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CL in Geratology

Dr George Harston

Pathway to a Clinical Lectureship 

I completed my medical training in Cambridge in 2006 and during my intercalated degree I experienced my first taste of neuroscience research. During my Foundation years I realised I enjoyed working as a generalist, and when an ACF in Geratology in Oxford came up it looked ideal. I was able to do preclinical stroke research alongside core medical training. After the ACF, an opportunity to do clinically-based imaging research arose, so I took time out of programme to complete a DPhil in acute stroke research in the Acute Vascular Imaging Centre, which led onto my current clinical lecturer post. 

What does the work involve?

I currently spend 50% of my time doing clinical work, and 50% research. I split my week, job sharing my clinical role with a less-than-full-time colleague. While my clinical posts have rotated through other hospitals in the Deanery (Reading and Oxford), my academic time is based in the Acute Vascular Imaging Centre in Oxford. My research work centres on imaging-based stroke research, but recently I have also been running a brain imaging study in patients with hepatic encephalopathy to investigate mechanisms of global brain dysfunction.

My research time is spent running the clinical studies, analysing data and writing, in addition to supervising a DPhil student and doing some departmental teaching. Until last year I held a college lecturer post at Magdalen, which involved a significant amount of undergraduate teaching, but I have relinquished this role to concentrate on research activity and fellowship applications.

Life as a CL has been varied and fun. I enjoy the contrast of activities, and each aspect of my role has fed into the other. I have enjoyed the multidisciplinary nature of both clinical and research roles. On the other hand, a clinical lectureship is hard work, balancing clinical and training commitments with research activity, but it is well worth it. 

Why Oxford?

I first moved to Oxford for the ACF in Geratology and since then I have benefited from the exceptional breadth of local expertise and experience. The culture of research integrated into clinical care has helped drive my work and made clinical collaborations easier than I might have imagined. Staying in Oxford after my DPhil has not only provided continuity of clinical training, but also permitted me to build on the work and collaborations arising from my doctorate. 

Where to next?

I would like to continue to work in clinical and academic medicine, and I am currently applying for funding to support this. The uncertainty of what the future might hold is also exciting, and reflects the variety of opportunities available in clinical academia.


September 2017