the ocdem update - university of oxford · read on to find the update of what we ... tled...
Welcome to the fourth edition of
Editor: Leanne Hodson
O C D E M Q u a r t e r l y U p d a t e
A u g u s t 2 0 1 4 , I s s u e 4
Happy Summer! We have a bumper of a summer edition for you to peruse whilst sitting in your deck chair enjoying the sunshine (don’t forget to put on some sunscreen!). So sit back, relax and read on to find out what has been happening in OCDEM over the last few months!
Athena SWAN Update Read on to find the update of what we have been doing; have we been listening?
The OCDEM Update By Steve Gough
There is always something to write about
and highlight in
SION, indeed it
is often difficult
to know what to
one of the greatest activities in recent
weeks, involving so many of you, was the
OCDEM Public Engagement Event enti-
tled “Unravelling the Mysteries of Diabe-
tes” on the 4th June. The feedback that
has been received from so many different
people is a great endorsement of the par-
ticipation of everyone and both the hard
work and organisational skills of Matt
Simmonds and Katharine Owen in put-
ting the day together. It is important to
showcase our work and achievements to
the public so may I once again say a big
thank you to everyone.
I have also had the great pleasure of be-
ing able write numerous all@ocdem
emails congratulating the efforts of
many. We have celebrated the election
of Patrik Rorsman and Raj Thakker to
the Fellowship of the Royal Society and
I’m sure many of you will be looking for-
ward to the Minkowski prize lecture to be
given by Anna Gloyn, at the EASD in Vi-
enna this year. The Postdoctoral Re-
search Fellow and Clinical Research Fel-
low Training Programme interviews sup-
ported jointly by Novo Nordisk and the
University of Oxford saw a number of
high quality applications and I hope to be
able to confirm and congratulate the suc-
cessful applicants in the near future. I can
however now confirm that Jeremy Tom-
linson, who I mentioned in the last edi-
tion of OCDEMENSION took up his chair
in OCDEM on 4th August. From a clinical
perspective, the team led by Garry Tan
have been interviewing a large number of
nurses and podiatrists for the new posts
that have been developed through the
Trust. There has been a lot of interest in
these posts, so there will be more new
faces around the building in the near fu-
Finally, I would like to update you on
some new developments in OCDEM. As
many of you will know we have been
looking to upgrade and expand our tissue
culture facilities. This is ongoing and until
the work is complete, I hope the new
temporary facilities are providing at least
some of the space that you need. Space
within OCDEM is always at a premium as
we continue to be successful and expand
both the research and clinical services. I
am pleased however to be able to tell you
that the proposed conversion of the Un-
dercroft (the basement of OCDEM) has
passed through all the necessary Univer-
sity and Trust processes and work will
shortly commence to provide much need-
ed desks and meeting room space.
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Dr Anna Gloyn has been awarded the 2014 Minkow-ski Prize by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). Anna will be delivering the 49th Minkowski lecture at the 50th EASD Annual Meet-ing in Vienna on Thursday 18th Septem-ber 2014. The title of her lecture will be ‘Unravelling causal mechanisms in diabe-tes pathogenesis’. Dr Caroline Gorvin (Thakker Group) won the Eugenia Rosemberg Abstract Award for her oral presentation entitled ‘Functional Evalua-tion of Rare Genetic Variants in the Prolactin Receptor’ at the ICE/ENDO 2014 meeting in Chicago. Elisa Vergari (Rorsman Group) won the Helmsley Charitable Trust Abstract Awards in Type 1 Diabetes for her poster on ‘Insulin In-duced Hypoglycemia: Shed-ding Light on the Role of Somatostatin’ at the ICE/ENDO 2014 meeting in Chicago. Dr Michael Theodorakis (DTU) has been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Col-lege of Physicians, the highest level of membership of the College.
Natasha Ng (Gloyn/Rorsman Group) won the OxTALENT poster crea-tion workshop award for the innovative design of her poster created for the OCDEM public engage-ment event "Unravelling the mysteries of diabetes". Dr Charlotte Green (Hodson Group) received a Top Abstract Award for her presentation entitled ‘Establishing a human hepatocyte cell line for the study of NAFLD’ at the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) Basic Science Retreat held in Seale-Hayne, Devon.
Dr Matt Simmonds (Gough Group) has been awarded a Grant Award from Novo Nordisk for his project ‘Role of Type 1 dia-betes (T1D) susceptibility genes in predicting long term pancreas transplant function in T1D patients: pilot study’. Professors Mark McCarthy and Rury Holman appear
in the 2014 ‘highly cited re-searchers' list pub-lished by Thompson Reuters.
Dr Martijn van de Bunt and Dr Char-lotte Green have been
awarded Novo Nordisk fellowships.
Dr Angie Bethel, Dr Anna Gloyn, Dr Leanne Hodson and Dr Katharine Owen have been awarded the title of Associate Professor
Good News Bandwagon
Pam Dyson What is your role in OCDEM? I am a research dietitian employed by the University, although sometimes I feel a bit more like a minister without portfolio! I have two main roles – the first is CEO of the Oxford Health Alliance (www.oxha.org), a registered charity founded by David Matthews in 2003 and the second is as a consultant research dietitian, which means I liaise with PIs in OCDEM and provide dietetic support for various research projects. As one of the very few research dietitians in the UK, I also use my expertise to promote evidence-based dietary advice for people with diabetes. I sit on the Professional Conference Organising Committee for the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference, I was part of the Diabetes UK nutritional sub-committee responsible for updating the nutritional recommendations for preventing and treating diabetes in 2011 and I wrote the diabetes chapter for the recently published 5th edition of the Manuel of Dietetic Practice. I am often called upon to present at conferences and symposia, which I particularly enjoy. The Oxford Health Alliance (OxHA) takes up the majority of my time. OxHA is dedicated to pre-venting and reducing the global impact of non-communicable disease (NCD), with an emphasis on diabe-tes. It supports innovative action with diverse stakeholders around three modifiable lifestyle risk factors –
unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use. We have just completed a large, five-year study called Community Interventions for Health (CIH) in over a million people in selected com-munities in China, India and Mexico and have shown that interventions to improve health at the population level have a positive impact on the risk factors for NCD. Examples of the kind of in-terventions that we have initiated include working with the city council in Hangzhou, China to introduce a public bicycle system, introducing healthy school meals in Mexico and providing bicycles to schoolgirls in Kerala, India. During the course of the study, CIH staff collaborated with the city council in Hangzhou, China to introduce a city-wide, free public bicycle service. In India, girls are discouraged from taking part in sports and physical activity once they reach puberty. CIH provided bicycles and cycle training to girls to support increased
physical activity. Mexico is renowned for having the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world and the highest intake of sugar sweetened beverages (usually fizzy drinks). CIH worked with the school authorities to introduce healthy school meals, ban fizzy drinks and provide drinking fountains providing clean water to pupils.
