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David Levison

David LevisonProfessor of Pathology at Dundee University (retired 2009)

Interview location: Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.
Interview date: 5th September, 2007

Key Themes: Alder HeyLegislation and RegulationMentors and Influences, New Technologies,



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Many of the turnings David Levison has taken in his professional life – from opting for medicine in the first place, to the areas of expertise he has developed as a diagnostician, and the research projects he has taken on – have been serendipitous.  "But I think that’s the way you enjoy life – you have to make use of the opportunities as they come along." As a junior doctor he took what he thought would be a short-term position in pathology, and has never looked back.  Key lessons he's learnt, he says, are that “doing things properly and having an open mind are tremendously important".

It’s not being intellectually brilliant that will make you effective all of the time, but just doing the job properly.Gastrointestinal pathology has been a constant interest, and Levison was involved in groundbreaking research into gut lymphomas.  He has also done original work on the mechanics of menstruation.
Levison is concerned that the Human Tissue Act, tightened considerably since the Alder Hey controversy, is putting a brake on medical progress.  He has become involved in the politics of medical research as part of a group that advises the Scottish Parliament on relevant legislation.  

Over his career, Levison has seen dramatic changes in pathology practice and has embraced with enthusiasm all kinds of new technology.  But when his young wife died suddenly, it was the oldest technology in the book, the autopsy, that was most useful in establishing what had happened and bringing closure for her family.
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