An interview with Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at the Alzheimer's Society.
Where/what did you study and what are your qualifications?
I did my undergraduate degree at Sheffield University in Biochemistry and Genetics and then went onto complete a PhD at the University of Cambridge on HIV research.
What's your Professional experience?
After my PhD I spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research working on malaria and stem cells, before taking up a post at the Multiple Sclerosis Society to manage the biomedical research programme. After five years at the MS Society I moved to the Alzheimer’s Society to lead the Research and Development programme.
What are your current projects?
As Director of Research and Development at the Alzheimer's Society I am responsible overseeing our multi-million pound research programme that supports projects into the cause, cure, care and prevention of dementia. As the UKs leading support and research charity we have made a commitment to more than triple our spend on research to £10m per year by 2017 and have pledged to invest at least £100m on research over the next decade. We work with people affected by dementia and researchers to identify the highest quality research that is going to make a real difference to those living with the condition either through developing better ways to care for people with the condition and to identify ways of preventing or curing dementia in the future. I am also a Trustee of the Association for Medical Research Charities, the national umbrella organisation for medical research charities.
Who have you worked with?
I have worked with a broad range of people over my career from geeky lab scientists (I can say that, I used to be one!) and policy makers to national media and people affected by major health conditions (e.g. Dementia). I have been fortunate to work with all these people and, whoever they are, the passion they display for their cause never ceases to amaze and inspire me.
What inspired you to get into this field?
I had a close family member who had dementia and witnessing the effect it had on them and our family is a huge driver for me in my current role. But I also have a strong belief (and the results demonstrate it!) that charities and charity-funded medical research really can make the difference that we need to see in society, in the health and social care system and in the development of new treatments.
If you weren't an expert in your field, what would you be?
An astronaught. I've always wanted to go into space, maybe one day...
What do you do away from work?
I spend most of my time with my wife and 2 young children who keep me busy and active. Though when the kids are in bed I regularly put on my budding masterchef hat and take to the kitchen to attempt to cook gourmet meals.
What's your favourite book, and why?
I don't have a single favourite book but my preference is to get lost in an historical fiction novel and transport myself back to times gone by.
What's your favourite album, and why?
I tend to choose an album to reflect my mood but if I had to choose one it would be any Mumford and Sons album. Not a classic I realise, but you've got to love a bit of the banjo!
Whom do you most admire, and why?
There are many individuals that I admire, the majority of those being people who would not be classed as ‘famous’. So to answer the question I would say that I admire people with the passion, commitment and altruism to drive and support any change we need to see that will benefit a given group of people. I am incredibly fortunate in my role to be surrounded by people like that from researchers to people affected by dementia who are making it their personal goal to deliver lasting change for people living with this condition.
Dr Doug Brown is Director of Research and Development at the Alzheimer's Society.
Date Added: April 15, 2014