How mentoring is supporting my research into stroke in young adults
Dr Kieron South from the University of Manchester was awarded a research grant as part of our £1 million commitment to support research aimed at improving diagnosis, treatment and post stroke-recovery in young adults.
For those considering the scheme, I would recommend starting by being honest and open about what you are hoping to gain from the relationship. The scheme exists to help you and you should take full advantage.Dr Kieron South
Through his Medical Research Foundation fellowship, he has joined the Academy of Medical Sciences’ brilliant one-to-one mentoring programme. He spoke to us about his experiences of the scheme so far.
I am a basic science researcher and have spent much of my post-doctoral career to date investigating mechanism of thrombosis (blood clots).
In 2018, I acted on a long-standing interest in stroke research, writing a project grant to allow my transition to the world-renowned stroke research group at the University of Manchester led by Prof Stuart Allan.
This allowed me to continue the development of a novel drug for blood clots, which is now in the late stages of pre-clinical testing. It may, with a bit of luck, be taken through the translational pipeline to provide a much-needed acute therapy to reduce the impact of stroke.
Since 2019 I have been a Fellow of the Medical Research Foundation, from whom I received funding to investigate specific mechanisms underlying the occurrence of stroke in young adults. This project has yielded some exciting new data implicating mild lung infections as a possible trigger of strokes in young people.
I have excellent mentors within my research group who are providing much of the scientific and academic guidance I need. However, naturally, there is much overlap in our work and there is a certain amount of ‘vested interest’ in the career decisions I make. Therefore, I felt it was crucial to find someone far removed from those decisions who could provide a completely unbiased perspective on which career moves would be in my best interest.
I have only had one full meeting with my mentor since joining the scheme, but it was extremely beneficial. They had obviously taken the time to familiarise themselves with my work prior to the meeting so it was a very engaging conversation.
Outside of that meeting my mentor has been kind enough to read through grant applications and provide feedback to help me improve my chances of securing more independent funding.
For those considering the scheme, I would recommend starting by being honest and open about what you are hoping to gain from the relationship. The scheme exists to help you and you should take full advantage.
If you are a Medical Research Foundation funded fellow or Emerging Leaders Prize winner, you are eligible to join the programme. Visit the Academy of Medical Sciences’ website to find out more.
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