Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A personal farewell to Professor Keith Campbell

A few days ago I met a friend of mine at Belle and Jerome's (Beeston, Nottinghamshire), he used to be a Post-Doc somewhere in France and then after in Scotland, right now is a Professor of Embryology in the Queens Medical Centre - University of Nottingham. We were rambling on and on about our research days, my ongoing ones and his former PhD days, the current responsibilities, not only professional but also personal... He is a dad now, and I have my own plans of becoming one. His wife, a beautiful girl who I met first back in 2007 was there also with a very aware eye towards her smiley toddler.

It was when we discussed our professional aims that very sad news hit me hard. Professor Keith Campbell had died back in October the 5th, 2012. I didn't know Professor Campbell had been my friend's PhD supervisor; that was mentioned just there, but I knew Professor Campbell not only for the amazing achievements with Dolly the Sheep (actually my friend told me that he was far more enthusiastic about his first discoveries prior to Dolly, discoveries that had been ignored by the scientific media because they sounded too surreal!!!).

Well, I always worked throughout my life as a student. I had to help myself pay the rent, buy goods, and the money my mum had for me was precious, but simply not enough. In Sutton Bonington, when a student of BSc Hons Biotechnology I worked as a barman in a Bed & Breakfast Hotel/Pub. It was in this place that I met Professor Keith Campbell and I was just mesmerized by his humility. A simple, very interesting, humble person who I felt had a lot more to give me than just the change for the pint he had purchased.

We spoke very briefly about epigenetics, we spoke very briefly about snow, we spoke very briefly about science. But I specifically recall a question I presented him with:

"So how did you guys knew that it was possible just like that?"... about Dolly.

He answered very calmly:

"When you like something you do it with pleasure".

Professor Keith Campbell was never my lecturer, but that day he taught me something still today I haven't forgotten.

May He Rest in Peace.

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