The IMS-MRL has an international reputation for developing some of the world’s leading metabolic researchers who play important roles in academia, industry and policy. Formal and informal mentorship is key to this process.
Aspiring senior scientists have access to mentoring within the IMS-MRL but can also access other Cambridge mentoring schemes, for example, provided by the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine. Some students or early career researchers also have access to the Academy of Medical Sciences mentorship scheme.
A mentor is a guide and advisor. The aim of mentoring within the IMS-MRL is to help aspiring scientists to develop their potential and meet their career goals. Mentorship should be tailored to the individual: we all have different goals and aspirations. Trust and openness are important for good mentor-mentee relationships.
Although the aim of mentorship is to support the mentee, mentorship can also benefit mentors too. Many of our senior scientists have benefitted from mentoring, and now use their expertise to mentor others.
“Steve and Tony have been incredibly supportive of my research training and development from the moment I stepped onto the Biomedical Campus in June 2021. I’ve been in Cambridge for a year now and have grown tremendously as a student, scientist, and overall individual, and have Steve and Tony’s mentorship largely to thank.”
Jack Kincaid, MPhil student mentored by Steve O’Rahilly and Tony Coll
“Mentoring other people helped me develop skills in giving honest but kind advice!”
Fiona Gribble, Principal Investigator
“Mentoring other people has helped me reflect on issues of academic career progression and gave me a different perspective on supervisor-trainee issues.”
Clemence Blouet, Principal Investigator
“As a mentee, it helps to talk to someone who has gone through my career stage. They can highlight different options/points of view which forces me to lift my head up from the day-to-day concerns and think about the bigger picture. Mentoring others has allowed me to reflect on my career and to analyse what I could have done differently to provide better advice. It has also provided perspective of the concerns of younger researchers and an opportunity to help”.
Daniel Fazakerley, Principal Investigator
“I had a great mentor early in my career, Prof Robert Turner, from Oxford University, who sadly died young. Robert Turner showed me that it was not only possible to be a clinician scientist but it was perhaps the best job in the world! He also taught me not to be constrained by a technique or approach, just to keep asking interesting questions.
I have mentored many trainees and colleagues during my career. Many of my trainees have gone on to have very successful careers in academia and industry. That is enormously satisfying”.
Steve O’Rahilly, Principal Investigator
“Mentorship from Alice Adriaenssens gave me personal support and many useful advice on starting the life as a PhD student. She also shared her career path to help me have an idea about potential career choices.”
Ruoqi Du, PhD student, TVP Lab
“Being mentored has helped me through regular catch ups, advice on clinical work and projects, and putting me in touch with other team members for learning opportunities.”
Chris Bannon, Clinical Research Associate mentored by Claire Meek
“My mentors helped me through listening, advising, and challenging my assumptions. Their experience helped me address or have the courage to embark upon new challenges. My mentors have always been quite old! People underestimate the value of older generations, but in my opinion, they have a wealth of experience and can “afford” to be very generous with their time and input. I now mentor others (not because I feel old!) and find this very useful. I learn a lot from my mentees, who keep me connected with new emerging changes in society and mindset.”
Toni Vidal-Puig, Principal Investigator
“I have an informal mentor I talk to occasionally. My mentor helped me to realise that I am a lot better at my job than I give myself credit for! This has really improved my confidence and encouraged me to try different ways of interacting with and leading people depending on the situation.”
Chris Lelliott, Head of Disease Model Core
“When I started working in Cambridge, Stephen O’Rahilly’s kind guidance and support was invaluable in helping me establish and develop my career. I am now delighted to be in position to try and do the same for the next generation of scientists coming through, looking to lighten other people’s burdens by providing help, advice and a different perspective when needed.”
Tony Coll, Principal Investigator