The Oxford Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Study (OxAAA)
Others in related specialties
Dr Gurdeep Mannu, CL in General Surgery
Dr Sarah Howles, CL in Urology
CL in Surgery - General
Dr Regent Lee
Pathway to a Clinical Lectureship
I did most of my vascular surgery training in Australia, including taking time out for a Master’s degree. I came to Oxford under an official UK / Australia exchange program for vascular surgery trainees. During this exchange period, I was further inspired by the unique research environment in Oxford and decided to pursue a DPhil. Subsequently I was awarded funding from the Royal Australasian College of Surgery, and completed my DPhil in Cardiovascular Medicine under the supervision of Professors Keith Channon and Benedikt Kessler. The whole experience further inspired me to pursue a career in academic surgery, which was made feasible by the CL post.
What does the work involve?
For most research projects, the main challenge is to secure funding for salary. The CL post takes away the burden of securing salary funding for a few years and allows me to build pilot data and gain pump-priming funds. My research is based on a cohort study which involves intensive patient interaction (Oxford Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Study, OxAAA), so I take blocks of time for full-time research when possible.
I suppose one disadvantage of being a CL in Oxford is that there is so much research expertise in Oxford for establishing new and exciting collaborations that it is difficult to refrain from getting enthused about all these exciting opportunities! I find it hard to maintain focus on the core research questions and not spread myself too thinly.
Research aside, I have been involved with a range of teaching activities, from giving lectures to medical students, instructing in Evidence Base in Surgery sessions, and examining in medical school finals, to the more formal teaching role as a retained lecturer in clinical medicine and college advisor for St Catherine’s College. I also co-supervise MRes and DPhil students on an ongoing basis.
I work within the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) and served as a member of the NDS Athena Swan Self-Assessment Committee and as a Co-Secretary for the NDS Education Committee. For two years, I helped to organise the NDS Research Away Day, which is now a keynote event for NDS.
At the interdepartmental level, I co-host an educational forum related to CE Marking for medical devices (Oxford Medical CE Marking Forum). I also manage a LinkedIn group called Oxford Common Room, which facilitates interactions between current members and alumni of the University.
This started from a childhood dream! I grew up in Taiwan (before moving to Australia at the age of 12), and learnt English with the help of Oxford Dictionary when I was little. I have always wanted to come to Oxford because of this….serious!
Also, there is no clear route for academic surgery as a surgical trainee in Australia. I spent a lot of time and effort trying to carve out a combined research and training path (back in Australia) towards the end of my DPhil, but it was just not feasible. The opportunity of a CL at Oxford enabled me to pursue my aspirations to conduct research as a trainee.