How long have you been in this position? I have been working full-time in research in OCDEM since 2004, when I joined David Mat-thew’s clinical research team, and as CEO of OxHA since 2010. However, I have been part of diabetes research in Oxford since 1991, when I first joined the DRL at the old RI to work with Robert Turner and Rury Holman on the Fasting Hyperglycaemia Study. Since then, I have taken part in various research projects and I have also kept my hand in with clinical work and was employed part-time by the NHS until 2004.
What are your favourite bits of the job? I am irritatingly organised and efficient and love nothing more than being given a problem to sort out! For example, organising and running our CIH project included liaising with our partners in China, India and Mexico (many of whom did not speak English), ensuring that the project was delivered on time and within budget and that the work we did was aca-demically rigorous. I also very much enjoy writing and presenting at conferences.
What are your least favourite bits of the job? The two little words ‘food diary’ strike me with terror. Many of the research projects I have been involved with have required assessment of the participants’ dietary intake, and we use a three-day food diary to evaluate this. In order to translate foods into nutrients, each individual food is coded with a unique identifier and the weight is recorded. These data are then run through a computerised food analysis programme and daily nutrient intakes are calculated. Cod-ing food diaries is mind-numbingly boring and I can think of little worse than 500 food diaries squatting on my desk awaiting coding.
What inspires you to get out of bed each morning? My family complain that I have the ‘happy bunny’ gene, so I don’t need much inspiration to get out of bed in the morning. Either that, or my husband (recently retired) gently kicking me out to make him a cup of tea.
When you are not at work what do you like to do? My husband and I are keen travellers and we both enjoy get-ting off the beaten track – the idea of lazing on a beach on holiday is completely foreign to us and in September we’ll be trekking in the Namib desert and going on safari in Etosha national park. Closer to home, I love gardening, especially my vegetable garden.
What is your favourite guilty pleasure? Strictly Come Dancing
Tell us an interesting thing about yourself. I’ve practised yoga for most of my adult life and am a qualified yoga teacher (although I don't now teach). See to the right for a photo of me practising Sirsasana (headstand).
Introducing the page 3 pin-up
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Professor Jeremy Tomlinson has recently joined OCDEM from University of Birming-ham where he was a PI and Consultant Endocrinologist. Jeremy and his team, Laura Gathercole (senior post-doctoral scientist), Nikolaos Nikolaou (PhD stu-dent), Conor Woods (post-doctoral clinical fellow) and Jonathan Hazlehurst (Wellcome Trust Clinical research training fellow) will be undertaking a variety of in vitro, rodent and translational clinical stud-ies that explore the role of steroid hor-mones in the control of metabolic pheno-type. Jeremy, his wife, Vicky and their 2 children (Sam 10 and Elliot 7) moved to Woodstock recently. Jeremy is leaving the Malvern Hills behind him, but is hoping to find some suitable mountain bike trails in and around the Oxford region. In addition, he also has diverse musical interests play-ing both the violin and concertina!
Laura McCulloch (Rorsman group) joined from Uni-versity of Exeter Medical School where she was a Postdoctoral Re-
search Associate in the Adipose Tissue Biology
Katie Scott – has joined the Gough Group as an adminis-trative assis-tant; Katie pre-viously worked in Retail in Bicester Village
Claire Duff – Research Tech-nician (Gough Group), came from Kings Col-lege London where she was a Research Tech-nician
Clarissa Coveney (McCarthy group) joined from Kings Col-lege London where she was a student.
Leavers Maria Tennant - Communications Manager in DTU left to join a Healthcare Associa-tion
Selman Mirza—a medical statistician in DTU has now moved on from his post .
Alex Hamilton—a research technician in the Gough group has gone off to travel the world before returning to OCDEM to un-dertake his DPhil.
Anurag Kappai—a statistical programmer in DTU –has left to join the Pharmaceuti-cal sector
Barbara Fielding – a senior scientist in Oxlip has moved on to pursue her post in Surrey
Victoria Mills – a research nurse (McCarthy/CRU) has now moved on from this post to undertake a career change.
Winitha Liyange – a statistician in DTU has left to join the Pharmaceutical sector
The Maternity / Paternity Corner
Births Congratulations to Carla Burrows (McCarthy) gave birth to baby Evie and Catriona Hilton (OxLip) gave birth to baby Fern. Congratulations! Welcome back to Jana Rundle, Angie Bethel and Kathy Curran who have re-turned from maternity leave.
Parent Group The next parent group meeting is sched-uled for Tuesday 2 September at 10.30am, the meeting will take place in the North End Lecture Theatre. If you are due to go on maternity/paternity leave soon or will be returning soon and are interested in being involved then please let Charlotte Kelly (née Cushing) know.
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We would like to introduce and extend a very warm
welcome to our new staff.
By Leanne Hodson and Lynne Scott It has been just less than 12 months since the department achieved Athena Swan Bronze status under the
umbrella of the Nuffield Department of Medicine. By 2015 we need to have achieved silver status when
making funding applications to the NIHR and it is expected that other funding bodies will follow suit.
What have we achieved in the last 11 months? Have we listened?
Communication: This is our 4th bumper edition of our quarterly newsletter OCDEMension. This newsletter was intro-
duced as a result of staff saying that they would like to know more about what is going on in the building. The newsletter
now includes articles from the NHS and we welcome contributions from anyone in the department.
Induction: The OCDEM induction booklet has been replaced by factsheets which include information on Who We Are (an introduc-
tion to the Principal Investigators and NHS Consultants in the department) along with information on Graduate Studies, Health and
Safety and Staff Benefits plus much more. These factsheets can be found on the OCDEM website: http://www.ocdem.ox.ac.uk/
The factsheets will be added to over the coming months including a factsheet on the OCDEM Senior Academic
Faculty. Feedback on these factsheets should be sent to Lynne Scott or Charlotte Kelly (née Cushing).
