60 seconds with... Dr Mark Preece
Dr Mark Preece is a postdoctoral Senior Lecturer for the BSc (Hons) Clinical Pharmacology at St George’s University of London. He received his PhD on the central nervous system control of the baroreceptor reflex from Monash University, Australia. He also trained at both Oxford and Cambridge where he did work on fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging). In 2006 he became course director for the BSc (Hons) Pharmacology at Kingston University and later in 2014 he became course director for the BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science.
We grabbed a quick 60 seconds with this busy course director to ask a few questions about his career, his current work, and more...
Hi Mark, please tell us a bit more about your current work...
As a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology, the main focus of my current work is contribution to the creation and development of the UK's first BSc(Hons) in Clinical Pharmacology. Naturally, this also includes delivery of the created material. For me, with a background as a research pharmacologist this encompasses theoretical rather than clinical pharmacology (pharmacodynamics in particular).
What was your PhD research focused on?
My PhD focussed on the brain's control of the baroreceptor reflex, a reflex that keeps your blood pressure in check and stops it going too high or too low. As such my PhD was very much a meeting point between cardiovascular pharmacology and neuropharmacology.
What is it about your field of work that excites you most?
The constant evolution of pharmacology as a subject as we find out more about disease processes that affect us.
Did you always want to be a scientist when you were younger, and why?
Not always, I did toy with idea of being a pilot, but a biology field trip in my 'A' level days put me firmly on the science pathway.
What achievement are you most proud of in your career so far?
I was awarded the Oral Presentation Prize by the Australian Society for Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology for talking about the take home message of my PhD.
What's the most important lesson you have learned in your career so far?
When to persevere and when to change direction.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing scientists today?
The enormity of data that is generated and making sense of it all.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work?
As an educationalist this has meant finding new and novel ways of delivering taught material - something that I strive for in any case, but which has been accelerated by the pandemic.
What advice would you give to a young life scientists just starting out in their career?
Find what interests you the most and use this as a motivational factor as you progress in your career.
Who has been your greatest role model, and why?
My PhD supervisor, for showing what you can do with perseverance.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Creating, reviewing or delivering material for the course, along with other activities that help to ensure smooth running of the course. Typically, I also attend meetings over the course of the week to discuss aspects of running the course and that affect the functioning of the university in a wider context.
Outside of your career, what do you enjoy doing most?
Mountain biking and listening to jazz music (but not at the same time).
If you weren't a scientist, what do you think you would be doing instead?
What do you think is the greatest scientific discovery of all time?
Unravelling the structure of DNA.
And finally, what's your favorite science joke?
Why can't you trust an atom?...because they make up everything.
Thank you so much for speaking to us, Mark! We wish you all the best for the future.
You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn
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