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Mary is a British physician, trained at Girton College, Cambridge and Birmingham University Medical School. She worked for 7 years in the British National Health Service before being awarded a Wellcome Trust scholarship in 1984 to study the microflora of the small intestine in diarrhoea at the Instituto de Investigación Nutricional (IIN) in Peru. She returned briefly to the UK but was committed to continuing research in Peru and returned in 1989 and has remained since. She was involved with the Young Lives project from the beginning and is the Principal Investigator for Young Lives in the IIN and responsible for the health and nutrition aspects of the project in Peru. She is director of the IIN and also runs other projects mainly in relation to child health and nutrition, improving health services and conducting clinical trials.