As part of the department induction process Charlotte Kelly (the Senior HR Officer) now meets with new start-
ers after they have been in the department for approximately 3 months to find out how things are going in their
Use of Fixed Term Contracts: The 2012 staff survey showed that staff were concerned over the continuous use of fixed term con-
tracts. During the last 12 months the department have moved 13 members of staff to Open Ended Contracts
and 7 to permanent contracts. Staff contracts will continue to be reviewed periodically and where appropriate
contracts will be moved to open ended/permanent. For more information about contract types please see
Lynne Scott or Charlotte Kelly or go to: http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/personnel/recruit/contracts/type/
Personal Development: In November 2012 the department rolled out a Personal Development Review (PDR) Scheme which was approved by the OCDEM Management Board. Since the beginning of 2014 there have been 46 PDRs carried out. The scheme ena-bles staff, where appropriate to discuss and agree with their line manager their forthcoming objectives and to understand how those objectives fit with the Department’s.
An annual PDR discussion allows staff to: – Review the progress they have made over the last year – Discuss additional support they might need to undertake their work over the coming year – Discuss career plans and what support the department or central university can do to help fulfil those plans.
Further details of the Departments PDR scheme can be found on the OCDEM Website: http://www.ocdem.ox.ac.uk/personal-development-review-scheme. If you would like to discuss the PDR system/process then please contact either Lynne Scott or Char-lotte Kelly. CAREER PLANNING—Advice Sessions: We currently have an arrangement with the Careers Ser-vice (http://www.careers.ox.ac.uk/) for monthly advice sessions to be held for research staff which can be used for exploring career options, guidance in making decisions, improving CVs and address-ing any other career-related needs. The next session will be held on Wednesday 10th September 2014 in the Small Seminar Room 09:00 until 12:30 and further sessions will be held on 15th Octo-ber and 12th November 2014. Appointments need to be pre-booked through the Careers Service on 01865 274646
Athena SWAN Update
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Mentoring Scheme: RDM have introduced a mentoring scheme for all members of the de-partment. The aim of the scheme is to assist staff and students to achieve personal and pro-fessional growth through a mentoring relationship that provides support as they progress and develop within the University. Details of the scheme can be found: http://www.rdm.ox.ac.uk/mentoring
University Research Lecturer: In response to staff asking how you become a University Research Lecturer (URL) information has now been post on the OCDEM website: http://www.ocdem.ox.ac.uk/how-to-become-a-university-research-lecturer-url
FAMILY FRIENDLY—Meeting Times: Meetings and seminars now take place during core (10am—3pm) working hours. In particular, the timings of the OCDEM Management Board meeting and Graduate studies training have been changed, and this has lead to in-creased participation.
Family Friendly Factsheet: A factsheet providing information on family leave, paternity leave, flexible working, nursery information has been produced and is now issued to all new members of staff and any staff member who goes on maternity leave or paternity leave. The factsheet can be found on the OCDEM Website: http://www.ocdem.ox.ac.uk/personnel
Parenting Group: A new parenting group has been set up in the department which gives staff and students a chance to share experi-ences, raise concerns and generally support each other. The group meets quarterly over a coffee and snacks. The next meeting is due to be held on Tuesday 2nd September at 10.30 am in the North End of the Lecture Theatre. If you would like to join this group then please contact Charlotte Kelly. University Scheme- Returners Carer’s Fund: A Returning Carer’s Fund has been established as part of the Vice-Chancellor’s Diversi-ty Fund for the advancement of diversity among academic and research staff at Oxford. Applications are invited from women and men for funding of up to £5k to support the development of their research career following a break to care for a child or close relative. In exceptional circumstances, larger amounts may be awarded, up to an absolute maximum of £10k.Support could include, but is not limited to: teaching buy-out, training or professional development, short-term secondments, conference attendance, short-term research or administrative assistance, funding visits to Oxford by your research collaborator(s). Further information on the fund can be found at http://intranet.medsci.ox.ac.uk/returning-carers-fund. Hopefully the above show that a lot has been going on improving things for all staff in the department. If you have any comments or queries or would like to know more about Athena Swan and what we are doing then do not hesitate to contact either Leanne Hodson or Lynne Scott or a member of the OCDEM Athena SWAN Self Assessment Team. Details of the team can be found http://www.ocdem.ox.ac.uk/athena-swan-self-assessment-team
Athena SWAN Update continued
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AHOY there me hearties! Rapidly approaching is the next A-Team event – not to be missed! Halloween promises to be as spook-tacular as usual, with another wacky theme! As usual there will be a bake sale, week commencing 27th October (everyone is welcome to contribute), and we will be asking members of staff to support our two chosen charities for this year; Churchill Partners and Sobell House Hospice. More details will be released closer to the time, watch this space. Anchors Away!
SAVE the DATE for some festive fun: The OCDEM Staff and Family Event will take place on Saturday 13th of December from 2.30—5pm in OCDEM. More details will be released in due course!
A date for your diary: The OCDEM Christmas Lunch and Quiz will take place on Wednesday 17th December. Details to come.
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Senior Academic Faculty (SAF)
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OCDEM Public Engagement Event: Unravelling the Mysteries of Diabetes By Dr Matt Simmonds, SAF Chair
Firstly a massive thank you to everyone who took part in the OCDEM Public Engagement Event in June and helped to make this event such a success. On the day of the event everyone pulled together to transform our pa-tient waiting area into a diabetes research fair with over 19 different stalls. Our fear of no one turning up was soon dismissed with queues of people appearing half an hour before the event opened. With between 150-200 people turning up during the event, it was great to see everyone interacting with the public and for the public to see our passion for diabetes and endocrine research. It was great to see Team OCDEM pull together and see everyone wearing a blue ‘Team OCDEM heart research’ T-shirt (even if some of you took a little persuading…..)
Feedback from members of the public was really positive including:
‘I expected an afternoon of lectures but this was much better!’
‘Well organized, clear and colourful posters’
‘I was impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of all the staff I
We also received press coverage of our event on BBC Radio Oxford, Jack
FM, a two page spread in the Oxford Times and even got #OCDEM
trending on Twitter!!!
