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The Pathological Society Newsletter - December 2020
Highlights in this Issue
Celebrating Research in Pathology
Dear Path Soc members
Rather than dwell on what a tough year 2020 has been I want to celebrate the Path Society’s success.  With a strong cohort of at least 50 academic pathologists in training and early career clinician scientists there is now a critical number which will allow the discipline to establish a strong presence across the universities and the NHS.  In 2020, 11 and 6 PhD Fellows and Clinical Lecturers were awarded respectively, compared with 4 PhD Fellows and 2 Lecturers in 2016.   If anyone wants to challenge these numbers please do so – it has been difficult to obtain robust data  

Our fabulous cohort – although some were too shy to provide their ‘photos.  I apologise if there are individuals that are not included but it has proved difficult to get the information, but we will endeavour to develop a process moving forward which will allow us to track our success. Please let me know if I have left you out!! See below for names.

The Jean Shanks Path Soc Funding Programme 

We are particularly grateful to Eric Rothbarth and his team of trustees from the Jean Shanks Foundation for forming a partnership with The Path Soc and providing substantial investment to train pathologists in research. 
We provide a range of funding schemes from entry level Pre-Doctoral Bursaries for individuals to ‘get a taster’ for research and the opportunity to generate pilot data, to PhD Fellowships, Clinical Lecturers (4 years 50-50 clinical research split), Intermediate Fellowships, and Clinical Academic Research Partnerships (CARP) for NHS consultants. We also have a new Post-Doctoral Fellowship scheme (available to trainees who have undertaken PhD some years earlier and wish to re-enter research.


Where Can Our Stars Be Found?

The large number of institutions around the country that are home to these trainees, who have been awarded competitive funding for research, ensures that there is resilience in the system and that we are not reliant on a few individuals or institutions. Nevertheless, Phil Quirke, the academic Chief at Leeds, is to be congratulated for his success in building such a strong cohort of academics.

The Future Is Bright

With some super stars already appearing in the pathology research space the expectation is that over the next few years we will see an increase in the number of pathologists being appointed to substantive university positions. However, many who undertake a PhD/ MD (research) will choose not to pursue a full time academic career or become a Principal Investigator.

However, the hope is that many would apply for the JSPS Clinical Academic Research Partnerships so that they can continue their research alongside their NHS service commitments and contribute to the advancement of our discipline.  

BRC funding is another means of continuing research which complements service work.

Excellence, in whatever sphere pathologists choose as a career post FRCPath, whether largely clinical, translational or basic research is what we should all be aiming for.  Our discipline will only thrive if we deliver all of these, but they can only be achieved if we work together. A ‘them and us’ mentality must be avoided.  A unified discipline with a coherent plan for delivering NHS service, Research and Development will provide trainees with an enjoyable experience and an array of career opportunities. This will filter down to medical students and hence the next generation of excellent pathologists is born. 

Pathology Research Grand Rounds

Starting January 2021...

Most of you will be aware that we have already run three Research Presentations by Zoom through Path Soc.  These have been extremely well attended and I would like to thank Dr Kate MarksDr Caroline Young and Dr Sarah Aitken for their excellent presentations and research.
From January 2021, the Pathology Research Grand Rounds sponsored by The Pathological Society and The Jean Shanks Foundation are also CPD accredited by the Royal College of Pathologists.  We hope that this will go some way to replace the meetings that are no longer happening across the world and will inspire us all to continue with our research.  We are very fortunate that the Inaugural Lecture will be presented by Professor Sir Mike Stratton on Wednesday 13th January when he will talk about Normal and Neoplastic Cells. 
In February 2021, Dr Luiza Moore and Dr Moritz Gerstung will talk about their work, which has been recently published in Nature Cancer on Computational Pathology and how it may be implemented into clinical practice. 
In March 2021, Dr Raza Ali, a Pathologist and CRUK Clinician Scientist in Cambridge, will talk about his work on Breast Cancer.
I hope that you will all attend and enjoy these presentations.  If you have any feedback or wish to hear more on a particular subject please email the Path Soc office


All the best for 2021.

Adrienne M Flanagan


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Professor Adrienne M Flanagan

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