Maltese doctor wins UK prize for science communication

Dr Michelle Muscat

Dr Michelle Muscat

Michelle (known as Mikhaila) Muscat, a Maltese medical doctor and a speciality registrar in chemical pathology, was last Thursday awarded the 2017 Furness Prize for Science Communication at The Law Society in London.

The prize is organised on a yearly basis by The Royal College of Pathologists to recognise sustained excellence in science communication and is open to pathology speciality registrars across the UK.

Dr Muscat set up a Facebook page entitled ‘Unravelling Che­mi­cal Pathology’, which currently has over 1,000 registered likes. As an outreach, she re­cently organised and delivered a chemical pathology summer weekend break for University medical students. She also delivered simpler chemical pathology sessions for schoolchildren.

In a chapter of her textbook A Multifaceted Tinge of Chemical Pathology, first published in 2016 and reprinted last year, Dr Muscat used an innovative way of communicating the topic, namely through linkage to movies.

Last December, she published a novel called Maddy’s Pandora – Cherry Blossoms & Clinical Chemistry interweaving a variety of clinical chemistry themes in the narrative. Last month, the book was ranked third on Pathologie Englischsprachig Test & Vergleichstabelle 2018, a German website listing English language pathology books.

Last year she also took part in Fame Lab, delivering a three-minute talk entitled ‘Mona Lisa & Cholesterol – What You Did Not Know’, which won the Fame Lab Malta Public’s Choice Award 2017 through an audience vote.

Dr Muscat has also reviewed movies and series in The Synapse medical magazine in relation to their scientific or medical themes. She has published articles in international journals such as Hektoen International Journal, the Journal of Research & Humanities in Medical Education (RHiME), the Journal of Medical Humanities and the World Journal of Medical Education and Research (WJMER).

Dr Muscat has always been passionate about science communication. Among her hobbies, which include exploring new languages and creative writing among others, she also writes poetry, some of which also features chemical pathology themes.

After graduating as a doctor in 2008, Dr Muscat completed her first two years as a junior doctor, doing rotations in surgery, medicine, accident and emergency, psychiatry and ophthalmology. She subsequently entered the speciality of chemical pathology in 2010.

In addition to her chemical pathology training, she completed the membership exam with Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Dr Muscat was awarded her Master’s degree with distinction.

After that she moved on to start her PhD. Her doctoral research was part-funded through the Endeavour scholarship scheme.

In autumn 2016 she was awarded a postgraduate dip­loma in professional research practice. Dr Muscat also completed the British fellowship exam in clinical biochemistry.

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