Centre for Inflammation Research

Inaugural lectures

Videos of public lectures given by CIR Professors or Chairs newly appointed by the University

Inaugural Lecture - Professor Lorna Marson

Although we transplanted just over 3000 kidneys in the UK last year, 5000 patients are still waiting for this life-saving and life-changing operation. What more can be done to improve the lives of those people with kidney disease?

Professor Lorna Marson is a transplant surgeon who is passionate about working to improve outcomes of patients with kidney failure. During her inaugural lecture, Lorna describes some of the clinical and laboratory research she has undertaken with her team, aimed specifically at reducing early injury after kidney transplantation, which has the benefit of increasing the lifespan of the organ. She explores national initiatives that she is involved with, which work to increase the number of living donor kidney transplants performed every year, whilst also considering some of the ethical challenges such initiatives bring.

Lorna has a keen interest in encouraging and supporting the next generation of doctors. She talks about her roles in both postgraduate training of surgeons and as the current Director of Admissions for Edinburgh Medical School; addressing challenges faced in surgical training nationally, as well as the new proposed selection pathway for future Edinburgh medical students.

Inaugural Lecture - Professor Debby Bogaert

It was only 350 years ago that the Dutch scientist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek discovered the existence of living ’animalcules’ (Latin for tiny animals), nowadays called microbes. 200 years later scientists proved that specific microbeswere the cause of common diseases like cholera and tuberculosis.

This knowledge changed modern society dramatically, and with the discovery of the antibiotic penicillin by the Scottish scientist Alexander Flemming, the battle against infectious diseases went rapidly uphill. As a result, however, the common belief emerged that microbes in general are bad for human health, and should all be avoided or eliminated.

Only recently, new technology arrived allowing the characterization of all microbial life surrounding and inhabiting us. This marked the start of a new field of science, called microbiome research.

The complete outer and inner surface of the human body is colonized by a highly diverse and complex community of microbes that plays a crucial role in human health. Since every infant is born ‘sterile’, their personal microbiome only starts to assemble during birth, and further develops with every touch, every breath and every feed it takes.

During her lecture, Professor Bogaert, Chair of Paediatric Medicine, provides new insights regarding how the environment, including exposure to antibiotics, shapes a newborn’s microbiome. Furthermore, she illustrates the importance of a healthy microbiome, especially regarding respiratory health throughout life.

Inaugural Lecture - Professor Damian Mole

The pancreas is responsible for digesting all the fat, protein and carbohydrates that we eat, and is essential for health. However, when things go wrong with the pancreas, as happens in inflammation in the pancreas called acute pancreatitis, the results can be catastrophic.

Bridging the gap between research science and treating patients, Damian Mole is a surgeon and clinical scientist trained in laboratory science and in surgery of the liver, bile ducts and pancreas.

In his inaugural lecture, Damian explores how inflammation in the pancreas triggers the body immune system into overdrive, damaging other essential organs such as the lungs and kidneys. Even those who survive severe acute pancreatitis have shorter lifespans and more ill-health.

Importantly, the team, in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry, has developed a new medicine that is being tested in human clinical trials. By identifying molecular subtypes called endotypes within acute pancreatitis, the team is working to target these new treatments to the right patients through precision medicine.

Inaugual Lecture: Professor Kev Dhaliwal

We are in the midst of a new technological revolution. The speed of change is staggering – imagination is driving previously unthinkable innovations.

There is now an unprecedented opportunity to focus these technological advances in order to understand, diagnose and treat human disease.

Professor Kev Dhaliwal describes the development of next-generation technologies using the power of light to visualise, sense and treat disease. Initially focussed on lung conditions, this novel approach can readily be applied to many human illnesses

Clinical translation of these new technologies requires a dedicated team approach from many scientific disciplines, bonded by a spirit of collaboration and creativity. By harnessing this interdisciplinary ethos, we can create new ways to diagnose and treat disease.