April 1, 2017
Dr. Liam Martin | Rheumatologist, patient champion and soccer fan extraordinaire
Liam Martin has seen a lot of changes since he came here from Ireland in 1986 to work in Marv Fritzler’s lab. “I was here when the fourth floor of the HMRB was an open, unfinished space and the McCaig Institute was called the Joint Injury and Arthritis Research Group,” he says.
“When I first came and began teaching, there were four senior administrative people running the undergraduate courses at the medical school,” he says. Besides seeing the medical school increase in size exponentially, he has seen a change in the way the curriculum is presented. “We went from a didactic approach to a problem based learning approach, to a hybrid of both approaches currently,” he says. “Regardless of the changes in classroom teaching, however, the school has always included student interactions with patients from day one.”
It’s that focus on the patient that motivates Liam. His own research focuses on making sure patients are seen as early as possible and then finding new therapies to treat disease aggressively. “As a rheumatologist, it’s valuable and rewarding to collaborate with basic scientists so we can follow-through on the McCaig Institute’s “bed to bench to bed” approach to medicine,” he says. “The focus of the institute is centered on patients, as it should be,” says Martin.
When he is not seeing patients or collaborating on research projects, you’ll likely find Dr. Martin watching soccer, playing soccer, or traveling somewhere to catch a soccer match. “I still play soccer, or at least I walk around a soccer field once a week,” he says. He has been to several soccer world cups and European championships. “Last fall we went spur-of-the-moment to watch Ireland play in a world cup qualifying game in Vienna – it was fantastic.”
Tidbits about Liam:
Fun fact that would surprise people: “I like independent rock music. Not mainstream rock, but the more independent bands such as Elbow, the Spoons, 54/40.
Family: “My wife, Eileen, worked in the McCaig Institute as a research coordinator for years. We have two daughters and one son. And a new grand-dog – a Newfoundland puppy who already looks like a small horse.”
Best piece of advice he’s received: “’Keep your breath to cool your porridge.’ I take it to mean that if you have nothing important to say, say nothing”
Where would you like to see the CSM in another 50 years? “I’d like to see the school carry-on with its innovative approach to medical education,” he says. “And always ensure that students understand that what they do is centered on people and patients.”