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Medicine at Magdalen

Modern medicine is built upon fundamental discoveries across a range of scientific disciplines, reflected in the medical course at Oxford where there is a strong emphasis on the scientific evidence basis of medicine.

We usually admit five undergraduates to read medicine and are keen to attract students who are particularly interested in understanding the science underpinning medicine. During the first two years students study anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry and pathology before moving on to the Final Honours School (FHS year 3), graduating with a BA in Medical Sciences before continuing with clinical medicine. This structure is similar to the intercalated degree available to a limited number of students at other medical schools. During the FHS year students study an area of medical science that they find most interesting, and carry out an original research project.

Magdalen is proud of its very strong tradition of teaching and research in the medical sciences, and four of our past Fellows were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Charles Sherrington, who laid the groundwork for our modern understanding of the nervous system. John Eccles, who was Sherrington’s student and who helped discover how nerves signal. Howard Florey, who developed penicillin as a drug, and Peter Medawar who discovered the function of lymphocytes and how the immune system distinguishes self from non-self.

There are four tutorial fellows in Medicine. Christopher Garland, Professor of Vascular Pharmacology, studies how very small arteries control blood flow. Stephen Goodwin, Professor of Neurogenetics, studies sexual behaviour in the Drosophila model. Robert Gilbert, Professor of Biophysics, studies the molecular structure of ribosomes. Quentin Sattentau, Professor of Immunology, studies immune system interaction with HIV and immune activation in health and disease. There are two College-retained lecturers: the Florey Lecturer Dr Maheshi Ramasamy responsible for Graduate Entry medicine, and the Sherrington Lecturer Dr Gijs Van Boxel responsible for clinical student teaching.

In addition to our tutorial fellows and lecturers, Magdalen has four other medical fellows. Gero Miesenboeck, Professor of Physiology, who studies the neurophysiological basis of behaviour in fruit flies using optogenetics. David Clark, Professor of Psychology, whose research focuses on cognitive approaches to the understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders. Peter Ratcliffe, Nuffield Professor of Medicine, whose groundbreaking research has helped define the role of oxygen-sensing factors in disease. Peter Sullivan, Professor in Pediatrics, who investigates the nutritional and gastrointestinal consequences of brain damage in infants and children, and is the Director of Medical Education for the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust.