Dr Carl Goodyear
Carl Goodyear is an Arthritis Research UK career progression fellow at the University of Glasgow.
What does your work involve?
As a researcher, my main purpose is to explore the impact of arthritis on patients, in order to discover new insights that can be developed into potential treatments. I head a team of scientists who help me in my search for theories, which are tested via experimentation. We design and carry out experiments, and then conduct an analysis of the data these experiments produce. As scientists, we have to explore theories in many diverse ways, some of which will be disproven but this is just as important as proving them correct as it enables us to identify and focus upon the most viable course of action. In addition to the research, I also spend time teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
How long has Arthritis Research UK been funding you?
I came back to the UK from the USA in 2006 and since then I’ve been the recipient of Arthritis Research UK funding. This funding has been crucial to the scientific progress we have made and I’m indebted to the charity for this support, as without it I would have found it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have returned to the UK and succeeded in my research.
What’s the most important thing you have found out in the past 12 months? And why?
The most important thing I’ve found out in the last 12 months is how to maximise the beneficial research we undertake with the help of patient clinics. The reason this is so important is that it has allowed me to establish a near-patient translational immunology unit within our institute. We’re able to work in tandem with doctors and patients to reach a common goal, and the contact with patients helps to inspire our team. This is a key resource that we anticipate will lead to ground-breaking discoveries.
What do you hope or expect to achieve as a result of your Arthritis Research UK funding?
My main aim is to generate a new therapeutic strategy. At the moment the research we’re performing is based around a therapy that can simultaneously treat both inflammatory and bone destructive aspects of disease. If successful this would allow clinicians to treat multiple aspects of the disease with one medicine, simplifying the process for both doctors and patients. For example, we could treat rheumatoid arthritis, which is both inflammatory and causes bone erosion, whilst also treating osteoporosis, which is solely associated with bone disease.
What do you do in a typical day?
As my career has progressed, I spend less time conducting experiments and more time overseeing the work of my team. A crucial part of my work also involves reading the work done by other researchers. This helps us not only to develop our own ideas as breakthroughs come in associated areas, but also stops us from wasting valuable resources duplicating studies that have already been performed elsewhere.
What is your greatest research achievement?
Although I consider my research career to be just taking off I’ve had some great moments – but it always seems that the next finding is the most exciting. The key to success is retaining that excitement for the research. It’s hard to pick one highlight but my first paper as a postdoctoral researcher was based on understanding how a bacterial protein could affect our immune system. This created the foundation for all my future work.
Why did you choose to do this work?
I was interested in science from an early age and showed an aptitude for the scientific disciplines. Studying at university increased my curiosity and a passion for immunology gradually developed over time. My job remains exciting and challenging as things are constantly changing, and beneath these factors is my continuing desire to make a worthwhile contribution to medical science. My research today could lead to treatments, which will improve the quality of life for many, many people.
Do you ever think about how your work can help people with arthritis?
Interaction with the clinic enables us to become familiar with the impact of disease on patients, and it is to alleviate their suffering and the suffering of their friends and families that I continue to strive for a solution.
What would you do if you weren’t a researcher?
I can’t imagine a job I would find more interesting and rewarding than the one I currently have.
When I’m not at work I spend time at home with my family. We enjoy travelling, playing sports and games, and doing DIY.