There was a fond farewell to Dr Steve Hopkins this week as he retired from Salford Royal after 38 years, as a Consultant Scientist and Honorary Reader at the University of Manchester.
His work here since 1978, when he joined Professor Malcolm Jayson’s team, has been focussed around inflammation and immunology, first in rheumatic diseases, then fever in collaboration with Nancy Rothwell and international colleagues, injury with the MRC Trauma team and more recently in stroke and dementia.
He has been key to research into the role of inflammatory mediators as important regulators of inflammation and immunity and his laboratory developed precise methods for measuring inflammation and evaluating cytokine responses (proteins that affect interactions and communications between cells in the body).
His interest in science was sparked as a teenager when his mother became a living kidney donor and he says he has particularly enjoyed working with people who share his deep interest in understanding biological and clinical disease processes.
As he stepped down from his day-to-day role, he looked forward to continuing his voluntary work in Eccles and working on his allotment as well as travelling with his partner Karen Illingworth, who has also retired from the laboratory at Salford Royal.
But he won’t be cutting his ties altogether, as he’ll continue to co-supervise a number of PhD students and has further research publications in the pipeline.
Professor of Stroke Medicine Prof Pippa Tyrrell paid tribute to her colleague: “Working with Steve Hopkins has always been an absolute delight. He is first and foremost a fantastic colleague: a lovely man who also happens to be an excellent scientist!
“He has been the backbone of our stroke research over the last 16 years, producing laboratory data from our patient samples that you know you can have complete confidence in, because he is so meticulous in preparing the data. He is always the first person to spot the errors in papers and grant applications (how many times has he spotted that my aims and hypotheses don’t always quite match up?) and has been extremely supportive of the many students who have come through the stroke research group. He has encouraged the research nurses to feel confident in handling and preparing samples, and makes everyone feel part of the team. He is also a very warm and funny person who makes meetings a pleasure. He and Karen will be greatly missed by many friends and colleagues in CSB and in the Trust.”