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Humphrey Hodgson was born in Yorkshire in April 1945 (strong environmental influence for obstinacy and bloody-mindedness). He was educated at Westminster School, Oxford University (pre-clinical), and St Thomas' Hospital Medical School London.
He went on to the Royal Free Hospital, London, England, for research training with Derek Jewell, in GI immunology applied to inflammatory bowel disease, and then to Kurt Isselbacher's department in Massachusetts General Hospital. With Jack Wands he provided the first evidence of defective immunoregulation in autoimmune liver disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
In 1977 Professor Hodgson returned to London, to the Hammersmith Hospital Royal Postgraduate Medical School. Here he rose through the ranks, from lecturer to Professor of Gastroenterology and Professor of Medicine.
With talented colleagues, investigated means of assessing inflammation in IBD, and established leukocyte scanning as a viable clinical technique, he also became progressively fascinated with liver cell biology. This interest extended to concepts of harnessing liver cells for therapeutic purposes, via either extracorporeal liver support or gene transfer.
After 21 years at the Hammersmith, Professor Hodgson moved to take the 'Sheila Sherlock Chair' at the Royal Free in 1999. Here he met old friends and has developed his research program in the context of a major hepatic unit, in a new purpose-built department!
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist/hepatologist?
- After first house officer posts I went to Iran as a general medical registrar, and decided that infectious disease was where it was at; as there was no UK training program Brian Creamer of St Thomas's suggested GI as an alternative.
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- The Oxford Physiology School - that continues to make me think of problems as a whole. Individually - Brian Creamer, Derek Jewell, Sheila Sherlock for medicine and clinical science, Keith Peters for politics.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- Mito and Ebata 1979 - they showed transplanted normal hepatocytes would survive in vivo in ectopic sites.
- What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
- That any research answer is the next research question.
- What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
- Trying to achieve in two major specialties!
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- To make liver cell therapy a clinical reality!
- What is your greatest regret?
- That I haven't done the above yet!
- How do you relax?
- Reading, walking, good company, listening to string quartets and/or Glenn Gould.
- What is your best place in the world?
- Any one of a number of mountains (below the ice-line).
- What is your favorite film?
- "The Battle for Algiers" - Pontecorvo's masterpiece.
- What car do you drive?
- A Volvo 850 estate out of town and a Land Rover Freelander in town (in case the going is slippery in Muswell Hill).
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- I still have difficulty setting radio alarms!
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- Peter Ackroyd's "London: the Biography".
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- I couldn't resist the company - and let's face it - instant information is the name of the game now.