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Dr Josie Elliot

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What is your current role?

What are your research interests?

ST1 Paediatrics in Neonates at Heartlands Hospital 

NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham 

Paediatric Genetics and Endocrine medicine. 

In particular: 

  1. Screening for type 1 diabetes mellitus in children

  2. Finding new treatments for Wolfram Syndrome 

How did you get started in your research career?

I was involved in many research projects as a medical student, including student societies like AcaMedics, the Royal Society of Medicine national student committee, and UCL’s BeTheChange quality improvement initiative. 

I did my medical degree at University College London and a Masters’ in Medical Anthropology at the University of Oxford. During my time at Oxford, I attended additional lectures on subjects of interest to me, started volunteering with a local cancer charity (which led to me leading an international research project), gained a scholarship for a summer school in Beijing on neuroscience, gained funding for a lab Observership in Edinburgh, and undertook an internship with the World Health Organisation. I think this year out of my medical studies gave me time to realise the amazing opportunities and potential for a career in academia. At the time, I hadn’t yet focused in on my interest in Paediatrics, but the more projects I did, the more experience I had to help make these decisions. 

Do you have any tips for trainess interested in research/an academic career?

Be proactive! 

Get involved in research projects early to become familiar with the landscape, for example doing an audit during placement that you can then present as a poster at a conference. 

Read up on and be aware of the importance of research ethics when choosing and designing your projects, for example I recommend doing your GCP training. 

Ask questions! People who do research tend to be passionate about it and are always looking to teach and get others involved. 

What are your career aspirations?

To become a Professor at a University where I can teach future doctors and to have a role in shaping new and better treatments for children with rare genetic conditions. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of academic training?

Positives: being a Clinical Academic gives a nice balance for your future career, allowing you time to appreciate both the exciting, cutting-edge research you’ll be involved in, but also face-to-face time with your patients, without being overwhelmed by either. For me, this balance is so important as a 100% clinical job would be exhausting both mentally and physically, particularly when on the on-call rota! Research opens the door to so many exciting opportunities and the chance to meet so many incredible people.

 

Negatives: When starting out, you will often have to do your research projects in your own spare time which can be very tiring when working full-time, but it is important to persevere as it will lead to a job where you have dedicated research time to focus on a project that you are passionate about. 

Projects can be slow to progress, but the guidance of a supportive, enthusiastic supervisor is invaluable for helping you to achieve your goals. 

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