Experts - David, Max, Iain & Sophie

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(Length 20 minutes)

David Kaskel, CEO and Managing Director,

David Kaskel is the CEO and Managing Director of, a pioneering Second Life-based language school.He will be responsible for coordinating in-world modelling and scripting and for the collaborative development of the educational/dramatic scenarios. Kaskel has directed the building of a highly sophisticated virtual city in Second Life, populated by qualified and experienced language tutors, and containing inventive teaching and learning materials, interactive tutorials and scenarios designed fully to exploit the possibilities offered by the Second Life environment.
Kaskel is currently overseeing the development of Theatron, an Eduserv funded project which involves the (re)construction of 20 historically significant theatres in Second Life. In addition, he is developing a range of interactive spaces to support the work of the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, where he is also a part-time Ph.D. student,studying aspects of the user-avatar relationship in shared virtual environments.

David Kaskel talks about
What is a virtual world like?

Case study: Language Lab - Experiencing an art gallery inSecondlife
Case study: Creating characters within Secondlife
The possibilities of creating an Online Clinical Trial within Secondlife

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(Length 19 minutes)

Sir Iain Chalmers, Editor, James Lind Library

Iain Chalmers directs the James Lind Initiative, which promotes public and professional acknowledgement of uncertainties about the effects of treatments, and research to address them. He coordinates the Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments – DUETs (, a resource to help prioritise new research in the UK, and edits The James Lind Library (, a web-based resource containing explanatory material in seven languages about fair tests of medical treatments.

Testing Treatments: better research for better healthcare - a book for the public co-authored by Imogen Evans, Hazel Thornton and Iain Chalmers – was published by The British Library in 2006, and is now available without charge in The James Lind Library.

Iain Chalmers was director of the UK Cochrane Centre between 1992 and 2002, and director of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit between 1978 and 1992.

Sir Iain Chalmers talks about

His previous engagement work
Case study: Dr Spock story
Case study: Ian Chalmers’ work in Gaza with young children
Case study: Caffeine, oxygen and cerebral palsy
Case study: Acute traumatic brain Injury, the use of steroids and increased risk of death
Finding out what is known already is important when conducting a trial
Case study: James Lind trial

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(Length 19 minutes)

Professor Max Parmar, Joint Director of the UK Clinical Research Network

Mahesh Parmar has been with the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit for over 20 years, and Head of the Cancer Group since 1998. He is also an Associate Director of the National Cancer Research Network since its inception in 2001. He has interests in improving outcomes for patients in a range of cancers, together with a methodological interest in new designs for clinical trials and improved methods of analysis.

Max Parmer talks about
Addressing rare diseases
The effect of the Human Genome Project on the availability of potential therapies to test
Case study: Cancer Trials (Patients and Drs keen to take part)
What do we know? How much has medicine changed? How effective are new treatments?
The time consuming process of a clinical trial
Case study: Osteosarcoma (bone cancer)
Case study: Randomising prisoners to test the effects of an antidote to heroin overdose

Dr Sophie Petit-Zeman - Head of External Relations, Association of Medical Research Charities

Sophie Petit-Zeman has been Head of External Relations at the Association of Medical Research Charities since 2004. Before joining AMRC, she was a biomedical researcher focusing on stroke, epilepsy and pain, and her PhD, at London's Kings College Hospital, investigated the causes of brain cell death in motor neurone disease and dementia. She then migrated, via mental health research as Biomedical Research Manager at the Mental Health Foundation, to communications and journalism. Shortlisted MIND Mental Health Journalist of the Year 2001, she has worked for all the UK broadsheets, numerous specialist journals, for the NHS, private and voluntary sectors in the UK and abroad. Sophie appears regularly in the mainstream media, both for AMRC and other ventures (most embarrassingly as the neuroscience expert on the BBC national television quiz, Test the Nation 2007) and has written two books, “Doctor, What’s Wrong? Making the NHS human again (Routledge, 2005) and “How to be an Even Better Chair” (Pearson; 2006).

At AMRC, Sophie is responsible for member support and public engagement on many of the controversial issues affecting the sector, from the use of animals in medical research to embryo and stem cell research and patient involvement in clinical trials. She sits of numerous advisory boards and steering groups, including those of Understanding Animal Research, and the James Lind Alliance. Sophie has recently been elected a Vice President of the Institute of Animal Technologists and is on the Executive Board of the Brain and Spine Foundation.

Her interests include writing, sport of various kinds and cooking.

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