Tell us about yourself
I graduated from Leeds Medical School, after completing an intercalated BMSc at Dundee University.
I am the past chair of CORNET (the first UK orthopaedic research collaborative), a previous Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) of England research fellow, and have been the academic representative for the British Orthopaedic Trainees Association (BOTA).
I am currently an orthopaedic registrar in the North East of England and continue to participate in clinical research as part of my everyday practice. I live in rural Northumberland with my wife, two sons and two black labradors.
Why did you want to become a researcher?
I enjoy asking why, and want to improve outcomes for patients. I enjoyed research projects whilst at university and so continued this in my clinical career. Being actively involved in research has allowed me to develop additional transferable skills I use in my day to day job, and enables me to stay up to date with the latest evidence.
What research have you been involved in?
I was firstly appointed to the orthopaedic themed academic foundation programme in Newcastle where I participated in basic science research in a laboratory looking at the influence of materials on stem cells as a treatment for osteoarthritis.
I have since participated in a number of clinical trials and research projects, either at a local level or nationally, including the ProFHER-2 trial.
I have recently submitted my PhD thesis investigating the influence of vitamin D on outcomes following total hip and knee replacement.
What has been your research highlight so far?
My PhD work on vitamin D. As part of this, I set-up a feasibility trial where patients with low vitamin D levels were randomised to receive either supplementation or no treatment before their hip or knee replacement. This was the first trial to do this, and whilst it took a lot of work organise and liaising with a number of different stakeholders, it was very satisfying to see the trial come to fruition.
What advice would you give someone considering a career in research?
Do it because you want to and enjoy it, not because you feel you have to. Find relevant mentors in either your hospital or university, or join a research collaborative. Start small or contribute to projects already running – opportunities often then open up from this. Create a support network to bounce ideas off or for support when projects do not always go to plan.
Finally, buy a cafetiere – coffee usually helps.