Cumberland Lodge Scholarships are open to doctoral students in UK-based universities, and DPhil student Matthew Dickinson is one of only 7 students selected for the 2-year programme this year. As a Cumberland Lodge Scholar, he will participate in conferences, retreats and seminars in areas beyond his own academic expertise. Through mentorship and open dialogue, scholars develop skills in communication, critical thinking and cross-disciplinary discourse. There is also a wide variety of public engagement activities facilitated by Cumberland Lodge such as exhibitions and public lectures, with which scholars can engage.
Matt is based in the labs of Prof. Persephone Borrow (Nuffield Department of Medicine), and Prof. Hal Drakesmith (MRC Human Immunology Unit, MRC WIMM). His research explores interactions between HIV-1 and the immune system, in particular the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) superfamily, aiming to elucidate ways in which the virus either evades or exploits some specific immune responses.
Outside of the lab Matt is a qualified vet and a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. He maintains work in clinical practice part-time alongside his PhD. He is an ambassador for the STEM Learning Ambassador Programme and a contributor to Polygeia, a student-ran think tank in global health policy. He is also a volunteer workshop facilitator for the Oxford-based Good Lad Initiative. This social intervention strategy engages young men in group discussions to tackle gender inequality and misogyny in universities and wider society through positive change.
Cumberland Lodge is an educational charity recently celebrating its 70th anniversary, whose ethos is to promote more peaceful, cohesive and inclusive societies. The organisation brings together a diverse array of leaders in various fields, as well as students to discuss important social and ethical issues facing the world today.