Fond farewell to Research Scientist after 30 years

Current and former colleagues gathered to say a very fond farewell to Research Scientist Dr Margaret Hoadley as she retired after 30 years.

Dr Hoadley’s three decades in the research laboratories at Salford Royal have seen her collaborate across several specialties but she’s particularly left her mark in stroke and sub-arachnoid haemorrhage (SAH). She has played a key role in the team investigating the role of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) in reducing inflammation in the brain, working with colleagues including Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, Professor Pippa Tyrrell, Professor Craig Smith, Professor Andy King, Dr Stephen Hopkins and Dr Adrian Parry-Jones.

The protein interleukin-1 (IL-1) is part of the body’s defences and naturally produced to combat a range of illnesses. However, it’s known that it increases inflammation and brain injury following a stroke and SAH. IL-1Ra works by blocking the actions of IL-1 and has been safely used in other conditions, notably rheumatoid arthritis.

The Manchester and Salford teams’ work over the last 20 years has now nearly reached the end of the phase 3 trial of IL-1Ra in SAH with all samples collected and Dr Hoadley says it seemed the right time to step away from her busy role.

Dr Margaret Hoadley

She said: “I’ve wanted to make sure I could hand over the work properly, because it’s an important trial. I will miss the people here though – I’ve met a lot of lovely people and the work has been interesting and kept my mind active.”

Dr Hoadley trained as a microbiologist and completed both her degree and PhD at The University of Manchester before taking up her role in Salford’s Clinical Sciences Building.

Techniques have developed greatly in that time and Dr Hoadley and Dr Hopkins developed a novel in house system for the measurement of messenger RNA (mRNA) using quantitative RT-PCR. This is a technique similar to that used for DNA detection but measures mRNA which is a type of single stranded RNA involved in protein synthesis. Measurement of mRNA by this method detects protein production at an earlier stage and is extremely sensitive.

Sylvia Scarth, Margaret Hoadley, Rob Oliver, Julie Oxton

Dr Hoadley with laboratory colleagues Sylvia Scarth, Rob Oliver and Julie Oxton

Her latest publication came just before her retirement, with a paper on the role of cortisol in immunosuppression in subarachnoid haemorrhage, using data from two different clinical studies at Salford Royal.

But although she has now formally retired, she will still be in touch as the IL-1Ra work moves towards publication … not to mention popping in to continue the tradition of dressing the departmental Christmas tree!

Research Laboratory Lead Dr Rob Oliver said: “Mags has always been a highly valued colleague; she was a conscientious and knowledgeable scientist who was extremely thorough in her work supporting numerous clinical and academic research projects, but she was also as a long-term friend who always offered kindness and support. The Clinical Sciences Building will not be the same without her, and we all wish her a long and happy retirement.”

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