Thank you as well for your feedback on how we can build on this event
for the future. Whilst we plan to hold a similar event in 2016, for 2015
we are planning an event for local sixth form students on science ca-
reers so watch this space!!!
Senior Academic Faculty (SAF)
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The Return of ….OCDEM Friday Seminars Series
The Friday seminar series will be back from early October 2014 and the sched-
ule is starting to fill up. If you would like to sign up to give a talk the new sched-
ule for 2014-2015 is just by the entrance to the OCDEM kitchen.
Any queries just contact Dr Sarah Cross - [email protected]
The Art of Networking: A Joint Graduate Studies and
As scientists and clinicians networking is a key part to any suc-
cessful career and with conferences and meetings part of eve-
ryone’s schedule the opportunity to network is all around us.
Whilst I think we have all gone to an event and been in ore of
that person who can work the room effortlessly, the opportuni-
ty to learn more about the Art of Networking was appealing to
Whilst this was a step into the unknown for many of us, the fantastic
Sue…Sue Tonks proved to be a fun and entertaining guide. The
event started off with an ‘informal’ coffee break but unbeknown to
us Sue…Sue Tonks was using this to show us the different type of
groups seen at any event and how to recognise those group that had
the open mat ready for us to join.
Throughout the next few hours Sue guided over 40 graduate stu-
dents, postdocs, statisticians and fellows from across all groups
within OCDEM through how to improve our networking skills with
practical advice ranging from how to make small talk and how to
identify that ‘AH-HA’ moment.
What was fascinating about the event was that everyone took home
something different that will help improve their networking skills.
Due to the success of this event Graduate Studies and SAF are look-
ing forward to working together again in the future to bring other
training opportunities to OCDEM.
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Congratulations to Saima Mughal and Martijn van de Bunt for successfully defended their DPhils and Valerie Babin-sky for successfully completing confirmation of status.
WATCH OUT FOR: New graduate students will be starting soon. A welcome event will take place at the start of the academic year, details will be posted closer to the time.
Valerie Babinsky and Neelam Hassanali organised a Graduate Studies End of the Year BBQ to cele-brate a successful academic year 2013/14. The gath-ering was held on Friday 8th August at Green Tem-pleton College. The event started out in sunshine and ended with rain, but a good time was had by all.
Its time to put your abstracts together for the Elsevier/OCDEM Junior Research Prizes—all the details you need can be found on the post-ers (like the one to the right) around the build-ing or go to http://www.ocdem.ox.ac.uk/annual-ocdem-elsevier-competition
Introducing the THAKKER Group By Caroline Gorvin Welcome to the Thakker group (or Thakker’s Slackers as we have more affectionately become known). I’m sure most people are aware of the group, either due to our fre-quent Christmas quiz wins, almost as frequent lab floods, or because we are often found in the coffee area. We do, however, do some science on occasion. The research within the group is loosely connected by the theme of calcium homeostasis. We investigate genetic causes of disorders of calcium homeostasis and their mo-lecular mechanisms of action. More specifically the group can be divided into three research themes of: 1) neuroen-docrine tumours and parathyroid development; 2) calcium disorders of the kidney; and 3) calcium sensing receptor and disorders of its signalling pathway. The group has undergone lots of changes within the last year with the departure of several members of the old order. Raj takes his approach to fulfilling the requirements of the Athena Swan Charter very seriously by recruiting predominantly females. At present, the group consists of a mixture of scientists and clinicians. The neuroendocrine team consists of: Mark Stevenson whose research focuses on developing ways to target cancer cells to deliver therapeutics; Kate Lines who uses novel compounds to target epigenetic pathways involved in cancer; Kreepa Kooblall who has recently joined the group and is working on transcription factors related to parathyroid development; and Gerard Walls who uses mouse models to investigate neuroendocrine tumour development. Sian Piret heads the kidney projects within the group and is using next generation sequencing to discover genetic causes of calcium disorders of the kidney. Caroline Gorvin also occasionally dabbles in these kidney projects, though she works predominantly on re-ceptor trafficking and cell signalling of the calcium sensing receptor and prolactin receptor. We have three students in the lab: Valerie Babinsky, Sarah Howles and Angela Rogers, all of whom work on aspects of the calcium sensing receptor pathway. You may also have seen Ben Soukup, a trainee surgeon, in the lab recently who is hoping to start a PhD within the group in due course. Paul Christie is the lab manager within the group, while Tracey Walker, Raj’s PA, diligently organis-
es Raj’s life. Most of us are pretty friendly and approachable and are happy to help out if we can. As we al-most never throw anything away (Raj may have shed a tear when the 377 se-quencers were deemed irreparable), we have lots of equipment and reagents for both current and archaic molecular biology techniques that people are wel-come to use.
Getting to know the group
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Introducing PODIATRY By Jodie Buckingham Who are we? We’re a team of specialist diabetes podiatrists based in OCDEM. We provide foot care to patients with active diabetic foot disease. GPs throughout Oxfordshire will refer patients to us. Where are we? The Diabetic Foot Clinic is based on the ground floor of the OCDEM building, at the far end of the waiting room. It is a very busy clinic, regularly booked with over 50 patients per day. This manages to take up most of the waiting room at OCDEM on some occasions! What do we do? We’re one of the busiest outpatient areas in OUH Trust, with over 8000 patient contacts per year, a number which is increasing every year. We manage a wide range of foot conditions, mainly foot ulcers, soft tissue infections, bone infections, Char-cot’s arthropathy and fractures. These conditions are secondary to the complications of diabetes especially peripheral neuropathy, ischaemia and foot deformity. We try to resolve the patient’s acute foot problem while maintaining as much foot shape and function as possible. Where we can’t do this, we try to prevent further deterioration and/or amputation. To do this we use various methods including sharp debridement, pressure offloading, infection management, footwear/Orthoses provision and patient education. We also work closely with other specialist teams to successfully achieve this – including the vascular, orthopaedics, bone infection, infectious diseases and the diabe-tes departments. We also provide an inpatient service across the four hospital sites – we are in the process of expanding this team and improving the care of patients with diabetic foot problems while they are in hospital. Look out for further updates on this in fu-ture editions of OCDEMENSION. Who do we work with? There is an Oxfordshire wide pathway, based on NICE guidance, for patients who are at risk of developing diabetic foot problems. Within OCDEM, we provide care to those patients at the most acute stage of the pathway. Patients are re-ferred into OCDEM from the GPs and we work closely with the community podiatrist team (who are not specialists in diabetes), and we aim to transfer the patients back to their care when the patient is better. The links we have with the community team are very strong, and in fact, many of the members of the podiatry team in OCDEM are employed by the community service and provide a link between the two organisations. These staff provide clinical care in OCDEM and also in main community hub clinics (Oxford City, Ab-ingdon, Witney and Banbury).
