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- Professor of Paediatric Education
- ICH Development Bio & Cancer Prog
- Institute of Child Health
- Faculty of Pop Health Sciences
Paul's primary roles are as Professor of Paediatric Education at UCL and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Nephrology at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust. He was Head of the Nephro-Urology Research Unit at the Institute of Child Health before an infrastructure reorganisation in 2014. He continues to lead the group focusing on kidney development and disease within the Developmental Biology and Cancer Programme.
After Medical School split between Cambridge (pre-clinical) and Oxford (clinical), he trained in Paediatrics at Charing Cross, Guy's, Oxford, Queen Elizabeth's Hackney and GOS in the UK, with spells at Duke University and Philadelphia in the USA. His first GOS post was in 1990 and he has worked in associated
hospitals/universities ever since. He completed his Paediatric Nephrology training in 1999, concurrently finishing a PhD on the Molecular Biology of Renal Malformations.
Subsequently he has combined a research career with increasing teaching responsibilities - he is the only ICH course director to run two formal taught programmes, the BSc and the MSc in Paediatrics and Child Health, and has major enabling and facilitating roles in academic paediatrics. He was nominated for President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in October 2014, but unsuccessful in the election.
My research has three main strands:
1. Normal and dysplastic human renal precursor cells. I have generated a panel of normal and abnormal human cell lines from human fetal and postnatal dysplastic kidneys with which to investigate key processes in vitro. These stem-like cells are unique, and no-one else in the world has been able to generate comparable human lines. Capacity to promote normal differentiation in vitro, raises the possibility of using these cells as therapies in vivo. I have established several international collaborations to further exploit these cells.
2. Treatment of polycystic kidneys. PKD is common in humans and, despite many trials, there are no firmly established therapies that prevent progression to kidney failure. I have previously worked on galectin-3, a likely natural brake on cystogenesis (Chiu et al. Am J Path, 2006), and we are assessing galectin-3 gene therapy in PKD. There may be several modes of action, however, since pectin (a natural inhibitor of galectin-3 found in many fruits) appears protective in experimental renal disease (Kolatsi-Joannou et al, 2011). My latest research, co-supervised with Dr David Long, has identified vascular growth factors and the microvasculature as functionally important in PKD (Huang - in revision). We have a patented new treatment and are again trialling it in models of PKD.
3. My clinical research (and practice) centres on children with kidney malformations, particularly those that present before birth. I work with Professor Lyn Chitty (Fetal Medicine and Genetics) and Mr Divyesh Desai (Paediatric Urology) in the Fetal Nephro-Urology clinic at UCLH to investigate kidney/urinary tract malformations. We are collecting amniotic fluid to identify prognostic markers from mid pregnancy. Proteomic analysis has identified several markers that look promising and we hope to collect more samples in the next year to confirm these results. Our aim is to develop prognostic kits for use in routine clinical practice.
I am committed to developing and delivering high quality education. My focus is on Paediatrics, and I lead both the intercalated BSc and MSc in Paediatrics at the UCL Institute of Child Health. I believe that innovative, research-led courses generate the highest standards of teaching, learning and assessment. This is not rocket-science – it is just applying the same level of professionalism and excellence to education as UCL departments do to research.
I built the iBSc from scratch with Drs Elizabeth Carrey and Caroline Fertleman and we focused on novel assessments including reflective diaries and patient pathways rather than a traditional disease-centred approach. The course started in 2010 and has become the most successful iBSc in UCL Medical School with an applicant to places ratio of 3:1 and student satisfaction rating of 9.25/10. This success comes from listening to the students and continually refining modules and assessments, not just to improve standards but also aiming to generate well-rounded doctors who are advocates for children and young people. We work hard to develop bespoke projects that enthuse students, often in difficult areas such as child protection where there is little research base. Many projects have been presented nationally and changed practice via new clinical guidelines. All of our team are committed to quality; we have won many teaching awards across London Paediatrics and UCL, including the 2014 Provost's Teaching Award to our Fellow
Benita Morrissey. Students now choose UCL because of our BSc. Perhaps we are producing better doctors too; it is early for definitive statistics but our first cohort just graduated medical school with twice as many distinctions and merits as before the BSc.
I have completely transformed the MSc, with Dr Helen Bedford, again responding to student feedback. Key changes include: increased flexibility and greater choice via new pathways such as Community Paediatrics (2010) and Global
Child Health (2014); innovative formative peer assessment; and widening access to other disciplines. Student satisfaction is high and applications remain strong, particularly overseas, despite competing courses across London and at a time when other paediatric MScs are closing around the UK.
The art of teaching is to empower students to achieve their best and I have extended this to several innovative programmes, which develop and support not just academic trainees but others that could
eventually contribute to paediatric research. For example, I have:
* Developed the largest paediatric academic programme in the UK with 39 academic fellows and 13 lecturers across nearly every paediatric specialty.
* Helped found the Academic Paediatrics Association and led my trainees (marshaled by John Apps and Chryssie Brown) in developing the Paediatric Academic Trainees Forum. Both thriving nationally and providing representative senior and trainee platforms to campaign for higher paediatric standards.
* Organised academic workshops to interest medical students (with Gwyneth Davies) and clinical track trainees in research, hence belying the belief that academic paediatrics is only for the select few.
* Worked with another academic trainee, Jon Fisher, to pioneer an internet-based search programme using online dating software to match potential researchers with supervisors. Again widening access to all.
I am passionate about paediatric education and these activities have established me as a global leader in paediatric teaching and training.
|1988||MRCP||Member of the Royal College of Physicians – Clinical Medicine||Royal College of Physicians|
|1986||BM||Bachelor of Medicine – Paediatrics||University of Cambridge|