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Meet the expert: Professor David Leake

Watch Professor David Leake explain more about his atherosclerosis and cholesterol research.
I’m David Leake. I teach biochemistry at the University of Reading. I also look after the biomedical sciences degree and admissions for the biochemistry degree. I do research on atherosclerosis, on the involvement of cholesterol in the disease, so I’m quite a busy person. What attracted me to atherosclerosis research is that it’s important. It’s a major cause of death in the UK and the world. And it’s such a complex disease. There’s a lot of good science you can do in it. If you want to go into research, you’ve got to have curiosity. You’ve got to want to know how something works, when it goes wrong, how you can put it right, how to cure disease. It’s hard work.
I think it’s important to look at other fields, because often you make an advance in a field by taking an idea from one field and putting it into your own. See, you need that good idea, and then all the hard work comes to try and prove it. One piece of equipment that we use which is useful are these two spectrophotometers. This is our automatic spectrophotometer. And it can take about six to eight samples of low density lipoprotein, LDL, sit and look at the effects of various drugs on this oxidation process, sort them at 37 degrees. And it’s fully automatic, so every three minutes of the night it’ll take a reading.
It’s all stored on the computer, so in the morning we come in and all the data is there. It saves us a lot of time, because we can get information overnight. We can do a lot of experiments at one time in these machines and they always work well.

In this behind the scenes feature Professor David Leake discusses his role in the University of Reading teaching on a couple of the degree courses and researching atherosclerosis and cholesterol. He also presents two types of spectrophotometer that are used in the lab to analyse samples such as low-density lipoprotein.

You may like to find out more about Professor David Leake’s research.

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Heart Health: A Beginner's Guide to Cardiovascular Disease

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