Spotlight on Dr Mark Waugh
7 June 2017
This week the spotlight is on Dr Mark Waugh, Senior Research Fellow in the UCL Division of Medicine.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I'm a Senior Research Fellow in the UCL Division of Medicine, based at the Royal Free Hospital campus. My main roles these days are in the Applied Medical Sciences programme, where I am the Professional Experience Module Lead and the MSci Year Lead. However, as my job title suggests, I'm also heavily involved in research, especially in the areas of lipid and membrane biology.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
Except for three years spent away at the University of Leicester, where I obtained my PhD in molecular pharmacology, I have been working at UCL or UCL-affiliated institutes for the past 20 years, mainly in laboratory-based research. I should add that I was also an undergraduate at UCL and was part of the first ever group of students to graduate with a BSc in Biotechnology in 1993. From that point of view you could say that I am UCL through and through!
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
It has to be the Professional Experience module, which is an important element in the final year Applied Medical Sciences degree. It hasn't been straightforward to set up, but it has allowed our Year 3 students to hone their soft skills - much prized by prospective employers, in a wide range of academic and commercial environments, both in the UK and abroad.
It has enabled us to build relationships between the course and external bodies including charities, public sector organisations and business consultancies in a variety of sectors, and I'm very proud to report that it has even resulted in some of our students receiving job offers from their happy supervisors!
The course is also assessed in a novel way through the use of an online reflective diary, which the student updates on a daily basis. The idea behind this is to enable our science students, who are more used to dealing with hard facts and analysis, to engage with the world of work, society and indeed the wider community, with a different perspective.
Tell us about a project you are working on now that is top of your to-do list.
I am currently part of a major international collaborative project to characterise a gene mutation that causes a disease affecting the nervous system. The priority over the next few months will be to try and get this research work published in a peer-reviewed journal. Joint top of my to-do list is to work closely with my administrative colleagues in Applied Medical Sciences to ensure a successful launch of the MSci year in September 2017.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
The Joshua Tree by U2, Dr Zhivago and Great Expectations.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
What do you call a girl standing between two goal posts? Annette.
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Pope Francis, Usain Bolt and Michael McIntrye.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Take your time with career decisions and don't just take the first opportunity that comes along.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I don't drink and never have!
What is your favourite place?
The Comeragh Mountains, Ireland.