The Scottish life sciences community is greatly enriched by its ability to attract talent from all around the world. The web site http://www.talentscotland.com/, created by Scottish Enterprise, actively promotes Scotland as a destination, and highly trained people come from all over the globe to take positions in life sciences organizations in Scotland.
Once they arrive, life scientists and clinicians remark on the open and collaborative environment they find here. They value the advantages of relatively concentrated centers of excellence and the benefits of open dialogue across a wide range of disciplines.
An Austrian proteomics specialist, Professor Walter Kolch, now of the University of Glasgow, had precisely that reaction. "I have found Scotland to be immensely welcoming," he says. "It isn't always easy to get used to the weather, but it's very easy to like the people." Kolch, Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, and Professor Anna Dominiczak are examples of the top-level scientists who have discovered an excellent collaborative environment in the Scottish life sciences sector.Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu
Having graduated in pharmacy at the University of Benin in Nigeria and obtained a Masters degree from the University of Lagos in Nigeria, Professor Uchegbu gained a PhD in drug delivery at the School of Pharmacy, University of London, before coming to Scotland in 1997.
As a pharmacist married to a biologist, it is not surprising that her professional passion lies in finding better ways to enable drugs to do their work within the body. She works extensively with her husband, Dr. Andreas Schatzlein, a biologist at the Center for Oncology and Applied Pharmacology at the University of Glasgow, and a director of Nanomerics.
"Our aim is to offer 'blue sky' solutions through the collaboration of biologists and pharmaceutical scientists to change the very architecture of drugs," she said.
Uchegbu believes the West is well served with both scientific and clinical research facilities. She insists the argument that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" is particularly relevant when talking about the interconnectivity of clinical and pharmaceutical sciences research.
Professor Anna Dominiczak
Her work concentrates on the interaction of genes and the environment to help advance the understanding of why certain groups of people are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease than others.
After graduating in medicine in Gdansk, Poland, Dominiczak first came to Glasgow in 1982. She describes the city as "a great place to 'grow up' in medical and research terms, through the positive culture of clinicians and scientists working side by side."
The new British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Research Center ( http://www.gla.ac.uk/bhfgcrc/) in Glasgow, which Professor Dominiczak heads, brings 140 cardiovascular researchers and support staff under one roof and provides a focus for a wider community of students, scientists, and clinicians from around the world.