Katie Hughes is a Renal Academic in foundation year two at St George's, University of London. 

Katie Hughes

What attracted you to the academic foundation programme?

I found research fun and rewarding during my intercalated BSc and Medical School and felt an Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) would allow me to continue research alongside developing as a clinician. I wanted to experience a ‘full time' academic role to see if the academic career pathway was right for me.

How is the Academic Foundation programme helping you to achieve your academic goals?

Having an AFP attached to an international centre of excellence like St George's, University of London means there are ample research opportunities available. I've personally had excellent support and guidance from my educational supervisor with weekly supervision sessions. The dedicated four-month research block meant that I had the flexibility to do academic work, teach, attend conferences and courses and revise for academic exams.

I have gained new skills in different research methodologies and by using statistical software. I've been able to present at international conferences and write papers for publication – all valuable for professional development.

Undertaking an AFP at St. George's also has the benefit of monthly teaching from international experts with colleagues from the other South London AFP programmes. Links with St. George's University means there are numerous opportunities to teach medical students as a Clinical Skills Tutor or Anatomy Demonstrator.

Although I initially found it difficult to transition from the structured nature of a clinical role, it is rewarding to feel you're improving patient care on a larger scale.

What kind of research project have you been involved in?

I am undertaking a Renal themed AFP which has been complemented with a Renal clinical post. My supervisor's key research interest is the   pharmacogenetics of Tacrolimus in renal transplant recipients. We are currently auditing our dosing regimen of Tacrolimus and looking at patient genomics to identify risk factors for transplant rejection.

Due to the flexibility of the AFP I have also been able to pursue other research interests. I have been involved in collecting and analysing data for an international, multi-centre case-control study looking at the impact of clubfoot on developmental milestones in children, the provisional results of which I was able to present at the Society of Academic and Research Surgery (SARS) annual meeting 2018.

I have also worked on a large retrospective study of osteomyelitis in the paediatric sickle cell population that has been accepted for presentation at the European Paediatric Orthopaedic Society (EPOS) conference in Oslo this year. I have also worked with fellow AFP colleagues to write a systematic review on paediatric clavicle fracture non-union which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Children's Orthopaedics.

What advice would you give to aspiring medical students regarding clinical academic training?

Go for it! It's a valuable experience to see what life is like as a ‘full time' academic for four months. It is a unique experience to learn and develop as both a clinical and academic junior doctor. You will gain skills that will benefit you regardless of which career path you choose to follow.

Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2018 16:35