From Sports Captain to Genome Mapper
Sitting Down With… Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for England, and Senior Responsible Officer for Genomics in the National Health Service, London, UK.
Luke Turner | | Interview
What led you to a career in pulmonary pathophysiology?
My personal sporting journey drove my initial interest in human physiology. As a schoolgirl, I represented my county in hockey. I also played a variety of different sports and therefore appreciated the importance of having a highly tuned body. I became particularly interested in the development of the cardiorespiratory system, so pursued this route in my training and joined the National Health Service (NHS), where I was able to use physiological and biochemical principles to study how disease affects the respiratory system.
One turning point in my career was completing a PhD in basic science that was sponsored by, and closely linked to, industry. During my career in academia, I learned the importance of not only aligning basic research with routine care, but also working with industry on drug discovery and clinical trials. In addition, while working at University Hospital Birmingham, I led several service development and transformation projects, where I saw things from a service management and delivery perspective. When I started at the Department of Health in 2002, I brought all these elements together into the role of Chief Scientific Officer for England. There, I’m involved in everything from combining service management and planning with transformational change, right through to aligning research with routine care to drive improvement in healthcare.
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