concentrated in a single block. I also greatly enjoyed the opportunity to serve as College Lecturer at St Hilda’s College, both in the teaching and pastoral capacities of the role.
The training and research I undertook in Oxford strengthened my CV significantly and allowed me to successfully secure an Academic Clinical Fellowship in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery at Imperial College London from October.