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Spotlight on Ian Murdoch

28 June 2018

Mr Ian Murdoch

This week the spotlight is on Mr Ian Murdoch, Honorary Senior Lecturer, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am an honorary senior lecturer at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. My area of research is epidemiology and public health with particular relation to the African continent and glaucomas. I am also leading a sub-speciality training programme for ophthalmology in West Africa.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I was previously a Senior Lecturer since 2004 and before that was working as a clinician with honorary status at UCL. I did my preclinical medical training and intercalated BSc at UCL before moving on to Westminster Medical School and returned as an MD student from 1989 to 1991, living in Nigeria working on a major project in River Blindness.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

The communities we were working with in River Blindness are the first in West Africa to now be declared free of the disease.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

For ten years we have been developing sub-specialist training in ophthalmology for West Africa. The principal is training in West Africa, for West Africa by West Africa so no person need leave the region in order to obtain first class ophthalmic care for their condition. This project has involved organising regular meetings with relevant people in West Africa and has resulted in the following advances:

1. The training is modular with online (via smart phone) courses followed by intensive 1-2 week ‘hands on’ courses for surgical and other skills needing face to face training.

2. We have raised £3.5 million and built a new integrated eye unit and training facility in Accra Ghana in which to run the ‘hands on’ courses.

3. The training is being integrated in the West African College of Surgeons Fellowship in ophthalmology.

4. Train the trainers courses are being undertaken to bring the training principals and methods right up to date throughout the region.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

Album: Echo System by Omm (this choice changes regularly).

Film: Black pond.

Novel: The Borderliners Peter Hoeg.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

“Sir, you are drunk.”

Churchill replied: "And you, Bessie, are ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning, and you will still be ugly."

..or Spike Milligan’s epitaph on his gravestone

"I told you I was sick."

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Barrie Jones, Fred Hollows, Hannah Faal (sorry all ophthalmology).

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t take on too many things at once, do enough to keep you busy but be able to complete well.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I am now learning bass guitar.

What is your favourite place?

A live concert.