A fire that burns within - free radicals in health and disease

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Posted on 09 February 2011

Professor Gordon Ferns, Medicine at Keele, will deliver the sixth lecture in the University's programme of Inaugural Lectures for 2010/11, on Tuesday, 22 February, 2011, in the Westminster Theatre on the Keele University campus. The title of the lecture is "A fire that burns within: the impact of free radicals in health and disease".

Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that are produced during normal metabolism. The harmful effects of these molecules are prevented by the neutralising effects of antioxidants such as vitamin E and C. Proteins damaged by free radicals may be restored to their normal configuration by molecules that are called heat shock proteins. However, these latter molecules may also be altered during this process and this may lead to an activation of the immune system. This may then itself be linked to the development of chronic disease, such as coronary heart disease.

Professor Ferns qualified in Medicine from St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London University. He subsequently trained in Clinical Biochemistry, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists. His MD was on the genetic factors involved in coronary heart disease. He was a British Heart Foundation Fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle. He returned to the UK as a Senior Scientist, working at the William Harvey Research Institute, London, and then was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Chemical Pathology at the University of Leicester. He was appointed to the Chair of Metabolic & Molecular Medicine at the University of Surrey, and was subsequently Dean of Medicine there. He was awarded a DSc from the University of London in 2003, and a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2008. In 2009 he was appointed Director of the Research Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine and Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Keele.
Keele's programme of Inaugural Lectures are given by newly established professors within the University and aim to give an illuminating account of the speaker's own subject specialism. The lectures, which start at 6 pm in the Westminster Theatre, are chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Foskett. Admission is free; no ticket is required.
The other lectures in the series are: Tuesday, 15 March 2011, Professor Clare Holdsworth, Social Geography, "’A degree isn’t enough anymore’: Student experiences and orientation to HE”; Tuesday, 10 May 2011 Professor Krysia Dziedzic, Primary Care Health Sciences, “Best evidence for best therapies in osteoarthritis”.

For further information contact: Chris Stone, Press Office. Tel: 01782 733375.