Laurie King is the Clinical Lead for the Dia-betic Foot and heads up the Diabetic Foot Clinic here in OCDEM (absent from photo). From left to right in the above photograph the team are; Laura Kelly (CDL Podiatrist - Link with Banbury), Fran Martinez (Receptionist), Annette Potter (Receptionist), Louisa Fawcett (CDL Podiatrist – Link with City), Briony Doubleday (Hospital Podiatry/MSK Operational Lead), Audrey Dandridge (Hospital Podiatrist), Angela Hillier (Hospital Podiatrist), Emma Howard (CDL Podiatrist – Link with Witney), Jodie Buckingham
(Hospital Podiatry Team Leader), Kayleigh Bowden (CDL Podiatrist – Link with Abingdon), Steve Warner (Hospital Podiatrist). Also absent from the photograph are; Kirsty Yates (Hospital Podiatrist), Nikki James (CDL Podiatrist – Link with City) and Kerry White (Inpatient Administrator).
Getting to know the group
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The constituent divisions of RDM maintain their own identity and have substantially devolved administration, but collaboration
across the divisions is close and productive, and they are supported by RDM Strategic. The role of RDM Strategic is to assist the Head
of Department, the divisional Heads, senior academics and the lead divisional administrators with work related to complex projects
& strategic initiatives, and to oversee the operational non-academic management of RDM’s constituent divisions. It also supports
RDM-wide activities such as graduate studies, Athena SWAN, career development & training, capital projects, and public engage-
ment & outreach. Establishing a strong identity and visibility for RDM both within the University and further afield also falls under
the remit of RDM Strategic. RDM Strategic is based on Level 6 of the West Wing of the John Radcliffe Hospital.
Lynn Clee is the Head of Administration and Finance. She is responsible for developing, articulating, and de-
livering RDM's strategic goals, and for defining the administrative support required to deliver those goals.
Lynn is responsible for all financial management and planning, personnel management and planning, depart-
mental governance, operational non-academic management within RDM and she runs RDM Strategic. Lynn
joined the University in 1992 and has spent 22 years working as Departmental Administrator within the Medi-
cal Sciences Division; 12 years in the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (including a six
month secondment to Wellington Square), and 8 years in Cardiovascular Medicine. Outside of work Lynn is a
long-suffering supporter of Gillingham Football Club, but finds solace in her garden.
Chris Price is the Head of Strategic Planning and Major Projects. Like Lynn, he too is responsible for develop-
ing, articulating, and delivering RDM's strategic goals. In particular Chris is responsible for senior academic
recruitment, capital planning, estate & space planning, Athena SWAN, and providing capital project advice &
guidance. Chris joined the University in 1993 and has spent 19 years working in various roles within the Medi-
cal Sciences Division; including 10 years as Deputy Secretary of the Medical Sciences Division as well as de-
partmental administration roles in the Clinical Trial Service Unit and the Division of Public Health and Primary
Care. Outside of work he has an unhealthy obsession with road cycling, cheese and the weather.
Ruth McCaffrey is the Research Strategy Coordinator. Her role is to support and further develop the scientific
research within RDM. Responsibilities include liaising with academics and researchers to identify new areas for
collaboration and new initiatives, coordination of internal funding calls, supporting early career researchers,
identification of new funding opportunities, running the Novo Nordisk fellowship programme, managing the
RDM website and developing communication and public engagement activities within RDM. Ruth works part
time (0.7 FTE). Ruth joined the university in 2006 working as a Senior Project Manager in the then Department
of Clinical Pharmacology. She has worked with Prof Hugh Watkins for the past 6 years managing the BHF
Centre of Research Excellence and for the past 2 years working within RDM. Ruth is a scientist by training, with a PhD in develop-
mental genetics from the University of Cambridge in 2000. Following a postdoc working on HIV vaccine development in the US, she
left research to work as a Scientific Programme Manager in Science Foundation Ireland (the Irish equivalent to the MRC), prior to
joining the university. Outside of work, Ruth is mum to two young daughters and climbs mountains, skis and sails whenever the op-
portunity presents (which is not often enough living in Oxford!).
Bob Mahoney is the Graduate Studies Administrator. His role is to ensure RDM’s recruitment of and provision
for graduate students from pre-application through to examination is of an exceptional standard. Bob is re-
sponsible for coordinating recruitment and admissions processes for graduate students, running the RDM
Scholars Programme, monitoring student progress, graduate studies policies and procedures, advising on
complex student casework and servicing the Graduate Studies Committee.
Getting to know: RDM Strategic
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Bob joined the University in 2010 as a temporary Graduate Studies Assistant in Social Sciences. He then moved to a similar role in the
Faculty of Oriental Studies before joining the Medical Sciences Division, initially on secondment. He took up the graduate studies
post in RDM in July 2013. He also teaches philosophy part-time for the Department of Continuing Education. Outside of work Bob
likes to take photographs, mostly of landscapes or abstract patterns, and more recently of his baby daughter, Rowan.
Mark Evans and Nathalie Marten are Trainee Administrators who joined RDM in March of this year. They are being trained in all
aspects of Departmental Administration and on all the relevant university systems, training in RDM Strategic, and the RDM Divi-
Mark is currently based in NDCLS , assisting with personnel matters and in RDM Strategic , assisting Ruth
with certain aspects of her role and the RDM website in particular. He has recently developed the ‘Working at
RDM’ section on the RDM website. Mark joined the university in 2011 with the arrival of Prof Paul Riley’s re-
search group in DPAG. Mark was their laboratory manager and prior to this was a postdoc in Paul’s research
group. He holds a PhD from UCL in diabetic vascular disease. Outside of work, Mark tries to find time to do
some walking, climbing and camping whenever possible.
