Chris McDermott is Professor of Translational Neurology at the University of Sheffield, UK, where he is co-director of the Motor Neuron Disease Care and Research Centre. He leads a research group whose goal is to develop the evidence base for symptom management in patients motor neuron disease.
What has been the greatest achievement of your career?
The opportunity to work in partnership with people living with motor neuron disease, so as to develop solutions to the problems they face on a daily basis.
What do you think is the most neglected field of science or medicine at the moment?
Palliative care, particularly in the last few months of life.
What inspires you?
The refusal to accept that just because something cannot be cured, there is nothing to be done.
If you had not entered your current profession, what would you have liked to do?
Be a pop star, starship captain, or historian.
How do you relax?
By laughing, eating, and travelling with friends and family.
What is your greatest regret?
Neither learning to play the piano nor learning to speak a foreign language when I was younger.
What is your favorite film and why?
Pride is my current favorite. It made me laugh, cry, and indulge in childhood nostalgia.
How would you improve the public’s understanding of research?
With a scripted reality show.
What was your first experiment as a child?
Does sandwich spread taste the same as mayonnaise?
If you were Bill Gates, how would you spend your fortune?
I would set up a foundation to fund the world’s best researchers and incentivise industry to facilitate advances in treating people with motor neuron disease.