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A Knight’s Tale

Did you always see yourself becoming a scientist?

My ambition in years gone by was actually to become an economist – my father was banker after all. But, ultimately, pharmacology chose me.

After completing my medical degree at St. Andrew’s in the UK, I took on a position at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (RPMS) where I was offered a position in the new pharmacology department. The department’s approach to pharmacology meant that clinical pharmacology (which focused on the medical aspects of the field) and basic pharmacology (which looked towards physiology as its science) existed in two separate spheres. I was compelled to take the position because I felt it was imperative that these two branches of the same field be more closely tied together. It has always been my feeling that if these two areas are able to progress together, both industry and academia would be able to see greater advances.

What moments in your career stand out?

In 1974, as the Head of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Liverpool, I was able to take the reins and develop a department focused on combining basic and clinical pharmacology – a first for the UK. Though I have been knighted and received various accolades throughout my career for my services to medicine, the work of my colleagues and I changed the way an entire area of science was approached. And that is undoubtedly the highlight of my career – and a feat I am whole-heartedly proud of.  

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About the Author

Maryam Mahdi

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