Cambridge Conversations Webinar Replay:
Responding to The Medical Challenges of COVID-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic confronts the world, Cambridge experts are leading research into diagnosis and treatment of the virus itself, and examining the resulting challenges to our society — our economy, politics and educational system among many others.
The first Cambridge Conversations webinar featured Professor Ken Smith and Dr Nick Matheson, with facilitator Dr Chris Smith of the Naked Scientists. Together, they provided accurate scientific information as an antidote to the speculation and misinformation rampant on social media.
Professor Ken Smith
Ken Smith is Professor of Medicine and Head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow and Director of Studies in Clinical Medicine at Pembroke College and the Khoo Oon Teik Professor of Nephrology at the National University of Singapore. Ken studied medicine at the University of Melbourne and completed a BMedSc in the Nuffield Department of Surgery in Oxford. He trained in nephrology with an interest in autoimmune disease at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, before completing pathology training specialising in clinical immunology. His PhD (with David Tarlinton and Gus Nossal: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) examined aspects of B cell immunology, work built upon in two years working with Douglas Fearon in Cambridge.
Today Ken runs a laboratory in the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, which has two main components. The first studies basic immunological mechanisms, and how defects in regulatory control of the immune system can lead to autoimmunity and alter defence against infection. The second is a translational programme in autoimmune disease (particularly SLE and vasculitis) and has led to the discovery of a novel prognosis-predicting biomarker now entering clinical trials, and the identification of important genes involved in disease pathogenesis. In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and in 2007 was awarded the Lister Institute Research Prize.
Dr Nick Matheson
Dr Nicholas Matheson is a Principal Investigator in the Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease (CITIID), Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and Honorary Consultant in Virology at NHS Blood and Transplant. He qualified in medicine from the University of Oxford in 2003, undertook specialist training in General Medicine and Infectious Diseases in London and Cambridge, and spent 2 years as a Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His clinical work and research have been focussed on chronic blood borne viral infections, such as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), with a particular interest in viral manipulation of immunometabolism. More recently, he has been closely involved with the Addenbrooke’s Hospital response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including demand modelling for general medical and intensive care beds. At the same time, his lab is part of a campus-wide collaboration working to understand and combat SARS-CoV-2.
Dr Chris Smith
Dr Chris Smith is a consultant medical virologist and a lecturer at the University and a Fellow Commoner at Queens' College.
Outside the Public Health and Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, Chris is busy with the Naked Scientists. He laid the foundations for the Naked Scientists radio show, podcast and website back in 1999. He currently co-presents the Naked Scientists, is a science correspondent for the ABC RN (Radio National) Breakfast show in Australia, presents '5 Live Science' on BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday mornings, and talks science and answers listeners' questions for 30 minutes every Friday morning on Primedia's Talk Radio 702 / 567 CapeTalk, in South Africa. Periodically he also appears on Radio New Zealand National's 'This Way Up' to talk about recent scientific breakthroughs.
Previously, Chris created the Royal Society of Chemistry's 'Chemistry World' and 'Chemistry in its Element' podcasts, founded and presented the first 100 episodes of the Nature Podcast for the journal Nature, and launched 'The eLife Podcast' for the eLife open-access online journal.
Chris has published four popular science books internationally; one of them — Crisp Packet Fireworks (now re-published under the title BOOM!) has become a bestseller translated into multiple languages.