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08 July 2019

London junior doctor wins prestigious research award

Dr Grace Hatton has won a top prize in the prestigious Dr Falk-Pharma/Guts UK charity national awards for research in the fields of gastroenterology and hepatology.

Dr Grace Hatton
Grace HAtton

Dr Hatton, a junior doctor at King's College Hospital, won the award for her project, entitled ‘The role of faecal microbial transplantation (FMT) in treatment of chronic liver disease.’

Grace was presented with the award and a £2,500 research bursary at a dinner on Tuesday 18 June at the British Society of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting in Glasgow.

The Dr Falk Pharma/Guts UK Charity Awards, now celebrating its thirteenth year, are dedicated to encouraging research and promoting patient care in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology.

There is an increasing focus in the scientific world on the bacteria which reside in the gut, known as the microbiota. My project focuses on the use of faecal microbial transplantation (FMT), which is a novel therapeutic strategy undergoing randomised controlled trial (RCT) evaluation in patients with cirrhosis of the liver.

Dr Grace Hatton

Dr Hatton continues to explain 'by replacing an unhealthy gut microbiota with a healthy one, we are trying to understand how the gut microbiota and microbiome communicate with the immune system, and whether FMT may improve the immune dysfunction we typically see in patients with chronic liver disease which makes them highly susceptible to infections. Our work will continue hopefully into subsequent trials with wider cohorts if we are able to demonstrate a positive effect on disease outcome, including cirrhosis progression and subjective patient quality of life assessments’.

‘Winning this award reinforces the validity of my work impacting and hopefully benefits a wide patient cohort as well as supporting my career aspirations to pursue a career in academic clinical hepatology.'

Professor Chris Hawkey, President of Guts UK charity, who co-presented the ceremony says: ‘These awards have supported numerous medical students, junior doctors, nurses and dietitians at crucial early stages in their careers. These are the most talented health professionals and leaders of tomorrow and support at this early stage help to signal their potential to them and their peers and foster self-belief as the bright stars of tomorrow. The awards continue to be highly competitive and help to attract the brightest and the best to the field of UK gastroenterology.

‘Guts UK is delighted to continue its collaboration with Dr Falk Pharma UK, and the trustees of Guts UK greatly value Dr Falk’s clear vision and ongoing support of this valuable initiative.’