Name: Tim Donnison
College and Degree: St Edmund Hall, DPhil Clinical Medicine
Hometown: Dudley, West Midlands, U.K.
Most recent hockey experience before coming to Oxford: Played for the University of Warwick during my undergraduate degree and won two divisional titles and a National Championship.
Who is your favourite historical figure, and why? A significant figure in my research field of immunology and vaccinology, is Prof Maurice Hilleman. He is credited with the invention of over 40 vaccines and probably why you did not contract a childhood disease such as measles, mumps, or another pathogen. A workhorse throughout his career and into his retirement, whose ‘favourite hobby was working’, he made numerous scientific discoveries, many of which have kick-started various branches of research across multiple biological disciplines, from virology to immunology. To quote Alan Dove from a 2005 article in Nature Medicine: ‘…Hilleman’s reputation as a prickly character often overshadows his accomplishments. Even at 86, he is a tall, confident man with a firm handshake who speaks softly but bluntly—and often profanely’. A unique character in the workplace and a family man at home (he cured his daughter with the first mumps vaccine), Prof Hilleman was arguably – and often considered by the field– the most important biomedical scientist of the twentieth century.
What did you love most about playing for the OUIHC? The camaraderie within each team and between the teams is unparalleled. We spend the entire season training together – with the late nights and early mornings, on and off the ice – with the end goal of beating Cambridge in the Varsity Match. Participating in the oldest rivalry in hockey is one of my most memorable experiences whilst studying at Oxford.
Anything else you want to say about yourself: I thoroughly enjoy my DPhil and playing hockey for Oxford — they have been the perfect counter-balance to each other.