A role for a tumour suppressor in prostate gland architecture

Disorganised region of a prostate gland
Disorganised region of a prostate gland from a Dkk-3 mutant mouse showing E-cadherin in green, ZO1 in red and nuclei in blue

Researchers from the Department of Surgery and Cancer have uncovered a novel link between the tumour suppressor Dickkopf-3 (Dkk-3) and TGF-β signalling. The team previously found that Dkk-3 is required for human prostate epithelial cells to form acinar structures in 3D matrigel cultures; an in vitro model for prostate gland development.

This new study, carried out in collaboration with the Centre for Cooperative Research in Biosciences (CIC bioGUNE) in Bilbao and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, shows that Dkk-3 limits epithelial cell proliferation in 3D cultures and during mouse prostate gland development. It is well known that TGF-β signals go awry during cancer progression; switching from tumour suppression to tumour promotion. This study shows that loss of Dkk-3 activates TGF-β signalling – inhibition of which rescues the 3D phenotype.

The results provide further support and rationale for the use of TGF-β inhibitors to treat prostate cancer. They may also be relevant to other cancers, such as those of the breast and the ovary, where similar changes in Dkk-3 and the TGF-β response take place. The studies at Imperial were carried out by Diana Romero and Yoshiaki Kawano, now at Kumamoto University in Japan, and were funded by a Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Project Grant awarded to Robert Kypta and Jonathan Waxman.

The work is published in the Journal of Cell Science.

Dr Robert M Kypta
Lecturer in Prostate Cancer
Department of Surgery & Cancer

The Faculty of Medicine’s winners at the first Student Academic Choice Awards

SACASInnovation and tutoring in the Faculty of Medicine were recognised in the first annual Student Academic Choice Awards (SACAs).

Faculty winners

Congratulations go to:

These awards are a first for academics and support staff, nominated and chosen entirely by students. The awards are designed to celebrate and reward good teaching and emphasise teaching as a skill of equal worth and value as research.

The long term aim of these annual awards is to build a community and ownership of the courses being delivered. It is also a chance for students to say ‘thank you’ to teaching staff.

Our congratulations are extended to all of the nominees. The full list can be seen at https://www.imperialcollegeunion.org/academicchoice

The UK Technology Strategy Board

Kerry Clough, Corporate Partnerships Manager (Medicine)
Kerry Clough, Corporate Partnerships Manager (Medicine)

The UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is a funding organisation which Imperial has arguably underutilised in recent years, and for any of our scientists seeking collaborations with industry they are an excellent source of potential leverage funding. The TSB launched its 2013-14 Delivery Plan in May. In their role as the UK’s innovation agency they have a budget of £440m over the next year to help accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. They will establish and implement national technology strategies in the priority areas which include energy, transport, health, digital, space, biosciences, IT, high value manufacturing and advanced materials.

TSB awarded over 60% of their R&D investment to small and medium-sized enterprises during the last year and ran more than 70 competitions for R&D funding, offering grants to over 1,000 organisations. In 2013-14 they plan to launch around 75 more competitions across the priority themes, committing almost £300m. They are working with more than 4,900 companies and 150 research organisations, including 110 universities and all of their 7 so-called Catapult centres (world-leading centres of innovation in their field of expertise) will become operational in 2013.

Kerry Clough
Corporate Partnerships Manager
Faculty of Medicine

President and Rector’s Awards and Medals 2013

Awards for Excellence in Teaching are presented annually to members of academic staff judged to have been most outstanding in the quality, organisation and presentation of their teaching. Of the award winners up to four may be selected to receive a President & Rector’s Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Excellence.

There were a total of 8 recipients from the Faculty of Medicine, listed below.

President & Rector’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching:

Professor Karim Meeran – Department of Medicine

Dr Uta Griesenbach – NHLI

President & Rector’s Medals for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Excellence:

Professor Jenny Higham – Faculty of Medicine

Professor John Laycock – Department of Medicine

President & Rector’s Award for Excellence in Research Supervision:

Dr Ken MacLeod – NHLI

A President & Rector’s Medal for Excellence in Research Supervision is awarded to:

Dr Jane Davies – NHLI

President & Rector’s Award for Excellence in Supporting the Student Experience:

Mr Griffin Ryder – Faculty of Medicine

President & Rector’s Medal for Supporting the Student Experience:

Ms Susan English – Faculty of Medicine

 

View a full list of recipients of President and Rector’s Awards and Medals.

Fully Funded PhD Scholarships – Applications Now Open

We have just opened applications for two separate PhD scholarships, aiming to recruit a total of 8 students in total. The deadline for applicants is 10 July 2013 for all scholarships. Please distribute to all your masters students and encourage those who are suitable to apply by completing the relevant online application form available online, via the links below.

