On Monday the Clinical School hosted a very successful visit by Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein, who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology of Medicine in 1985. The visit was organised by the Nobel Foundation, with the aim of inspiring young scientists. Adam Smith from the Foundation explained that they have taken Nobel Prize winners to places where they can help the science base to develop, such as China, India, Brazil – and now Cambridge! Michael Brown gave an outstanding lecture, describing how their investigations began with a child with familial hypercholesterolemia and led to identification of the LDL receptor, its crucial role in cholesterol homeostasis and the development of statins to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in the general population. Notably, they are in effective in familial hypercholesterolemia because they act through upregulation of the LDL receptor. In the latter part of the afternoon Joe and Mike were interviewed about their extraordinary collaboration, which has lasted for more than forty years. One particular point that chimed with me was their strong view that “if you don’t understand science, you don’t understand medicine”. This is very much our philosophy in terms of medical education in Cambridge and I think distinguishes us from many other UK Medical Schools.
We took advantage of the visit by Brown and Goldstein to ask them to open the Clifford Allbutt Building. This was a very enjoyable occasion. Sir Gregory Winter told us a bit about the history of the building and the ghosts we were likely to encounter. Mike Brown said that he thought this was the first time that he’d opened a building and certainly the first time that he and Jo Goldstein had opened a building together.
Another enjoyable occasion on the same day was an event held at the University Technical College by Cambridge University Health Partners. The main aim was to thank Sir Keith Peters for his work as Chairman of CUHP over the first six years of its existence. The UTC is a really fantastic facility which has been built extremely fast and will train 14 to 19-year olds. An excellent laboratory in the building is being named after Sir Keith Peters in recognition of his and CUHP’s role in sponsoring the UTC, and of Keith’s extraordinary contribution to the broader Cambridge medical landscape.
Finally, Last week I went to the Harveian Oration at the Royal College of Physicians. This is the major annual lecture of the College and this year it was given by Sir John Gurdon, one of our Cambridge Nobel Laureates. Further emphasising the excellence of biomedical research in Cambridge, the lecture was preceded by a presentation of the Baly Medalto our own Sir Stephen O’Rahilly…..