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Michael Fitzpatrick is a clinical research fellow in the Nuffield Department of Medicine. He discusses his research into coeliac disease and his experience as an Oxford-Celgene Fellow.

What is your research background?

Michael Fitzpatrick

My undergraduate degree was in natural sciences, and since specialising in gastroenterology I have developed a particular interest in intestinal immunology in health and disease. I am now in the second year of a DPhil in Clinical Medicine at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, supervised by Professors Elizabeth Soilleux and Paul Klenerman.

What are you researching now?

I am studying the adaptive intestinal immune responses in coeliac disease, an immune condition triggered by dietary gluten in genetically-predisposed individuals. The project focuses on the role of certain T cell subsets in the pathology of the disease, as well as how T cell receptor repertoires are altered between health and coeliac disease.

What has your experience of this Fellowship been like?

The Oxford-Celgene fellowship has been a positive research collaboration. The project collaborators from Celgene have been extremely helpful, both in terms of their practical and financial support, and in their ideas for future directions of the research.

'Clinical, academic and industry partnerships have enormous potential to drive forward great science and benefit patient care.' 

What has been the highlight of the Fellowship so far?

I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to present our preliminary work at the research fellowship meeting, and to talk with our Celgene collaborators about new potential directions in which to take the research.

Why do you think it is important for researchers to engage with industry?

Clinical, academic and industry partnerships have enormous potential to drive forward great science and benefit patient care. It is helpful to start to learn how those in industry work and think, and how they can advance projects.

Do you have any advice for applicants to this Fellowship?

Start the dialogue about your prospective project with Celgene early. Our project plans have been enriched by the collaboration and it was a helpful process to pitch our initial ideas to them at the fellowship meeting.