5 x FoM Dean’s PhD Scholarships

3 x MRC DTA PhD Studentships

Please contact me if you have any queries regarding the scholarships and do not hesitate to pass on my details to your students, for any queries.

Nousheen Tariq
Postgraduate Manager
FEO – Faculty Education Office

Invitation to Imperial College Healthcare Charity Concert: 25 July 2013

An evening concert has been organised on Thursday, 25 July in support of the Imperial College Healthcare Charity.

After three weeks of applications and two weeks of auditions, some of the best musicians from Imperial College and Royal Academy of Music have been chosen to perform for you.

Tickets are priced at just £10 and include welcome drinks. Additional donations are welcome. All proceeds will be go towards improving the quality of patient care and safety for NHS hospitals.

The concert website is available at http://www.ruzannagulakyan.wix.com/musicforthesoul, where you can find out information about the programme, musicians, venue, registrations and more.

If you have any questions about the concert, please contact Ruzanna Gulakyan.

Ruzanna Gulakyan
Hamlyn Centre Administrator
Department of Surgery and Cancer

Imperial Confidence in Concept Scheme Awards Funding to 19 Projects

Building on the success of the 2012 Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)/Imperial Innovations Therapeutic Primer Fund of £250,000, the College received £700,000 funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to establish an Imperial Confidence in Concept (ICiC) Scheme. Funding for projects was also sourced from the CLAHRC and College’s Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund to create a total fund in excess of one million pounds.  This fund has been used to identify early targets, not currently being developed, within the Faculties of Medicine, Natural Sciences and Engineering, to enter into the drug, devices and diagnostics development pathway.

The ICiC fund combines the Imperial NIHR BRC/Imperial Innovations Therapeutic Primer Fund that promotes the discovery and development of therapeutics for areas of unmet medical need, and pump-primes the early stages of drug/therapeutic discovery with the MRC ‘Confidence in Concept’ scheme that helps to pump-prime the translation of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics, including repurposing of existing therapies toward clinical testing.

Additional funds were sourced from the CLAHRC and ISSF to support two extra projects.  The Northwest London CLAHRC (NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care) is an alliance of academic and healthcare organisations working to develop and promote a more efficient, accelerated and sustainable uptake of clinically innovative and cost-effective research interventions into patient care.  The Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) is a awarded to Imperial College from Wellcome Trust to support our researchers and to stimulate inter-disciplinary research.   The ISSF supports a range of College-wide schemes that connect our excellent research capabilities in order to address the Wellcome Trust Research Challenges.

The ICiC scheme has been designed to provide pilot funding to bridge the potential gap between discovery research and well-developed applications for MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme/ Developmental Clinical Studies Funding Scheme support.

The scheme was launched at a briefing event on the 28th February this year, with 70 expressions of Interest being submitted to the panel. Out of the seventy expressions of interest received, 27 were shortlisted and 19 were awarded funding at the final meeting in May 2013. The panel was chaired by Professor Roberto Solari, who was delighted with the high quality and wide range of applications.

The Principle Investigators who will receive awards of up to £70,000 are:

Dr Euan Stronach (Surgery & Cancer)

Dr Georgios Giamas (Surgery & Cancer)

Professor Charles Coombes (Surgery & Cancer)

Dr Michael Edwards (NHLI)

Professor Anita Simonds (NHLI)

Dr Gregory Quinlan (NHLI)

Dr Robert Snelgrove (NHLI)

Professor Michael Schneider (NHLI)

Dr Mohamed Shamji (NHLI)

Dr Uta Griesenbach (NHLI)

Dr Ramesh Wigneshweraraj (Dept. of Medicine)

Professor Mark Thursz (Dept. of Medicine)

Dr Nick Oliver (Dept. of Medicine)

Dr Prapa Kanagaratnam (Dept. of Medicine)

Professor Simon Taylor-Robinson (Dept. of Medicine)

Professor Shiranee Sriskandan (Dept. of Medicine)

Professor Nicholas Long (Chemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences)

Dr Pau Herrero Vinas (Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering)

Professor Molly Stevens (Materials, Faculty of Engineering)

 

Hannah Dolby
Business Operations Trainee
Faculty of Medicine

Faculty of Medicine Year 5 MBBS students issued iPads

There was a buzz outside the Drewe Lecture Theatre on Wednesday 5 June, as Year 5 Medical students gathered to collect their brand-new iPad Minis. Once all the iPads were handed out, Mr Martin Lupton, Deputy Director of Education, gave a welcome to the iPad pilot project followed by an introduction and demonstrations by Dr Maria Toro-Troconis, E-learning Strategy and Development Manager, and Mr Taylor Bennie, Learning Technologist.

