Dr Liz Warburton - Honorary Treasurer
I remember being drawn to neurosciences at University (Oxford) where we had lectures and tutorials by some inspirational people; Colin Blakemore (standing room only), Frances Ashcroft, Jon Stein and the late John Newsome- Davis come to mind. I very nearly stayed on to do a DPhil as I got interested in how the mid brain influenced the hypothalamus/pituitary axis but the lure of clinical medicine in the London teaching hospitals was too great – and I haven’t lived to regret it. I had the great good fortune to work as an SpR at Charing Cross when Pippa Tyrrell was there. It was Pippa who introduced me to Richard Wise, one of the few UK neurologists interested in stroke at that time. She thought we would get on well and there was some really interesting research we could do. How right she was! Richard inspired many of us to think about the fascinating clinical and research questions that stroke medicine provokes. I joined the febrile atmosphere of the PET scanning unit at the Hammersmith to do my PhD at a time when functional brain imaging was developing. We were able to do some of the first studies looking at brain reorganisation after aphasic stroke. Most of the patients I scanned I can still remember and in the nineties they were scattered across many different wards. After visiting them in their homes for follow up I had a real insight into the difficulties the aftermath of a stroke can bring. From then on I was never going to do anything else and was fortunate to be appointed to the Cambridge consultant post where they wanted someone to develop a stroke service and utilise a PET scanner! I have managed (just) to combine full time clinical work with ongoing research and bringing up a family. (www.cambridgeneurosciences.com and @cambridgestroke). I have been lucky to work with two internationally renowned figures in stroke – namely Jean Claude Baron and Hugh Markus, alongside fantastic colleagues. Latterly Hugh has given me the confidence to take on more leadership roles for which I am very grateful. I am very keen to encourage more women into stroke and into more senior positions more generally and I am part of the academic women mentorship programme in Cambridge. I think what I enjoy most about being a stroke physician is (still) the challenge of the clinical case, thinking things through, looking at the imaging, discussing with colleagues and juniors alike, generating questions, managing patients with an MDT, and being part of an international stroke research community. I have also found people who ‘do stroke’ are generally very nice and good fun! I can’t imagine any other discipline in medicine being so rewarding.