1980s


Professor Mark Mayer »   Dr Nigel Croft »   John Sturrock »   The Rt. Hon. Sir Rabinder Singh »   Alan Rosling »  

 

Professor Mark Mayer (HF 1980-82) chose a Fellowship which allowed him to train in laboratories in the US that were using techniques in ion channel biophysics not widely available in the UK. Most importantly, the Fellowship gave him the freedom to choose the laboratories that hosted him and to move between labs as his experience grew. As a result, he acquired new skills, leading to a series of studies that he pursued for the rest of his career and to his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society. Mark’s career focused on analysis of excitatory neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, initially using electrophysiological techniques, with which he discovered that NMDA receptors were calcium permeable ion channels, flux through which varied with membrane potential due to block by extracellular Magnesium. This mechanism forms a coincidence detector that acts as a gate triggering synaptic plasticity. Later he used X-ray diffraction and cryo-electron microscopy to study the structure of glutamate receptors, establishing mechanisms for subtype selective binding of ligands, allosteric modulation, and how desensitization occurs. This work furthers our understanding of a wide range of neurological disorders. Finding limited biomedical research funding opportunities in the UK on his return to London in 1982 led to Mark joining the brain drain and moving to the NIH.  Subsequent emergence of the Wellcome Trust changed this, but by then he felt it was too disruptive to return home. Today, the UK is a vibrant place for biomedical research, and Mark often visits for academic collaborations.
Published on: 29th October 2019

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Dr Nigel Croft (HF 1981-82) is a world authority on quality management. After receiving his PhD in metallurgy from Sheffield University, Nigel spent his Harkness Fellowship conducting post-doctoral research at UC Berkeley, marking the beginning of his transformation from a “South Yorkshire lad” to a “Citizen of the world”. After completing his fellowship, he married Naila Diniz (also a PhD metallurgist) and emigrated to Brazil, becoming a Brazilian citizen in 1999. Over the years, Nigel has been actively involved in a range of global quality and sustainability initiatives, and from 2010 to 2018 he chaired the ISO technical subcommittee responsible for the ISO 9001 quality management standard. He has served as non-executive board member of a number of organizations around the world, including the Chartered Quality Institute (London), Social Accountability Accreditation Services (New York), and Fairtrade International’s certification body (FLOCERT) in Bonn. He is a consultant for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and Adjunct Professor of Quality Management at the University of Northern Malaysia. Nigel’s links with the US and the UK continue to be strong – in 2017 he was awarded the American Society for Quality’s Freund-Marquardt medal, “For his passion, dedication and leadership in the application of quality management” and in 2018 an Honorary (“Lifetime Achievement”) Award from the Chartered Quality Institute  
Published on: 18th April 2019

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John Sturrock (HF 1984 – 85) QC stepped out of the legal world in 1984 as a Harkness Fellow to study for a Masters’ Degree in International Law at the University of Pennsylvania. On returning to Scotland, he resumed a career in law at the Scottish Bar but his life had been changed. In the 1990’s, inspired by connections in the US and his knowledge of its legal system, he adapted the leading advocacy skills programme of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy into a Scottish context, establishing an award winning programme for his professional colleagues. Later, he studied negotiation at Harvard under Professor Roger Fisher (of Getting to Yes fame) and, leaving law, embarked on a second career as a mediator and negotiation consultant. He has helped to transform dispute resolution in his home country and elsewhere, and is now a world-recognised figure in the conflict resolution and policy-making field, working with politicians, governments, corporate leaders, Olympic athletes and many others – and mediating in complex disputes in many different contexts, often in the public context. In May 2018, in Edinburgh, John hosted and chaired the annual conference of the International Academy of Mediators, which he regards as a culmination of a journey which started as a Harkness Fellow thirty four years earlier and which gave him the confidence to look outward and across the Atlantic for ideas, learning and friendships.    
Published on: 25th May 2018

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The Rt. Hon. Sir Rabinder Singh (HF1985-86) is now a Lord Justice of Appeal. Having studied Law at Trinity College, Cambridge, he did a Master of Laws degree at the University of California at Berkeley. He reports that he Ioved the Bay Area and had a wonderful time travelling with a friend all over the USA, from coast to coast and back again. He particularly enjoyed the great national parks of America advising that there is no better way to see them than by camping. On his return to the UK he was a lecturer in Law at the University of Nottingham for two years before qualifying as a barrister in 1989.  Rabinder then practised in London until 2011, having become a QC in 2002. He specialised in public law, human rights and employment law, all areas, he comments, in which his studies in the US had been very influential on his thinking. He was appointed to the High Court in 2011 and to the Court of Appeal in 2017. 
Published on: 14th September 2018

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Alan Rosling (HF 1986-88) CBE is an entrepreneur and strategic advisor focused on fast emerging economies, especially India. He co-founded Kiran Energy in Bombay and runs his own consultancy business, Griffin Growth Partners, based in Hong Kong. Alan was a Harkness Fellow in 1986 during which he did an MBA from Harvard Business School. He had previously been a banker with SG Warburg and after the Fellowship returned to the UK to work in a leadership position with Courtaulds Textiles. His subsequent career included the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street (1991-93), Strategy Director of United Distillers (1993-1997), Chairman, India of the Jardine Matheson Group (1998-2003) and Executive Director of Tata Sons (2004-2009). Alan acts as a Non Executive Director on the Boards of Coats Group Plc, Constellation Alpha Capital Corporation and Vyome Biosciences. He is an advisor to a number of small, growth companies including Peotic, RedGirraffe.com and Insolight.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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