Nathalie is currently based in the WIMM , assisting with finance matters having previously spent time in
OCDEM , assisting with grant management. During September she will be covering personnel in
OCDEM .Nathalie joined the University in March of this year. Prior to this she worked as an Assistant Conser-
vation Officer/Ecologist in the Freshwater Habitats Trust. She holds a MSc in Biodiversity from the University
of Sussex. Outside of work, Nathalie likes hiking, gardening and baking yummy cakes!
Name Email address Phone number
Lynn Clee [email protected] 234653
Chris Price [email protected] 07769 251607
Ruth McCaffrey [email protected] 234649
Bob Mahoney [email protected]
Mark Evans [email protected] 231458 (RDM) 220595 (NDCLS)
Nathalie Marten [email protected] 222522 (WIMM) 857040 (OCDEM)
Getting to know: RDM Strategic
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On the horizon: September: The training events for patients with adrenal insufficiency continue successfully and are very well attended by the patients and their family members. The 10th Steroid Study Day has been scheduled for the 22nd September.
The Oxford Endocrinology Masterclass - Year 3, organised by the Department of Endocrinology, will take place on Monday and Tuesday 29th and 30th September, at St. Anne's College, Oxford. This is the third of a three-year rolling programme covering the Royal College of Physicians Endocrinology syllabus. This year's topics are disorders of gonads, parathyroid glands, calcium disorders and bone metabolic disorders.
Oxford Open Doors 2014 is coming, it is a great way to see around colleges and other Oxford Buildings: it will take place 13-14 September.
October: The Elsevier/OCDEM Annual Journal Research Prizes: 2—5pm Friday 17th October. The week commencing 27th October Halloween will take place A-Team style. More details will be released closer to the time.
December: Save the date for some festive fun: Saturday 13th December 2.30—5pm the Athena SWAN /OCDEM Staff Event will take place. More details will be released closer to the time. The OCDEM Christmas Lunch and Quiz: Wednesday 17th December.
January: OCDEM Day will take place on Thursday 29th January 2015.
Other useful sources of information and newsletters For news and updates from the Medical Science Division, along with opportunities for funding, check out the Medical Sciences Newsletters: http://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/newsletters
For what is happening within RDM: http://www.rdm.ox.ac.uk/home
The Oxford Learning Institute: https://www.learning.ox.ac.uk/
DTU newsletter: http://www.dtu.ox.ac.uk/TRG/TRG_Bulletin_14.pdf
Have you missed out on reading the other editions of OCDEMENSION, never fear the link is here: http://www.ocdem.ox.ac.uk/ocdemension-newsletter-2
The University of Oxford Research Staff Society (OxRSS) is a collective voice for researchers em-ployed by the University of Oxford. Find out more: http://www.oxrss.ox.ac.uk/
Where has OCDEMENSION been spotted? Have you spotted someone reading OCDEMension whilst on holiday? Or at a conference? If so please take a picture and send it (with details of the location spotted) to the OCDEM Oracle ([email protected]) and we will publish it in the next edition.
Watch out for
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Getting geeky at the museum with Natasha Ng
Just to let you know if you happen to want to drop by the Museum of the History of Science in town (Broad Street) I am running ob-
ject handling session on Sunday24th August between 1430-1630. We bring out a couple of objects for people to play with, as part of
the ongoing Geek is Good exhibition. It’s been pretty popular with both kids and adults! This is running every Sunday till end of Sept if
you’re interested. http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/geekisgood/
Have you been doing some Outreach work? If so please get in touch with Charlotte Kelly ([email protected])
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What have people in OCDEM been up to?
The OCDEM Runners have been very busy recently with Jenny Collins, Sarah Cross, Matt Neville, Nathan Denton, Alex Hamil-ton, Neelam Hassanali, Catriona McNeil, Natasha Ng, Katharine Owen and Maja Todorcevic (most of whom are pictured left) all running the Town and Gown 10K race on May 11th. They raised about £300 for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. Well done Town and Gown-ers!
On the June 22nd Amy Barrett, Nathan Denton, Sarah Cross and Jenny Collins (pictured right) ran the Run Jericho 10km whilst Leanne Hodson, Lynne Scott (pictured below) and Taryn Ayres took part in the 5km Race for Life held in Universi-ty Parks on 13th July.
Events on the horizon that OCDEM runners will be par-
Oxford 1/2 marathon: 12th October 2014 — http://
Run and Dye 5km run: 25th October 2014 — http://
If you would like to join the OCDEM runners email list then
please get in touch with Amy ([email protected])
Sarah White participated in a 100km (62 mile) run/walk
called Race to the Stones from Chinnor to Avebury. Sarah
and her friend Debbie (both pictured left and right) finished in
19 hours 14 minutes, running and walking through scorching
heat, torrential rain, flash floods, thunder and lightning. Sa-
rah was raising money for Guideposts Trust: https://
www.justgiving.com/Sarah-White33/ Well done Sarah!
What have people in OCDEM been up to?
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“Dyb, dyb, dyb; dob, dob, dob” by Steve Richards, Software Validation Manager, DTU.
This Scouting cliché hasn’t been in practical use for nearly 50 years. Do you know what it means? I’ll let you know at the end. Scouting started in August 1907 with a trip for 21 boys of mixed social back-grounds to Brownsea Island, in Poole Harbour, organised by Robert Baden-Powell (a lieutenant general in the British Army). Just over a century later it is a global and a very modern movement. 28 million people worldwide are involved in an organisation that is open to all, regardless of gender, colour, creed (or none) and physical or special needs. There are over 40 active groups within 10 miles of Oxford city centre and I am involved in one of them. The 28th Oxford (Littlemore) Scout Group based in Fairlie Road has been an integral part of the Littlemore community for over 80 years. Up to 100 young people and 20 volunteers per year are involved in Oxford 28th in Beaver Groups (6 – 8 years old), Cub Packs (8 – 10) and Scouts (10 – 14). Girls and boys and young adults of many generations from the local community have enjoyed the benefits, the excitement, the challenges and the adventures that come from being in the Scout Movement, learning important life skills in a non-academic environment. There are tents to sleep under, rock walls to climb (and abseil down), rivers to canoe through, marshmallows to toast and jamborees to attend with others in the scouting movement, whether it is across the county, nationally or even internationally like the quadrennial world event being held in Japan in 2015. Off site, the young people in our group attend parades for St Georges Day and Remembrance Sunday and can be seen manning a water station at the Oxford Half Marathon or packing shoppers bags at Co-op and Go-Outdoors. Our site in Littlemore is the headquarters for the individual groups who meet weekly and where we hold events such as our firework night and our annual Summer Fete in June – this year was slightly rain drenched but we still raised over £900. The bag packing and fete are our most profitable fundraising events, more important than ever as we need to replace the asbestos roof on our 60-year old HQ. The costs have risen dramatically to almost £20K but we have been awarded half of that from the Big Lottery Fund – we are still a few Ks short, but can borrow from the UK Scout Association. As you read this, the replacement is occurring and is due to be finished by early September. The fundraising continues, however, as we look to refurbish internally. Ok. Did you get my little quiz question? The old saying is an acronym and means “do your best; do our best”. The cliché may be old but the principal is still embodied in the Scout Movement that empowers children and young adults to strive for better in the challenging world they face as they grow up. If you want to know more, please come and find me and ask, or check out http://www.scouts.org.uk.
