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Medicine at Magdalen

Medicine is built upon fundamental discoveries across a range of scientific disciplines. This grounding in basic science is reflected in the medical course at Oxford, where there is a strong emphasis on the scientific basis of medicine.

We usually admit five undergraduates to read Medicine and are keen to attract students who are especially interested in understanding the science underpinning medicine.  In 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 is similar to the intercalated degree that is only available to a limited number of students at other medical schools. During the FHS year students have the opportunity to study the area of medical science that they find most interesting and to carry out a research project with an Oxford academic. Undergraduates are taught to analyse experimental data critically and to write about the medical research they perform.

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 ground work for our modern understanding of the nervous system; John Eccles, who was his student and who helped discover how nerves signal; Howard Florey, who developed penicillin; and Peter Medawar, who discovered the function of lymphocytes and how the immune system distinguishes between self and non-self.

The Tutorial Fellows in Medicine are: Christopher Garland, Professor of Vascular Pharmacology, studying how very small arteries control blood flow; Stephen Goodwin, Professor of Biomedical Science, a neurogeneticist studying sexual behaviour; Robert Gilbert, Professor of Biochemistry, studying the molecular structure of ribosomes; and Quentin Sattentau, Professor of Immunology, studying interactions between HIV and the immune system. There are two College-retained lecturers: the Sherrington Lecturer who is responsible for clinical student teaching is Dr George Harston, and the Florey Lecturer who is responsible for Graduate Entry medicine is Dr Maheshi Ramasamy.

In addition to our tutorial fellows, 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 ground-breaking research has helped define the role of oxygen-sensing factors in disease, and Peter Sullivan, 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.