Local scientist gets top research placement

PUBLISHED: 08:16 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 21:40 31 May 2010

Steven Abbott     Picture: SUBMITTED

Steven Abbott Picture: SUBMITTED

A SCIENTIST from Saffron Walden has not let a rare eye disease stand in the way of him becoming one of the country s most promising entrepreneurs. On the back of cutting-edge research carried out at the Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, Steven Abbott,

A SCIENTIST from Saffron Walden has not let a rare eye disease stand in the way of him becoming one of the country's most promising entrepreneurs.

On the back of cutting-edge research carried out at the Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, Steven Abbott, 38, has been awarded a place on the prestigious 2009 Flying Start Global Entrepreneurs programme.

"This is very much a once-in-a-lifetime thing," said Mr Abbott. "It will provide me with the hard business skills I need to take my work forwards at a rapid pace."

Mr Abbott, who has a rare form of Macular dystrophy, was registered blind in 2003 and he partly attributes his success to having a different perspective in the interpretation of sound. But he admits to fears of having to give up a career in science because of the disease.

"In particular, it's down to Professor Paul Ingle that I started my PhD in the first place in 2005," said Mr Abbott. "He encouraged me to make the move back into science, allowing me to realise that disability is not the barrier to a scientific career that I originally envisaged."

Mr Abbott, a former Saffron Walden County High School pupil, was awarded a PhD in December and has made a breakthrough in the field of phono arthrometry - the study of sounds generated naturally by human or animal joints in motion.

And his research could have a significant impact on NHS resources. The technology he is developing is a far cheaper way of obtaining detailed information about the internal state of a joint than an MRI scan.

On Saturday, Mr Abbott will leave for the United States where he will begin a six-month placement at the Kauffman Foundation.

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