Liz Soilleux undertook both undergraduate and clinical medical training at Jesus College, Cambridge, graduating in 1996 and moving rapidly towards specialisation in histopathology, working both as a senior house officer and registrar in Cambridge, while holding a teaching fellowship at Churchill College, Cambridge. During her time in Cambridge, she was awarded a Medical Research Council Clinical Training Fellowship to undertake a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Immunology, with additional funding from the Sackler Foundation. Her work made significant impact in the fields of HIV and immunology and culminated in the Dolph Adams Award from the Journal of Leucocyte Biology for the most highly cited original research paper in the journal in the preceding 5 years, in addition to a Glaxo Smith Kline fellowship from the Royal Society of Medicine and the Association of Clinical Pathologists’ Trainee Pathologists prize.
She moved to Oxford to take up a Clinical Lectureship in 2004 and completed her final FRCPath examination in 2005. She was appointed as a lecturer at St Hugh’s College in 2004 and undertakes tutorials in pathology and medical microbiology for the undergraduate and graduate entry preclinical courses, as well as laboratory medicine tutorials for the clinical medical students. She has been a regular lecturer on the Oxford University Laboratory Medicine Course for first year clinical students since 2004 and has also served as the Chief Examiner for this course. She teaches at postgraduate level on a variety of nationally/ internationally recognised courses, in particular the ‘Oxford FRCPath Course’, which draws delegates from across the UK and internationally. Between 2008 and 2010, she was the training programme director for registrars (junior doctors) in pathology in the Oxford deanery, which includes hospitals in Slough, Reading, Stoke Mandeville, High Wycombe and Milton Keynes.
Besides teaching and research, Liz undertakes a full-time NHS workload as a consultant pathologist. The John Radcliffe Hospital boasts one of the largest and best staffed pathology departments in the UK, allowing consultants to become fully subspecialised. Apart from undertaking autopsy work (which results in relatively frequent appearances at the Oxford Coroner’s court), Liz reports haematopathological specimens (biopsies from organs or tissues related to red and white blood cells/ the immune system). She was involved in the development of Oxford’s Molecular Diagnostic Facility, introducing DNA- and RNA-based techniques into routine pathological diagnosis.
At a national level, she chairs the Education Subcommittee of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland and has been involved in organising a number of successful ‘PathSoc’ conferences. She is the UK pathologist on the national Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Steering Group and she is also the lead pathologist for Sudden Cardiac Death in young adults in the Oxford deanery and a member of the Cardiac Pathology Network Steering Group, with the aim of improving the autopsy investigation of such potentially heritable disorders.
Liz retains her research interests in immunology, particularly related to dendritic cells and macrophages, which are important in the initiation of immune responses. She has also developed interests in vascular biology and cancer/ lymphoma/ leukaemia biology, particularly where these areas overlap with immunology. She is currently supervising several MSc students in these fields. She has published widely both in scientific journals and as book chapters and was on the editorial board of Diagnostic Histopathology between 2009 and 2012.
Outside work, Liz struggles to cope with two pre-school children and an ever increasing number of feathered and furry friends (hens and cats). Her interests from the days before she had children (tennis (playing for various local teams), running, swimming, circuit training, classical music, theatre, watercolour painting and European languages) are currently “on hold”.