An interview with our Chair of Trustees: Professor Matthew Walker
In advance of the announcement of our annual research grants for the coming year, we thought we would interview our Chair of Trustees, Professor Matthew Walker. Matthew will be introducing the recipients of the awards during National Epilepsy Week, at a reception to be held on Thursday 17th May at the Royal Society.
Matthew is a researcher and clinician who is passionate about epilepsy and epilepsy research and as chairman of Epilepsy Research UK, wants to be able to communicate this to others.
We asked Matthew about his vision for the charity:
“Epilepsy Research UK serves an immensely important role as the only charity in the UK dedicated to funding epilepsy research, and it is critical to ensure that it is in a position to continue to fund high quality research that will have an impact upon the lives of people with epilepsy. However, to continue to fund the best research, the charity will need to expand, and to expand I think the charity will need to be bolder and more ambitious in the future.”
“You already have a very busy schedule, so how will you fit this in with the rest of your demanding portfolio?”
“Yes, I am very busy but I take this role at ERUK very seriously and I will have to make the time. As a first step, I will be giving up my role as Head of the Epilepsy Department at UCL in order that I can dedicate more time to the charity.”
On a lighter note, we asked Matthew ‘What would the young you, think of you now?’ His response? “He would probably be upset about the hair loss, but pleased that I was a neurologist as I was always fascinated by how the brain works”. In fact Matthew had never seriously considered being anything other than a doctor “If I had been a different sort of doctor, I think my specific interest in electrophysiology would have meant that I would have been a cardiologist, as the brain and heart both depend on electric currents, but I went for the more complex speciality!” Outside of work Matthew is passionate about jazz – both listening and playing.
We conclude our ‘interview’ with Matthew with the best piece of advice he was ever given. It came from his father and would be useful for us all to remember: ‘without hard work any talent you have will be wasted’.