Top research honour for doctor

Dr Joe Christopher
Dr Joe Christopher

A former Wigan student has gained the top prize at a prestigious research award ceremony.

Dr Joe Christopher, who attended Standish Community High School and Winstanley College has been awarded the Dr Falk Pharma Core Charity national award for his research work on intestinal stem cells carried out during his PhD at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute in 2016.

I am very proud to have won the Dr Falk award: it is recognition of the hard work that I, and many members of the lab, have put into this project

Dr Joe Christopher

Joe, 26, who has just finished his fifth year at medical school at University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, was presented with the £1,000 prize at a ceremony in Manchester during the British Society of Gastroenterology Conference.

The Dr Falk Pharma UK/Core Awards, now celebrating its 10-year anniversary, are dedicated to encouraging research and promoting patient care in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology.

Joe said: “When choosing my PhD project, I knew that I wanted to pursue my academic interest in stem cell biology and my clinical interest in the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with cancer. The project offered by Dr Douglas Winton at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute allowed me to do exactly that.

“My research is based on a novel technique aimed at understanding normal intestinal stem cell behaviour by observing the naturally occurring changes in the DNA of stem cells.

“I am very proud to have won the Dr Falk award: it is recognition of the hard work that I, and many members of the lab, have put into the success of this project. Moving forward in my career, the award will carry weight when I am applying for jobs, particularly applying for academic and specialist training roles within the NHS.”

Joe, a keen runner, regularly returns to his home town to see his parents who live in Swinley and is also a regular competitor in the Wigan 10k and half marathon events.