Dr Maxwell Barnish, Study Analyst with the Epidemiology Group within the Institute of Applied Health Sciences

Tell us about your role at the University

I am a postdoctoral researcher based in the Epidemiology Group within the Institute of Applied Health Sciences. My core role centres on conducting analysis on a major registry study in musculoskeletal health (the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register in Ankylosing Spondylitis, BSRBR-AS) as well as contributing to related systematic review and meta-analysis projects. I have also contributed to other work within the Institute, having for example recently published a paper with Dr Steve Turner of Child Health entitled “Changes in the relationship between asthma and associated risk factors over fifty years”. 

How do you usually start your day?
I live halfway between the Old Aberdeen and Foresterhill sites of the University, so it is only a fifteen minute walk up the hill to my office. My preference is to check my emails before I leave home, make some plans for the today and then consider them further as I walk to work. I like to be ready to actually start on my tasks as soon as I enter my office.
What brought you to the University of Aberdeen?

I had just finished my PhD at the University of East Anglia when an interesting opportunity arose to work with Steve Turner in Aberdeen on the Aberdeen Schools Asthma Survey. I was offered the role and have stayed in Aberdeen ever since, although I currently work in a different group than where I started.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?
I am really interested in media relations and trying to use research to make a difference to people’s lives. It does not have to be something as grand as a new policy – it can be something simple and small scale, yet still profoundly beneficial to the people in question. In public health research, a lot can be achieved just by raising awareness of issues related to lifestyle and health-related behaviours. I was particularly pleased recently to be asked by the Communications Office to allow my work on singing in Parkinson’s disease to be included in the forthcoming edition of the alumni magazine. This was a vote of confidence in the appeal and relevance of my work. 
What are your work priorities at the moment?
A key priority for this year is to further strengthen my academic publication record to springboard my career progression as a public health research academic. I have a number of papers scheduled to be submitted soon. 
How do you like to relax outside work?
This is quite a challenging question as I actually enjoy being busy and feeling my time is being spent doing something worthwhile. However, sometimes, all of us have to take a brief hiatus from our work. Over New Year, I went on a trip to Australia and New Zealand with my mother. I also enjoy playing music and running whenever I can find time and am a Vestry member of St Ninian’s Scottish Episcopal Church.