Thomas Richards (Steve’s 10 year-old son) getting his Cub Scout Sliver Award Certifi-cate signed by Bear Grylls
The Oxlip group had their annual punting and Swedish party.
By Anita Bowl I joined Professor Thakker’s Academic Endocrine research group in 2001, as a Post-doctoral research scientist. It was an incredible ten years, learning so much from Raj and the team, building knowledge and research skills in ge-netic endocrinology. I also had the good fortune of meeting my husband Mike Bowl, who also worked with Raj from 1999, and in having two beautiful children Joey who is now 6 years old and Maisie who is now 3 years old. A very productive ten years! In August 2012, after 15 years in academic research, I decided to take a leap of faith and re-train as a secondary school science teacher. Firstly I visited several schools, to make sure that teaching was for me, and when I visited Waddesdon Church of England Secondary School everything fell into place. They asked me to teach some lessons, so that they could see whether I was a suitable applicant and also so that I could experience teaching 30 adoles-cents! I loved every minute of it and was encouraged to apply for a position with the Oxon-Bucks Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP). My application was successful and in September 2012 I started my training year. The GTP training was fantastic, as I was given the opportunity to start teaching from the outset, with a 70% teaching timetable within the first few weeks, it was certainly a ‘baptism of fire’. My training year was incredibly enjoyable and extremely tough! I was working seven evenings a week to the early hours, to keep up with the planning, marking and writing assignments, with an occasional evening off over the school holidays, but in July 2013 I passed with ‘outstanding’. It certainly wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance and support of the Waddes-don team (and the patience of my husband and children). In September 2014, I began my NQT year with Blessed George Napier Catholic School (BGN) in Banbury. Once again I landed on my feet, working with an amazing science department and mentor. My timetable has been all exam years with over 50% of my teaching being A-level Biology …. so I haven’t been able to catch up on my sleep! This year has been particularly rewarding, work-ing with some truly amazing students, building relationships and supporting them through difficult exam periods. We took our A-level Biologists to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History Gene Therapy and Stem Cells Interactive Event. The students heard presentations from World leaders in research of gene therapy and stem cells and were also able to ask the pan-
el of scientists questions in an interactive session. I also arranged for my husband Mike and one of his PhD students to visit BGN to talk to Year 11, 12 and 13 students about their research into early onset hearing loss and the novel mutations involved with syn-dromic deafness. It has been great to see the student’s enthusiasm for science and how much these extra-curricular events have motivated them in their studies. The highlight of my year has without doubt been the A-level Biology fieldtrip to Dale Fort in Pembrokeshire, Wales. We took 13 Year 12 students for a 4 day ecology trip in the sunshine! I can quite safely say that I now know much more about periwinkles, lim-pets, anemones, dog whelks, crabs and seaweed, which will come in handy when rock-pooling with my (little) children this Summer! I have missed everyone at OCDEM greatly, but have had the good fortune to still meet up with many of you at different events and also keeping in touch through e-mail and Facebook. I don’t think you will have heard the last from me ….... beware I will be on the lookout for A-level work experience opportunities and if any of you fancy some out-reach at BGN …….?
Life after OCDEM
The family (Mike, Maisie, Joey and Anita) 2013
Anita, Maisie and Joey (2014)
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By Geoff Gibbons
I can’t remember the date I actually retired. I think it must have been the same day that MRC stopped pay-ing my salary, way back sometime in 2006 (was it really 8 years ago?). But I do remember relaxing in the convivial atmosphere of the “Feathers” hotel in Woodstock where several friends and colleagues gathered for a lunch party to say goodbye. But it didn’t really end there. In reality I think my retirement consisted more of a gentle fading away. A gradual, almost imperceptible disengagement from the business of doing science research, spread over a period of several years. Five days per week, then three days, one day and then ---------. But maybe my retirement began on the date I published my final paper sometime in 2009, forty two years after the first, published in “Phytochemistry” in which, as a graduate student at the Universi-ty of Wales, we reported the presence of cholesterol as the major sterol of the red seaweeds ( Rhodophyta). These marine algae constitute the only phylum of the plant kingdom which do not contain phytosterols and I’ve been trying to figure out the structure/function relationship ever since. So, what do I enjoy doing most, now that my heavily buffered retirement plan has run its course. One of my greatest pleasures is not feeling the compulsion to do things anymore. That’s not the same as not having things to do. But having a diary full of stuff which you are committed to doing, no matter what, is not, in my view, a lot of fun because it lacks spontaneity and flexibility. It’s just that now, in retirement, one has a choice. You can do it or not do it, depending upon how you feel on the day, or whether something bet-ter turns up. You can’t do this in gainful employment, otherwise you risk taking an early bath, as Eddie
Wareing, the Rugby League commentator, used to say when someone got sent off. I also remember someone saying that one of the great joys of being retired is waking up on a dark, cold and frosty morning, listening to the sound of your neighbour scraping the ice off his car windscreen in preparation for the commute to work. Which begs the question as to how I fill in the time. Well, first and foremost, I ride my bicycle a lot more than I did when I was working full-time. No more early morning starts so as to get a few miles in before beginning work. I joined up with the South Bucks section of the Cyclists Touring Club (CTC) and help with the organisation and leading of rides, usually on Wednesdays and Sundays. They are a great bunch of people, and the conviviality amongst the riders brightens up even the coldest and wettest of days. Sometimes we venture out into even the darkest cor-ners of Oxfordshire and one of our favourite venues for “elevenses” is Shabbington Church where the welcom-ing ladies offer us the most delicious homemade cakes and buns, with tea and coffee. Much recommended! Writing this, I’ve just returned from an unforgettable long weekend in God’s own County