The sun came out and the sun protection very definitely went on when Rachel Watson gave her inaugural lecture as Professor of Cutaneous Science at The University of Manchester.
Professor Watson is an expert in skin ageing and the mechanisms behind it and works with Salford Royal’s Dermatopharmacology Unit on some of her research, as well as being Academic Director of the MSc in Skin Ageing and Aesthetic Medicine at the University.
Her lecture’s slightly tongue-in-cheek title was ‘Keep young and beautiful: Fibrillin and accelerated ageing’ and focused on her work in Manchester and Salford since 1994, following her first degree in Anatomy and Cell biology and her subsequent PhD at the University of Sheffield.
She explained how skin ageing can be divided into two categories: changes which occur due to time and those which are the result of environmental factors, mainly long-term sun exposure but also sun-bed use, smoking and atmospheric pollutants.
Sun exposure results in skin with deep coarse wrinkles and loss of elasticity and Professor Watson’s studies on the role of fibrillin-rich microfibrils, key structural components of the elastic fibre network in the skin, are internationally recognised. She’s also spent time under the media spotlight thanks to programmes on the BBC and ITV and national newspaper coverage of some of her research examining the efficacy of cosmetic treatments.
She finished her lecture by thanking all the volunteers and colleagues who give their time to help research and gave a special mention to Professor Chris Griffiths, Foundation Professor of Dermatology at the University of Manchester and Consultant Dermatologist at Salford Royal, for his mentorship over nearly 25 years.