Senior Lecturer and Head of PGR Development

Institute of Health Research and Innovation, University of the Highlands and Islands Twitter @MaryKDoherty

I took part in Scottish Crucible in 2011. I had just returned to Scotland after 10 years in the USA and England and it was a great way to rediscover the Scottish research landscape. I joined the programme with a little trepidation. It was outside my comfort zone as an analytical chemist. What would I have in common with a composer, a historian or even an engineer? What I didn’t expect was one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences of my career. I met many new people and joined a network of young(ish) academics, all keen to collaborate and expand on their subject areas, to take a leap right out of their comfort zone. It gave me a new confidence to develop collaborations and confirmed my recollection of Scotland as a place where working together was encouraged and promoted. Working in a relatively young university that didn’t have a long track record in research, it also provided me with credibility.

Seven years on, I can reflect on the difference it has made to me. I have published with fellow cruciblists, we have joint projects and only today I interviewed prospective PhD students with two former Crucible participants. Perhaps importantly, we were not from the same cohort but each from a different year but in common, we have Scottish Crucible. I became a member of the Young Academy of Scotland following my time at Crucible – and found that many of my colleagues had followed the same path. Since Crucible, my career has taken a slightly different turn. Research isn’t all I do now. I have a responsibility for the development of our PhD students (and supervisors) at UHI, providing training and support across all subject areas and representing them nationally, influencing policy and practice at the highest level. I am also the University lead for Athena Swan and delivered our Institutional Bronze Award in 2016. This means I am out at meetings a lot – and at almost every one, I meet somebody connected to Scottish Crucible. What did Scottish Crucible provide? Connections, confidence and credibility.

MORRICE N, MCILROY GD, TAMMIREDDY SR, REEKIE J, SHEARER KD, DOHERTY MK, DELIBEGOVIĆ M, WHITFIELD PD, MODY N. (2017): Elevated Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) in obese, insulin resistant states is normalised by the synthetic retinoid Fenretinide in mice, Scientific Reports, 7, 43782.

PLUCINSKA K, DEKERYTE R, KOSS D, SHEARER K, MODY N, WHITFIELD PD, DOHERTY MK, MINGARELLI M, WELCH A, RIEDEL G, DELIBEGOVIC M, PLATT B. (2016): Neuronal human BACE1 knock-in induces systemic diabetes in mice, Diabetologia, 59,1513-1523.

MCILROY GD, TAMMIREDDY SR, MASKREY BH, DOHERTY MK, WATSON DG, DELIBEGOVIĆ M, WHITFIELD PD, MODY N. (2016): Fenretinide mediated retinoic acid receptor signalling and inhibition of ceramide biosynthesis regulates adipogenesis, lipid accumulation, mitochondrial function and nutrient stress signalling in adipocytes and adipose tissue, Biochemical Pharmacology, 100, 86-97.