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Dr Mitch Chen, ACF in Radiology

ACF in Radiology

Dr Nassim Parvizi (2014)

Pathway to an ACF position

I completed my undergraduate training at Imperial College London, where I undertook a BSc research project looking at biomarker identification in cholangiocarcinoma using serum proteomic profiling. This gave me my first insight into translational research, which whet my appetite to do more.  I started my medical career as an academic foundation trainee in the North West Thames Foundation School. During this period I got involved with different projects in the department of metabolic medicine, which included a trial exploring the role of hormone infusion on food intake and identification of somatostatin expression using immunohistochemistry in neuroendocrine tumours. These experiences made me interested and determined to pursue an academic career. 

Prior to starting my current post as an academic clinical fellow in clinical radiology, I spent a year doing the NHS Medical Director’s Clinical Fellows Scheme, developing my skills in leadership and management.

What does the work involve?

I am currently an ST2, doing a 3-month attachment in the Neuroradiology Department at the West Wing. I am mainly based at the John Radcliffe Hospital for my clinical and on-call commitments. 

My research time comprises one day per week at the Churchill Hospital. Through this, I am exposed to a variety of research projects using new imaging techniques. These include the use of hyperpolarised xenon gas in magnetic resonance imaging of lung disease (e.g. COPD), the use of perfusion computerised tomography in the assessment of lung cancer after microwave ablation therapy, and improvements in the detection of colorectal liver metastases using novel reconstruction methods for PET. My research work involves working as part of a team with research fellows, research radiographers, physicists, engineers, administrative staff and clinicians. 

In addition to gaining a grasp of clinical trials and conducting research as part of an multidisciplinary team (MDT), I am developing my generic research skills through undertaking taught modules as part of the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research.

Doing the ACF programme in Oxford means I get excellent exposure to world-leading research whilst gaining good clinical training. I also get exposed to numerous opportunities for personal and professional development. However, at times it can prove challenging in terms of time management between the clinical and academic work as both can be quite demanding, in particular when balancing those with postgraduate exams. 

Why Oxford? 

I wanted to experience medicine in a new area for specialty training and, as Oxford is a leading centre for conducting research and it offers an excellent ACF post in clinical radiology, I chose to move here. It is a great place both in terms of clinical medicine and research. I see a variety of pathology and get good teaching, whilst working with some excellent colleagues. The ACF programme provides me with access to a postgraduate diploma in health research as well as allowing me to conduct research in my chosen specialty.

What's next?

I plan to conduct my own research as part of a DPhil before obtaining my CCT. The various imaging trials and research projects in which I get involved as part of my ACF post will equip me with the necessary skills required to help me do this.

September 2014