to watch the opening stages of the Tour de France (or the Tour de Yorkshire as the locals called it). What a brilliantly inspired event. Cast of millions lining the routes. Older folks on their folding chairs; little children cheering and waving their flags. A real carnival atmosphere. Reporting in “The Times” the day after the events, one commentator noted that “Cycling has moved from the nerdy periphery to the middleclass mainstream”. I was astonished to discover that I had spent the last 50-odd years of my life as a peripheral nerd but gratified to learn that I had now been effortlessly elevated to the middleclass mainstream. Albert Einstein was a keen lifelong cyclist and, peripheral nerd or not, he always claimed that he thought up his Special Theory of Relativity whilst riding his bike. I was never similarly inspired although I do agree with one of Einstein’s astute observations that “Life is like riding your bike-----if you stop you lose your balance”. Another thing my wife Jen and me enjoy is walking. We form part of an ad hoc local walking group known as the Stoke Poges Amblers (SPA) who meet up for a short walk and pub lunch most Thursdays. Like most grandparents, we also do our bit with the grandchildren and make frequent visits to Malmesbury where our eldest son and his family live. Sometimes we take them on holiday and last year we took a trip on Eurostar to EuroDisney near Paris. Great fun! Our youngest son lives in Beckley with a superb view over Otmoor--------even though it’s from a caravan on a farmer’s field. Good position also for the “Abingdon Arms” one of my favourite watering holes. We visit Joe frequently, and, coming into Oxford, I never fail to marvel at the constantly changing culinary scene on the Cowley Road. Family apart, we have travelled the world a fair bit since I retired, visiting friends in Maine, California, Du-bai, Adelaide and Sydney. China, Singapore and Thailand also featured on our itinerary. We have also enjoyed walking holidays in Norway, Switzerland, Madeira, Italy and the Canary Islands. These days I have more time to read the newspapers. I pay particular attention to the “Health” and “Science” reporting and I often wonder whether I am alone in my increasing confusion as to what exactly constitutes a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. Af-
ter spending most of my career researching lipid metabolism, including that of cholesterol, I am becoming a little disturbed by what appears to be a tendency to denigrate the role of saturated fat/cholesterol as con-tributors to cardiovascular disease. Many of these reports are “sexed-up” and trivialized in an attempt to make a bit of a splash with the general public. Many oddball stories highlight obscure dietary constituents as the new Elixirs of Life. Cinnamon, beetroot juice, green tea, South African red wine, and dark chocolate have all recently been included in this category. I now tend to take the view of a taxi driver we met in New York City who claimed that the only thing he believed in the newspapers was the weather forecast. But, just to finish off on a more serious note. Thank you, Leanne and your Editorial Team for pro-ducing such a superb OCDEM local newspaper. I greatly enjoyed reading the last edition and discovering how some of my old (sorry, former) colleagues are getting on. It’s great to see how successful the PI’s are at landing research funding. But what impresses me most of all is the increasing integration of the various groups in joint funding exercises. Newspapers like OCDEMENSION facilitate a sense of communality and integration, providing an atmosphere conducive to inter-group co-operation which results ultimately in increased grant funding as well as to a more friendly working environment.
Life after OCDEM
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In this edition we have another ODD ONE OUT ROUND, which Kate Lines put together for the for Young Endocrinologists Quiz night at the BES meeting in Liverpool this year! Thanks Kate.
Can you pick the odd one out and give the correct answer as to why it is the odd one out!
From last time
Which structure is the odd one out and why? Answer: structure C was the odd one out as it is aspirin and the others are amino acids
Which histology picture is the odd one out and why? Answer: The histology was A) Oligodendroglioma B) Normal Thyroid C) Normal Pancreas D) Normal Testes and the answer is A – Oligodendroglioma as it is a tumour and the other three are all normal endocrine organs. Which Scientist is the odd one out? Answer: The scientists are A) Alexander Fleming (1945) B) Marie Curie (1903 & 1911) C) Dorothy Hodgkin (1964) and D) Hans Krebs (1953) and the answer is B – Marie Curie as she is on the only one of the four to win two Nobel prizes and in fact is the only person to win prizes in multiple science categories
OCDEM Anagram Can you work out what member of staff has got themselves in a muddle?
JOIN MY MELON REST
Find out in the next edition of OCDEMENSION!
And from the last edition: A SHIRE PRANK = Karen Parish
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Which famous person is the odd one out?
Which animal is the odd one out?
Don’t forget to email the OCDEM Oracle
([email protected]) with your answers! All will be
revealed in the next edition of OCDEMENSION!
CONGRATULATIONS to our Senior HR Officer Charlotte Cush-ing. Charlotte married Tom Kelly on Sunday 10th August! We wish Mr and Mrs Kelly a very happy life together. A note from Charlotte—‘THANK YOU for my generous collection, it is very much appreciated.’
The OCDEM Oracle Things going wrong? Lab experiments not working? General office woes? Then why not email OCDEM’s Oracle ([email protected])
Dear OCDEM Oracle, A secret stash of 1000 oversleeves has just been unearthed in OCDEM, what do you think we could we do with them?
See the next edition for what the Oracle advises.
From the last edition: I’ve just purchased some universal solvent, how would you recommend I store it?
The Oracle’s Words of Wisdom:
I'd recommend using a good quality holdall and let them fight it out!!!
Random Factoid In June 2014 Matt Simmonds was the first person to find a 2014 Christmas item in the shops and one of the first articles on the UK’s number one Christmas website chirstmasuk.org: http://www.christmasuk.org/timeline_1404280801 The picture to the right shows what Matt found!
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Do you have some news to share? Have you being doing some Outreach sessions?
Do you have a question for the OCDEM Oracle?
Have you seen some random journal or coffee table factoid that OCDEM needs to know about?
Are there events coming up you would like to tell OCDEM about?
Then please let us know by emailing:
Thank you to all the contributors, including the OCDEM Athena SWAN team and Dennis (say cheese) Carter for taking all of the staff photos. The next edition will be coming to your inbox November 2014!
Contributions should be received by 20th October 2014!