Published date: 7th March 2017

For the first of a new series, Clare Mackay shares her journey to becoming a Professor and her involvement with DPUK.

Clare Mackay is Professor of Imaging Neuroscience at University of Oxford and leads on imaging informatics for Dementias Platform UK.

How did you get to where you are now?

I’ve always been fascinated by the brain – it has always been the number one thing that has driven me. I did a degree in psychology but was always a bit too much of a geek to be a proper psychologist! I’ve been doing neuroimaging ever since my undergraduate project which was 20 odd years ago. I have always enjoyed the science that one can do with imaging but also the nuts and bolts of how it works. So my current position reflects both of those things, the workings of the machine and what you can do with it scientifically.

How did you get involved with DPUK?

I actually led Oxford’s bid for the original grant that gave birth to DPUK. It was an unsuccessful bid so I wasn’t involved in what became the successful DPUK in the first round. As soon as it got to the capital phase I proposed the imaging informatics infrastructure, and I’ve been involved in that ever since. Subsequently I’ve become the open science champion for DPUK and I’m now a steering group member.

How does your work interact with the other areas of the platform?

Because I’m involved in informatics it ends up touching on many areas of the platform. The imaging informatics is part of the informatics and imaging networks, so I’m well embedded into two of the three research networks across the platform. Because of this I then need to interact with many of the work packages in the main DPUK as well, like the portal, the cohort engagement team, ethics and governance and all of those things.

How is your current work impacting on what’s happening across the platform now?

I’m leading the MRI aspect of the deep and frequent phenotyping study. We’re putting together the protocol and the data management structures to facilitate large scale multicentre studies, such as deep and frequent phenotyping. The work that we’re doing there will, I hope, become very easy to take up and implement for other future studies that use the same general approach.

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