Returning to the UK she worked from 1965 to 1971 for the Medical Research Council at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, London, going on to the MRC’s Clinical Research Centre at Northwick Park, Harrow; here she worked with the Nobel Prize winner Sir Peter Medawar, who had discovered the immunological basis of the rejection of skin and organ transplants.
Thirty years on, noted one of her colleagues from those early days at the RD&E, we can see how the work undertaken by her and her team has contributed to our understanding of rheumatoid arthritis, which afflicts 2% of the population. Many of the small pieces of the jigsaw have been assembled to give a greater understanding of the disease. Valerie’s contribution to that jigsaw was recognised when she was awarded a prestigious Doctorate of Science from London University. This is only awarded to scientists on a portfolio of outstanding work.