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On Wednesday 30 January the Royal Hospital School MedSoc welcomed Dr Gillian Urwin who gave a presentation entitled “The medical microbiologist: medical careers beyond the obvious”. Dr Urwin is a Consultant Microbiologist working at Colchester General Hospital and her talk was interactive and engaging for everyone.

‘What is Pathology?’ was the first question posed by Dr Urwin. This stimulated a lengthy discussion from those in the audience with various understandings (and misunderstandings) of the term. Some thought a pathologist was a doctor that found out how someone had died and carried out post mortem likening the role to the popular television programmes Silent Witness or Waking the Dead. The real meaning of pathology is the study of disease and there are 19 different specialties of pathology.

Dr Urwin is a microbiologist with the invaluable roles of keeping the hospital safe from infection and studying strange and rare diseases in the hope of finding a cure. She talked about the need for further research into the use of antibiotics and infections caused by bacteria and highlighted how many pharmaceutical companies do not focus on antibiotics because of the smaller profits involved. She also explained that there are government schemes in place to develop new antibiotics that will be more effective against resistant strains of diseases such as the ‘superbugs’ MRSA and C.difficile.

Dr Urwin’s enthusiasm for her job was clear to everyone and she made the presentation interesting and enlightening for Year 10 to 13 pupils in the audience.

Gillian Urwin2 30-01-13 (3)Gillian Urwin1 30-01-13 (3)

The Royal Hospital School is a co-educational boarding and day school for 11 to 18 years olds set in 200 acres of Suffolk countryside overlooking the River Stour. http://www.royalhospitalschool.org