Spotlight on... Professor Mark Lythgoe

This week we meet Professor Mark Lythgoe, Founder and Director of the Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging. Here, Mark - who was recently awarded the Royal Society of Medicine Ellison-Cliffe Award 2021 - chats to us about living in South America and his love for Cadir Idris.

What is your role and what does it involve?

I have the best job in the world - Director of the Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging or more affectionally known as CABI - which is a playground for those with a love of all things imaging.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

Before I came to the safer havens of UCL, I was an attack dog trainer in Israel living in a tiny farm on the Lebanese border. Currently survived 15 years at UCL.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

Being awarded the Royal Society of Medicine Ellison-Cliffe Award 2021 for my ’contribution of fundamental science to the advancement of medicine’.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

I lean towards the more unconventional and risky projects. Now I’m working on a handheld MRI scanner - Dr ’Bones’ McCoy (Star Trek) would love it!

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

I was brought up on a combination of Mancunian folklore, Catholicism and musicals, none of which helped me to understand the world around me - although I do still have a love of musicals, especially West Side Story.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

Ah ha - the funny part - groan away then:

Helvetica and Times New Roman walk into a bar.

"Get out of here!" shouts the bartender. "We don’t serve your type."

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Nikola Tesla - it’d be electrifying.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Do the things you love, and don’t worry about your future.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I failed my A-Levels and never went to university - more holes in my CV than a Tetley tea bag! 

What is your favourite place?

Before I came into science I was a climber and lived in South America. Despite the wonders of the Andes - my favourite place is Cadir Idris in wales - where I loved to climb and escape.


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