2015: George Harston
I graduated from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, in 2005, before completing my Foundation training in the Eastern Deanery. I have always been interested in how disorders of the brain affect the individual, so in 2008 I came to Oxford to do an Academic Clinical Fellowship in Geratology, working with the Acute Stroke Programme under the supervision of James Kennedy and Alastair Buchan.
In 2012, I had the opportunity to take time out of my training in geriatric medicine to undertake a clinical research fellowship in the Acute Vascular Imaging Centre (AVIC; now the AMIIC), supervised by James Kennedy. This position has allowed me to use the unique facilities in AVIC to bring novel research MRI techniques to acutely unwell stroke patients, recruited directly from the Emergency Department. Undertaking research in these patients has been challenging, but very rewarding. I have particularly enjoyed working across a range of disciplines, and with collaborators from different fields, including physics, engineering, clinical stroke, and neuroradiology.
My DPhil thesis focussed on the use of non-contrast MRI techniques, including Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer (CEST) and Arterial Spin Labelling (ASL) to investigate the pathophysiology of acute ischaemic stroke. Having developed the research methodologies, both practical and analytical, we have used CEST to derive an intracellular pH-weighted signal, which differentiates the fate of brain tissue acutely. Furthermore, we have used the dynamics properties of CEST and ASL to shed light on the temporal profile of ischaemic injury in patients with acute stroke. I am currently working on the use of CEST to identify changes in protein structure and mobility.
In August of 2015, I took up a Clinical Lecturer post in Geratology and Stroke Medicine. I am working on the development of imaging biomarkers in acute stroke and exploring their utility in other diseases of the brain. I feel fortunate to be able to pursue a career in academic medicine, combining my passion for clinical medicine with neuroscience and imaging based research.