Researcher in molecular biology
Martin is Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa. He studies rare diseases at the cellular level in laboratories, where the aim is to produce results that will eventually improve clinical care for patients. He had not worked directly with patients until Julie Drury, now the Strategic Lead for patient engagement at the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, offered to bring her daughter (whose cells they were studying in the lab) to visit. This began a long-term collaboration between them, which Martin describes as life and career-changing for him and his team. He emphasizes that although it is also rare that basic scientists engage directly with patients and families, there is enormous value for scientists and patients alike to connect around the research and find ways to work together. He is now an advocate for engagement, encouraging his academic colleagues to seek out partnerships and engagement at any stage of the research process. He and Julie are working with a clinical colleague to share their respective experiences about partnership on rare genetic diseases in a manuscript and as co-presenters at scientific conferences.
- Impact on Research – MartinEngaging with the patient and family helped Martin see how such a partnership could work in lab-based research
- Impact on Research – Martin (2)A parent helped to secure funding for Martin’s project and is contributing to publications about the partnership
- Challenging Experiences – MartinMartin thinks it is unfair to make assumptions about the breadth of patient partners' knowledge
- Looking forward – MartinHaving patients and clinicians share their stories in the classroom has been a powerful teaching tool for Martin.