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 18 August 2022

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I am a senior academic gastroenterologist at the University of Oxford with an interest in Gastrointestinal Oncology. I also share my time with the Digestive Diseases Centre at Leicester Royal Infirmary. We have a large epithelial biology laboratory, focusing on gastrointestinal metaplasia, stem cell biology and adhesion. I trained in gastroenterology initially at Glasgow University then Dundee University. I then received advanced training in gastroenterology at the University of London (Guy's, St Marks and the Hammersmith Hospital) and University of California, San Francisco.

What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
Initially I wanted to do a practical clinical speciality such as intensive care medicine, however, I decided that gastroenterology was the best choice to fit in with my undergraduate interest in mucosal remodeling in chronic inflammation.
Who was the teacher you admired the most?
I have had many teachers who taught me well; even those lacking essential skills (usually senior academics) have served as important "role models". Perhaps the qualities in consultants that I have admired most are loyalty to junior staff as well as having a clear vision of the clinical and research arena.
Which research paper influenced you the most?
It has to be Nick Wright's description of the ulcer associated cell lineage and its implication for tissue biology in response to injury (Nature 1990; 343: 82-5).
What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
Description of the basic biology and organization of the metaplastic mucosa in Barrett's metaplasia of the esophagus. We believe this will help set the benchmark for other interested research groups. Barrett's metaplasia: the simmering cauldron. Lancet (2000 in press).
What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
Not realizing earlier that when people say "I hear what you say" means that they don't have a clue what you meant, or, at best, as much as the reason for monetary union!
What is your unfulfilled ambition?
It is definitely playing for the Scottish football (soccer) team and scoring "an Archie Gemmel" last minute goal - based on present form, however, I feel my skills might be more needed by the English squad!
What is your greatest regret?
I am too young for regrets, as life is good. However I do wonder whether I should have taken up Professor Raymond Playford's offer to become his house officer when he was appointed to the Chair of Gastroenterology at the Hammersmith Hospital. He pointed out that you don't need to be clever to get a Nature paper there - just do as your Professor tells you and put the blood samples in the right tubes! Ray is the job still open?
How do you relax?
Reading, hiking with dogs and vegetarian cuisine.
What is your favorite sport?
Rugby - but that's a sore point!
What is your best place in the world?
San Francisco.
What is your favorite film?
Too many, but "Remains of the Day" and "Thin Red Line" are relatively recent.
What car do you drive?
Ford Ka - cars don't figure much in my life but motorbikes are another thing!
What is your best electronic 'toy'?
My lap top.
What book are you reading at the moment?
Steinbeck's East of Eden.
Why did you get in involved in
I think effective communication is the first vital step to change and as a consequence Roy Pounder's informative and enthusiastic web site is likely to grow dramatically and will eventually be the future.

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