September 2019

September 2019


New students

We would like to extend a warm welcome to the first intake to the new Sri Lanka Medical Pathway course, the 30 additional MBChB students on a GP-enhanced curriculum and the first intake to the MSc in Advanced Restorative Dental Practice. Pictured are our new cohort of healthcare students and Postgraduate Teaching Support Team, Clare McHattie and Chloe Hardie, ready to welcome our new Masters students.

New Staff

There is lots of recruitment going on at present and there will be more to notify in the next newsletter including new Technician appointments.

Julia Mitchell – head of Knowledge Exchange & Impact & Communications, Rowett Institute

Julia Mitchell has returned to the Rowett KE team as Head of Knowledge Exchange and Impact.  She is really looking forward to working everyone again and meeting new faces and hopes to support everyone at the Institute in promoting their research and activities.  She will also be working closely with Scottish Government and Policy leads to help inform researchers of their needs for the next RESAS funding round.  Her wider role is also as Sector Lead for Food and Drink for SEFARI Gateway which is the knowledge exchange and impact centre for SEFARI and supports the Portfolio, working closely with policy, industry & society sector-representative organisations.

Stephen Makin – SCL in Stroke Medicine

Dr Stephen Makin recently appointed as Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Centre for Rural Health. He will be based in Caithness General Hospital. The University of Aberdeen and NHS Highland are jointly funding this new innovative post.  Part of the aim is to support smaller hospitals excel as places of learning and research.


Patrice Forget – Professor of Anaesthetics

My role is Clinical Chair in Anaesthesia and my  clinical research focuses mainly on postoperative outcomes, including within epidemiological and public health perspectives. I investigate the impact of surgery, inflammation and anaesthetics (especially opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).


Delma Childers – Lecturer in Medical Sciences

We are delighted to announce that one of our postdoctoral research fellows, Dr Delma Childers, has been appointed as a Lecturer in Medical Sciences, from the 1st of September. She aims to promote an environment that excites her colleagues and welcomes student critical thinking with new perspectives about how microbes evolve, infect and survive.


Lionel Broche – Lecturer in Medical Physics

Dr Broche is currently involved in the development of new technologies for FFC-MRI as well as with further clinical research projects, involving several international partners. His next task will be to integrate these new developments into the construction of a next-generation FFC-MRI scanner inside the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where access to patients will be greatly facilitated so that larger and more ambitious clinical studies will be possible. 

We also welcome some new appointments to Technician posts.

Alexander Miller has joined the Proteomics team
Megan Robertson is working with Cosimo De Bari’s research group, a move from the MRF.
Kate Burgoyne is working across FACS/Proteomics gaining training on both services.  Kate was one of our MSc students who has just completed her studies.
Ailsa Laird is now a full time member of the FACS team, having held the post Kate has just filled.


In the past few months we have wished the following staff well in their retirements.

Ken Forbes, Professor of Microbiology
Norma Moore, Team Leader, IMS
Carole Skinner, Receptionist, Suttie Centre
Diane Stewart, Technician, IMS
Steph Hall, Research Coordinator, IAHS

Director of the Rowett Institute

Professor Peter Morgan will step down to allow a new Director to lead preparations for the new Rowett programme grant, that will start 1 April 2020.  Recruitment to the Director post has started.



Congratulations and well done to all those who were promoted at the annual exercise or during the year.

Valerie Currie, Technician, Rowett Institute
Lucia D’Ambrusso, Senior Lecturer, IAHS
Linda Dean, Research Fellow, IAHS
Hazel Fyfe, Technician, Medical Education
Chloe Hardie, Postgraduate Support Assistant
Donna Henderson, Technician, Rowett Institute
Jennifer Liddell, Technician, IMS
Irene Pacitti, Secretary, Medical Education
Rebecca Peters, Technician, IMS
Beverley Smith, Receptionist/Clerical Assistant, HSRU
Victoria Stables, Administration Assistant, Institute of Dentistry
Derek Stevens, Technician, IMS
Manimekalai Thiruvothiyur, Research Fellow, IAHS
Miriam Brazzelli, Reader, HSRU
George Cameron, Computer Physicist
Tracey Davidson, Trial Manager, HSRU
Alexander Douglas, Reader, Statistics
Eilidh Duncan, Research Fellow, HSRU
Sylvia Duncan, Senior Research Fellow, Rowett Institute
Gordon Fernie, Trial Manager, HSRU
Karen Innes, Trial Manager, HSRU
James Mackie, Lecturer (Scholarship) Dental Education
Anja Petrie, Deputy Named Veterinary Surgeon
Jin Pu, Senior Genomics Specialist
Fiona Rudkin, Research Fellow, IMS
Derek Scott, Chair in Physiology & Pharmacology Education
Sophie Shaw, Bioinformatician
Heather Wilson, Chair in Immunology

Grant successes

Rosalind Adam has been awarded a £533K Scottish Senior Clinical Academic Fellowship from the CSO focussed on improving cancer survivorship care through the development of theory-based, tailored eHealth interventions.

