Glasgow Science Festival: Exploring Lister’s Legacy

2017 marks 150 years since surgeon Joseph Lister’s ground-breaking article on antispetic surgery in The Lancet. At this year’s Glasgow Science Festival, we’ll explore Glasgow’s part in this medical milestone with a special lecture by surgeon Pankaj Chandak.


Pankaj Chandak

1. Who are you and what do you do?

I am  a Specialist Registrar in Transplant Surgery at Guy’s, St Thomas’ and Great Ormond Street Hospitals and a Research Fellow within the MRC Centre for Transplantation, King’s College London under Professor Nizam Mamode and Professor Anthony Dorling.

My interests include paediatric transplantation, organ perfusion, innovation, public engagement in science and everything scientific!

2. What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?

It’s a huge honour and a privilege to have been invited to deliver the Goodall Memorial Lecture at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow on the legacy of one of my heroes: Lord Joseph Lister

3. Why should we come to your event?

Lister was a true surgical innovator and original scientific thinker. He managed to elevate and steer his craft into a respected critical scientific discipline of the highest integrity. His multi-dimensional vision has influenced various aspects of improvement in health standards from antisepsis to medical industry, pathology, clinical surgery, education and global health.

Lister’s dedication represents a direct application of science into clinical practice which has managed to infiltrate every operating theatre and hospital worldwide. His clinical laboratory was the ward, the patients were his motivation and his prepared, open, logical mind his strength. Such qualities are important now, as they were then, for advancing health standards.

150 years on from Lister’s pioneering work, we are still challenged by the age-old problems of infection and unpredictable outcomes after surgery. I will illustrate how we are attempting to make complex surgery even safer using Lister’s legacy as a model. My own specialty of transplantation will be discussed in Lister’s light with respect to 3D printing, robotics and organ perfusion technology. Can we push the boundaries of science and medicine like Lister did?

4. This year’s festival theme is ‘Glasgow Explores’. Where would you like to explore?

I would like to explore the fascinating culture that defined Glasgow as a leading city of science through the ages with giants such as Kelvin and Lister who created the path for scientific discovery that changed our thinking forever. That’s exciting! Where did they work? How did they work? What inspired them? How did they overcome obstacles?

5. What’s the best thing about being a scientist or engineer?

Being able to wake up every day and dream something new and creative that may contribute to humanity in whatever little way it can – and realising that dream through hard work, collaboration and inspiration.

My two heroes are Lister and Faraday.

Lister said ” …there is only rule in medicine… put yourself in the patients place”

Faraday said “… but still try for who knows what is possible..”

These two quotes define for me the best thing there is about being both a doctor and a scientist.

Join Pankaj at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow on 15 June. Tickets are free. For more details, visit the website.


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