As many people in the world redirect their time and energy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have had to follow suit, and my cancer research has stopped.

After a short period of reflection, I have now directed my time and energy into offering a positive contribution. First, I have volunteered my medical knowledge and experience in a COVID-specific intensive care unit in the Midlands. I have found the team dedicated, warm and welcoming, and whilst I did contract the COVID-19 (I assume: I was not tested) I recovered within a week and have returned to work with enthusiasm.

In the downtime afforded to me by these clinical commitments, I am also helping my research group at Imperial College in developing a rapid, point-of-care test for COVID-19 using principles repurposed from the technology I was using for intraoperative cancer detection.

I recognise that I am fortunate in having a way of being productive and occupied, when I know that many are feeling the strain of isolation from leisure, friends and family.

If you are reading this, I hope that you are staying safe, and staying home.

Jim Higginson
Clinical Doctoral Fellow

My research interests include head and neck cancer, free flap reconstruction and the application of cancer metabolomics to head and neck cancer surgery.