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The annual lecture given this year by a world leading stem cell scientist is held in honour of John Burdon-Sanderson, the University of Oxford's first Waynflete Professor of Physiology, after whom the Cardiac Centre is named.

Prof Christine Mummery with Prof David Paterson and Prof Manuela Zaccolo. Image Credit: Colin Beesley

On Monday 14 October 2019, the Department hosted the annual John Burdon Sanderson Lecture. This lecture series is dedicated to John Burdon-Sanderson (1828 - 1905), the Physiologist who reported that Penicillium inhibited the growth of bacteria in 1871. In 1882, Burdon-Sanderson became the first Waynflete Professor of Physiology here at Oxford, and a year later, under Burdon-Sanderson's direction, the Department of Physiology was established at Oxford.

This year's lecture, entitled Cardiovascular diseases and drugs: hiPSC models moving forward, was given by Professor Christine Mummery. Prof Mummery is Professor of Developmental Biology at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and head of the Department of Anatomy and Embryology. She is also the incoming president of the International Society of Stem Cell research (ISSCR), was recently awarded the Hugo van de Poelgeest Prize for Animal Alternatives in research, and has co-authored a popular book on stem cells “Stem Cells: scientific facts and Fiction” (2nd edition, 2014).

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Christine Mummery's research concerns heart development and the differentiation of pluripotent human stem cells into the cardiac and vascular lineages and using these cells as disease models, for safety pharmacology and drug discovery. Her immediate interests are on developing biophysical techniques for characterisation and functional analysis of cardiovascular cells from hPSC.

In an interview given before the lecture, Prof Mummery describes her journey from studying Physics at the University of Nottingham, to introducing human iPS cells to the Netherlands in 2007, to becoming the globally renowned leader in stem cell research she is today. Her unique story describes the eureka moment of when she first successfully turned human embryonic stem cells into cardiomyocytes, her pride in mentoring her students towards completing their PhDs and watching them embark on successful scientific careers, and her experiences as a woman in a traditionally male dominated field. She also imparts key advice for women interested in pursuing a career in science, stressing the importance of communicating your work to people at all levels, having the confidence to make yourself heard and accepting invitations to scientific meetings to enhance career development.


The lecture was followed by a drinks and canapes reception in the Sherrington reception foyer.

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 More information on Professor Mummery can be found here.

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