Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

All the best: Ken Mills talks about his favourite things

Career high: Professor Ken Mills' blood cancer research has been recognised internationally
Career high: Professor Ken Mills' blood cancer research has been recognised internationally

The 58-year-old is Chair of Experimental Haematology at Queen's University, Belfast, and works closely with Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI. He lives in Belfast with his wife Anne, they have three sons, Calum (28), Euan (26) and Finlay (25).

My best moment

Life is a whole series of special moments so it's hard to choose just one. Getting my PhD in Southampton would have been one of them as well as getting married and having children. Even moments at work when I get my results published or am awarded a new grant to enable me to continue with my leukaemia research.

My best way to relax

Cooking, usually Italian. It is a bit like research in that you need to make sure you have good ingredients and sometimes it doesn't give you the results you expect. Anne and I share the cooking during the week and on Saturdays I try to emulate something I've seen on Saturday Kitchen. I usually mess it up but it's always a good try.

My best bit of advice

It's not really advice, more like words of reassurance which I received from my granny, and it's 'What's for you will not go by you'. That has helped when life doesn't always go to plan!

My best song

That has to be Dignity by Deacon Blue. Written by the band's singer Ricky Ross, it's the story of a litter collector working for the local council who is saving his money to buy a dinghy; he wants to call it Dignity and travel in it. It shows that everybody needs something to believe in and aim for.

My best job

Probably my current role of Professor of Experimental Haematology in the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen's. It combines my research activities into developing new treatments for adult acute leukaemia with teaching the undergrads who are future researchers and doctors.

The research is definitely helped by the generous support of the people of Northern Ireland who have helped the charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI. The charity recently awarded the research group £1.5m over three years towards finding new and more effective ways to treat for blood cancers.

My best gift

My Kindle, which was a present from my wife, Anne. Books are wonderful objects and I like the feel and texture of them but when you do a lot of travelling as I do they are bulky and heavy. The Kindle lets me easily store books to read.

My best achievement

Raising three boys and seeing them develop their own careers and lives. Calum works in clinical trials in Cardiff, Euan is a doctor and is about to go to New Zealand to specialise in emergency medicine and Finlay is in Manchester having just completed a Masters in human rights. Anne, and I are proud to have been some influence on them!

In work, it is definitely my blood cancer research, which is recognised locally, nationally and internationally and to see the talented scientists who have trained and worked with me progress with their own research.

My best buy

The standing joke is that when I go away on holiday I buy presents for everyone but nothing for myself. I do buy myself things like suits and so on when I need them. I do like to buy for other people, though, so I got a little sports car for my wife. It's almost like a skateboard with an engine and I can hardly fit into it. She loves it, though, which makes me happy.

My best movie

The classic Chariots Of Fire. Apart from the music it is an inspirational true story of two men from very different backgrounds who will go to great lengths to achieve their goals but will not sacrifice their honour to realise them. Sometimes the best movies or stories are based on fact rather than fiction.

My best book

It is always the one I am reading at the moment, but I do have favourite authors such as Ian Rankin and the Belfast writer Stuart Neville – crime and thrillers feature highly on my list.

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