Having spent the early part of his career working in the Middle East diving business, Chris Howarth wanted a career change and moved back to England to study at UCLan.
After completing a Diploma in Technology at the then Lancashire Polytechnic, Chris studied for a BSc(Hons) Physiology and Biochemistry degree, graduating with a First. A curiosity about the function of the heart then inspired Chris to stay at UCLan and study for a PhD in Cardiac Physiology.
“I was fascinated by the mechanics of the heart and wanted to stay in academia and study it further. Thankfully my PhD research was funded by the British Heart Foundation who awarded me a Prize Studentship,” explained Chris.
“I had a tough yet enjoyable three years and fondly remember Professor Jai Singh for his advice, support and guidance as I progressed through my studies. In fact I continue to enjoy his guidance and support to this day.”
After completing his PhD Chris completed two post-doctoral appointments in the UK, including a stint as a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, however he was determined to move back to the Middle East.
“I had always loved living and working in the Middle East, so when I was offered a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology at UAE University, I couldn’t turn it down,” he continued.
Chris was promoted to Associate Professor in 2003, commenting: “In this role, my primary research interest was examining type II diabetes and its impact on heart function - an area of research I have published over 50 papers on. In the role, I also spent time teaching a range of students and variety of topics including about the Cardio Vascular and Endocrine systems.”
“Perhaps my greatest achievement however has been in the area of student research. After being appointed Coordinator of Undergraduate Research in 2001, I have been involved in developing opportunities for undergraduates to participate in a wide range of research programmes.”
In late 2012, Chris was appointed Chairman of the Department of Physiology at UAE University, the culmination of a journey which began at UCLan.
“I have had more than 100 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters published and won several awards for my contribution to medical science research. I am also privileged to have been able to enrich the research opportunities of many undergraduate and postgraduates. Without my undergraduate and postgraduate education at UCLan, I would not have been able to pursue a career in academia and contribute to such a vital body of knowledge,” Chris reflected.
TOP TIP FOR STUDENTS: Education is never wasted, make the most of it and remember tomorrow comes sooner than you think.