Caroline Hawkridge’s Poetry & Medicine article featured online with the Guardian.

(click below image for full enlarged version)


Caroline Hawkridge’s Guardian coverage.


National Poetry Day: ‘Water, water everywhere’

Water was the subject of this year’s National Poetry Day, inspired by Coleridge’s famous cry “Water,water everywhere”. Talented and acclaimed Caroline Hawkridge is writer- in -residence for one of our clients, the National Aspergillosis Centre, in Manchester.

And to celebrate the theme she has composed a special poem featured here –

heron image

A poem by Caroline Hawkridge


 A poem by Caroline Hawkridge

The day began before dawn,

when a computer blip triggered the flood defences
and every set of locks beyond Saltersford
opened their sluices.

Slowly, the sea drank our inland miles of river.
Water gargled here and there,
but otherwise went quietly, unnoticed
by the milkmen of Barnton, Weaverham.

Pairs of early headlights crossed the bridges,
drivers looking straight ahead.

No one saw the river suck its cheeks
or boats pull their moorings like teeth.

Alarms began, one by one, house by house,
but meant nothing – another weekday morning –
until a bent enamel dish full of grain for the hens
clattered from a lock-keeper’s hands.

Narrowboats had kissed thick mud, derailing
geraniums from painted rose-and-castle cans
and scuttles.

White motor boats lay beached,
their bulbous hulls skirted by ducks examining
the river bed.

A wooden dinghy hung in flight,
ropes taut.

A heron stood dwarfed, the last
of the long water running between its toes,
where only daylight silvered.

Caroline Hawkridge.



The University of Manchester has formed arguably the most powerful research group in the world to tackle a problem that is largely unrecognised yet affects millions of people each year.

Globally and annually, over 300 million people suffer from serious fungal infections, resulting in 1,350,000 deaths – many of which are unavoidable.

Most serious fungal infections are ‘hidden’, occurring as a consequence of other health problems such as asthma, AIDS, cancer or organ transplants. Delays or missed diagnosis often lead to death, serious chronic illness or blindness.

Now, the newly formed multidisciplinary Manchester Fungal Infection Group (MFIG) hopes to make a difference with the recruitment of three leading experts from Edinburgh and London.

Professor Nick Read will move from Edinburgh University and lead the group, while Dr Elaine Bignell from Imperial College, London, has been appointed as a Reader, and Dr Mike Bromley as a lecturer. Manchester senior lecturers, Dr Paul Bowyer and Peter Warn will also join the MFIG and will work alongside the already thriving research and teaching teams of Professors David Denning and Malcolm Richardson, and Dr Riina Richardson, to form this pioneering Group.

Professor Nick Read is an internationally renowned fungal cell biologist with over 30 years of research experience and has pioneered the use of advanced live-cell imaging techniques with many fungi, including human pathogens.

He says: “The opportunity to develop cutting edge multidisciplinary science in the relatively neglected but extremely important topic of fungal infection will be internationally unique and I am very excited to be able to join and lead this team of talented scientists in Manchester.”

The focus of the MFIG going forward is developing a profound understanding of the biology of the mechanistic basis of Aspergillus* fungal infection, identifying new antifungal drugs and human genetic risk profiling.

Professor Ian Jacobs, the University’s Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences adds: “The combination of strong medical leadership, exemplified by the National Aspergillosis Centre, and internationally competitive science which these new appointments bring, is exactly what the new Faculty’s strategy has focused on. We anticipate real and accelerated progress in this challenging clinical area over the coming years.’’

For more information please contact Susan Osborne, Director of Communcations, The Goodwork Organisation, on 07836 229208.

MFIG press release-PDF pdf-logo



Notes to Editors:

*Aspergillus is a species of fungus (mould). Several different types occur widely in the environment. They invade and colonise vegetable matter, especially when wet and/or rotting. The organisms grow to produce tiny filaments, or fibres, and reproduce by making tiny spores.

Nick Read is an internationally renowned fungal cell biologist and has pioneered the use of advanced live-cell imaging techniques with many fungi, including human pathogens. His current research interests are primarily focused on calcium signaling during fungal pathogenesis and on antifungal peptides.

Elaine Bignell has made unparalled contributions to our understanding of life-threatening fungal infections of the lung, caused by Aspergillus, with highly innovative molecular approaches.

Mike Bromley has discovered several new potential antifungal drug targets, which are critically important as azole resistance emerges throughout the world, and new antifungal drugs are urgently required.

Manchester already hosts the National Aspergillosis Centre, the Mycology Reference Centre Manchester, the Aspergillus Website and a flourishing translational research group. Several spinout companies have emerged from the group including F2G (Denning and Bromley), Myconostica (Denning), Euprotec (Warn), Genon (Bromley) and Alergenetica (Bowyer).

For further information, also see:


A UK doctor believes the lives of tens of thousands of people worldwide who develop a deadly type of fungal meningitis could now be saved thanks to a U-turn by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Professor David Denning

Professor David Denning

Professor David Denning, who is recognised as an international expert in infectious and fungal diseases, has campaigned with others to have two drugs reinstated on the Essential Medicines List following a definitive trial from Vietnam.

The trial, led by Dr Jeremy Day who trained in Manchester, shows that a combination of oral flucytosine and intravenous amphotericin B and flucytosine demonstrated a 40 per cent lower chance of death in patients with the deadly form of meningitis.

Cryptococcal meningitis is a serious infection of the brain and spinal column that can occur in adults and children living with HIV. It claims the lives of over half a million people every year and is caused by a fungus, Cryptococcus neoformans which is very common in the environment and can be found in soil and in pigeon droppings.

Professor David Denning, who is Professor of Infectious Diseases & Global Health at UHSM, says: “The WHO has two lists of medicines – main and complementary. Flucytosine was put on the complementary list and then was dropped many years ago because other antifungals, like fluconazole, came along and it was perceived that it was unnecessary. And indeed its sales are low at about $3M annually. The recent work by Day et al has consolidated its position, putting it back in a prime spot.”

For more information please contact Susan Osborne, Director of Communcations, The Goodwork Organisation, on 07836 229208.