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Personal profile

Biography

 

I am Professor of Clinical Toxicology in the Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics Unit of the University/BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science, and Director of the Centre for Pesticide Suicide Prevention, University of Edinburgh, and Consultant Physician at the National Poisons Information Service - Edinburgh unit and Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

I trained in medicine at Cambridge and Oxford, with an intercalated PhD at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. While a medical student, I became fascinated by self-poisoning in rural Sri Lanka and took a year off to perform a clinical trial in two Sri Lankan hospitals and to write the Oxford Handbook of Tropical Medicine. Following basic medical training, I returned to Sri Lanka for four years as a Wellcome Trust intermediate fellow before moving to Edinburgh to complete specialist medical training and build up a reserch group.

 

My research in a nutshell

My work’s major aim is to reduce deaths from pesticide and plant self-poisoning in rural Asia, a cause of over 200,000 premature deaths each year and a key global means of suicide. To do this, I perform clinical trials in South Asian district hospitals to better understand the pharmacology and effectiveness of antidotes and community-based controlled trials to identify effective public health interventions. This work is complemented by large animal translational studies of antidotes in Edinburgh, work with sociologists and anthropologists to better understand the meaning of self-harm, and work with the World Health Organisation and Food & Agriculture Organisation to aid implementation. I also perform clinical and pre-clinical research in Edinburgh to improve treatment of other forms of poisoning (such as from cyanide, alcohol, and contrast media) by developing and/or testing novel antidotes.

Education/Academic qualification

Clinical Toxicology, Doctor of Science, Univ Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Nov 2014

Clinical Medicine, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, University of Oxford

Award Date: 1 Jul 1998

Neuropathology, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Univ Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Aug 1994

Medical Sciences, Bachelor of Arts, Univ Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jun 1990

External positions

Expert Member, Joint Meeting on Pesticide Management, WHO, World Health Organization

Oct 2015 → …

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