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News > OC news > James Clark (91) combines his career with his passion for music

James Clark (91) combines his career with his passion for music

OC Professor of Cardiovascular and Physiology Education releases a Christmas album...
15 Dec 2022
OC news

I have always been a scientist; I had always been interested in nature and engineering. I also had a passion for music since I first started learning the piano at the age of 7. While at Churcher’s I was able to explore these interests, forming a band and performing with fellow students along-side my lessons. I left Churcher’s to read a degree in Applied Biology at Bath University with the ambition to pursue a career in population biology and ecology which was my interest at the time.  During the degree at Bath, I soon realised that ecology was not for me and although I spent 9 months in Cumbria undertaking a survey for otters it was my second undergraduate placement at the Cellular Physiology department at Babraham Institute (Cambridge) that whetted my appetite for research and, by the end of the degree the following year, I was looking for a PhD in physiology, the science of life.

I secured funding to undertake a PhD at University College London where I spent 4 absorbing years in the lab investigating methods to protect hearts against damage following a heart attack when the heart is starved of blood and oxygen. During this time, I also started to SCUBA dive, a great hobby if you need to get away from work! While doing my PhD I also set up a commercial recording studio to supplement by PhD stipend and give me an excuse to continue making music. I achieved my PhD in 2000 and then continued working in the same lab for the next four years.

I started my career at King’s College London in 2004 working as a research associate in the lab of Prof. Mike Marber and, following a British Heart Foundation Research Fellowship exploring cellular signalling in heart failure, I gained a lectureship in Aerospace Physiology in 2007 igniting a new passion for teaching. During my time at King’s, my enthusiasm for teaching physiology has led me to throw myself in at the deep end, literally, SCUBA diving to extreme depths to create innovative teaching material for my lessons and I have received numerous awards for education innovation. I am now Professor of Cardiovascular and Physiology Education and the head of the department of Physiology at King’s College London.

Of course, I also have music as a constant accompaniment to my life and during lockdown I started recording songs to keep colleagues and student’s spirits up while we were teaching online. To celebrate the festive season, I have just released an album of Christmas songs to raise money to Prostate Cancer UK (link: https://bit.ly/jinglebells22).

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