Paul Haggarty is Deputy Director of the £19.5M GCRF Action Against Stunting Hub led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The Hub is one of 12 Global Research Hubs funded by UKRI through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). Over the five year collaboration the Hub aims to reduce child stunting by up to 10% across communities in India, Indonesia and Senegal.

Stefan Hoppler has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship to investigate modelling the gene-regulatory networks controlling embryonic heart development.

Silvia Gratz from the Rowett Institute has been awarded a £50K Development Award under the MRC’s GCRF mechanisms of nutrition and disease call to  study multiple dietary risk factors contributing to childhood stunting in India, with a focus on mycotoxins.

Wael Houssen has been awarded a 5 year £1M Fellowship from EPSRC to develop novel macrocyclic peptides drug candidates.  Wael’s work is aiming to generate  computational

models to predict membrane permeability of bioactive cyclic peptides that will be invaluable for development of peptides into drugs.

Lucky Saraswat consultant gynaecologist at NHS Grampian and honorary senior clinical lecturer, in collaboration with our clinical trials unit CHaRT, has been awarded £1.6M from NIHR for the REGAL trial to investigate the clinical and cost effectiveness of different drug and surgical treatments for recurrent endometriosis.


Congratulations to Mrs Helen Gray, Lecturer (Scholarship) in Medical Education, for leading the bid for accreditation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for our MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice including two new courses in Prescribing in Practice.


Dr Steve Tucker has been awarded the Rang prize for non-clinical pharmacology teaching from The British Pharmacological Society. This is a great reflection of the proactive, collaborative and supportive environment within the Institute fo Education in Medical and Dental Sciences and the wider School.


Here is the list of winners:

Here are details of the award:,-awards-and-grants/our-prizes/rang-prize

Improving our accommodation and facilties

Refurbished Social Space

Polwarth teaching and the social spaces have benefitted from upgrades over the summer.  Here are a few photos to show what has been achieved.  Ideas on what could be displayed on the walls of the social space would be welcome by emailing Lynne Lumsden on  In the past we have had artworks from NHSG Hospitals Art Trust, Aberdeen Art Gallery, microscopy images, corporate pictures. 

New MRI installation

The University has embarked on a major upgrade of its Philips Achieva 3T MRI scanner to the latest dStream© architecture. This upgrade entails replacing almost all major components of the scanner, scanning room and ancillary equipment. The only component to remain is the magnet. dStream© is a fully digital system, so the upgrade is equivalent to replacing a CRT TV with a new LCD HDTV. The University will have a state-of-the-art clinical research imaging facility with significantly improved image quality, new and improved capabilities including full scientific support from Philips Healthcare.

Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science

As part of moves over the summer, the Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science has moved to the West Block of the Polwarth Building.  This has brought together the research team led by Professor Corri Black with Safe Haven and Data Management, NHS and industry partners.

Taking Part

PCST abstract deadline coming up!

The University of Aberdeen will host the Public Communication of Science and Technology Conference on 26-28 May 2020 and with the fantastic science communication that goes on in the School we hope to see huge participation from staff and students.

PCST is a global network and the biennial conferences bring together practitioners, educators and researchers in the science communication field to share experiences and ideas. The theme is Transformation through Time and Technology and we encourage applications that push the boundaries of discussion around these areas. 

Abstract deadline: 12 October 2019. Submit here!

Public patient involvement

A new School wide PPI organisation structure is being created, with admin support from Diane McCosh. This was suggested by Dr Kathryn Martin and Professor Cosimo de Bari as an efficient way to provide support for research groups who wish to use PPI in their research projects but do not have the resources or expertise to do so within their own groups.  It is in the early stages and will start by surveying School staff on what should be included. 

Look out for the survey that will follow soon by email! 

We were all very saddened by the news that Prof Stefania Spano passed away suddenly.

Stefania joined the University as a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) in October 2013 and was subsequently promoted to a Personal Chair in August 2017.  Stefania came from Yale University having been part of a laboratory pioneering work to find a cure for the life-threatening bacterial disease, Typhoid Fever. Stefania was a member of the Young Academy of Scotland, an arm of the Royal Society of Edinburgh that identifies and supports the work of our future scientific leaders.  She won a European Research Consolidator 5-year grant in 2017, a prestigious and highly competitive award that few staff achieve.  This followed grants from the BBSRC, the Wellcome Trust and a Marie Curie Fellowship to a member of her lab.

Stefania was married to Max, a Lecturer in the IMS with whom she has a daughter, Isabella.  A highly respected, liked and popular colleague and friend she will be greatly missed by all who knew and worked with her.

The memorial service to remember and celebrate Stefania’s life has been organised for Friday 11th October, at 2.30pm in the University Chapel, Old Aberdeen. This will be followed by a gathering of friends and colleagues at the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), Foresterhill.

All are welcome to say the final farewell to Stefania and her closest family.