Returning to Caius as a postgraduate student

  • 07 December 2022

George Hourston (Medicine 2012) has had a busy autumn. He began an Orthopaedic Registrar job in Peterborough, got married to his long-time partner – and he re-enrolled as a student at Gonville & Caius College.

George read Medicine for six years at Caius, graduating in 2018. Four years on, George is undertaking a part-time MChir, a Masters in Surgery.

The National Institute for Health and Research Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) is keen to advance his research alongside his clinical work.

“Developing our knowledge and understanding and how to do things even better has always been something which I've been really interested in,” he says.

As an ACF, George has protected research time which, coupled with his interests, could prompt him to pursue a PhD.

He adds: “The MChir is a degree which traditionally has been for someone who is interested in doing some sort of research, perhaps not a full PhD. I'm coming at it a little bit differently, and I'm hoping to use it as a stepping stone into furthering my research portfolio.”

George’s particular research interest is in hand surgery and Dupuytren's Disease, a condition in which one or more fingers bend in towards the palm due to the development of fibrous connective tissue between the tendons of the finger.

“We really are just scratching the surface of understanding what's going on with this benign contracture of the palmar fascia, which results in, in some cases, quite significant deformity and functional disability,” he says.

Professor Andrew McCaskie is George’s supervisor. He has other influential people to thank for his career interests, including Caians Dr David Riches and Dr Dunecan Massey.

Dr Riches supported George’s interests in teaching head and neck anatomy to undergraduates, which he has been doing for eight years. Dr Massey interviewed George and subsequently was a consultant at Addenbrooke’s when George was a ‘Foundation Year 2’ junior doctor with the transplant team in Cambridge.

George recalls first choosing Caius after then Admissions Tutor Andrew Bell visited his school and he discovered the College’s medical pedigree.

He enjoyed his undergraduate experience and wanted to continue at Caius.

“Going through the College as an undergraduate I found it to be a very encouraging place. I got involved in the college life and experiences in such a way that I didn't really want to leave.

“That's why I decided to keep my clinical training in the area, because I've got a sort of a long ambition to be associated with the College in some way.”

Two men in academic dress

George, pictured left with Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, after being awarded Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons

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