The demonstrations were focused on all the activities the students will be able to do on their iPads, including:

  • Access to all learning materials via Blackboard Learn, being able to annotate and carry their notes wherever they go. The School has bought two apps for students: iAnnotate (which allows students to annotate documents in different formats) and Puffin, an Internet browser that allows students to render Flash content on their iPads.
  • Access to iBooks for different clinical attachments being able to record reflections.
  • Access to some sign-off forms (DOPS) on their iPads allowing clinical teachers to assess students and submit the DOPS to the Faculty Education Office electronically, keeping a record on the students’ iPads.
  • Access virtual clickers on their iPads via the Virtual G-Pad App allowing instant feedback during lectures.
  • Access to eBooks from the library.

After the demonstrations, Mr Jon Arntzen from ICT helped students set up all the iPads on the Imperial Mobile Device Management System, AirWatch, which will allow the eLearning team to push Apps to the students’ iPads, reset passcodes and wipe out all the information on any device that gets lost or stolen.

The Medical School will be also issuing iPad Minis to Year 6 MBBS students on 22nd July 2013. The pilot will run for two years finishing in 2015/16. The iPads will be returned to the Faculty of Medicine at the end of the pilot.

For further information on the iPad pilot please contact: webmaster.feo@imperial.ac.uk #iPadImperialFoM

Dr Maria Toro-Troconis
E-Learning Strategy and Development Manager
Faculty of Medicine

Medical Education Special Interest Group

The Medical Education Specialist Interest Group (MESIG) is a discussion group for anyone actively involved in teaching, curriculum development or education research across the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College. MESIG meets once a month to hear from expert speakers, share experiences and offer support and advice for your educational projects. We meet in an informal atmosphere where you can discuss the latest thinking in education, ask for advice on ethics approval or funding for your research project, or simply listen to our expert speakers. We know that you are busy and so rotate the times and venues of meetings each month, to allow as many people to attend as possible.

If you are interested in joining the MESIG mailing list, please contact Dr Graham Easton or Jo Horsburgh, or visit the MESIG website for more information.

Jo Horsburgh
Senior Teaching Fellow in Medical Education
Educational Development Unit

Partnership for Child Development June update

The philanthropic organisation, Dubai Cares recently announced the launch of its three-year integrated Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) pilot programme in Ethiopia, which is being implemented in 30 schools over three years to address the school health and nutrition (SHN) needs of approximately 30,700 primary school age children.

An Integrated Programme

The pilot is being carried out through a partnership formed by Partnership for Child Development (PCD), Imperial College London, Ethiopia Health and Nutrition Research Institute, World Food Programme, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, and SNV-Netherlands. Through this collaboration, various aspects are contributed to the programme; in addition to in-school meals prepared from locally sourced commodities, components of Deworming treatment and Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) in schools have also been included.

Iain Gardiner, East Africa Regional Coordinator for PCD, said, “The Dubai Cares funded HGSF programme is a leading example of how different stakeholders can effectively pool their expertise to make a real impact on the health, education and wealth of children and farming communities in Ethiopia”.

Read more about the HGSF programme on the Schools and Health website.

Government of Ghana host 9th African SHN Course

This month the Government of Ghana are hosting the 9th African School Health and Nutrition (SHN) Course where representatives from ministries of health, education, gender and social development, SHN experts, civil society and academics from 13 African countries will gather for ten days to focus on best practice in SHN interventions.

The course, which runs from June 10 – 20 is co-organised by Partnership for Child Development, West African Centre for International Parasite Control (WACIPAC) of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, and Eastern and Southern Africa Centre of International Parasitic Control (ESACIPAC).

Dr. Irene Ayi, Head of WACIPAC and the WACIPAC’s Department of Parasitology said, “The SHN Short Course has over the years grown from strength to strength, providing an opportunity for ideas and experience exchange among policy and programme managers involved in school health and school feeding interventions from the various countries in attendance. Such interventions have been shown to improve the health and academic performance of school-age children”.

Continue reading

Gambia Workshop Convenes West African Experts

Government officials from ministries of agriculture, education and health representing 12 West African countries are to meet in the Gambia this week for a workshop focused on strengthening school feeding programmes linked to local agricultural production.

Workshop Director and Director of Basic and Secondary Education in the Gambia, Mrs Amicoleh Mbaye said, “Having the various personalities from 12 different countries come together is a clear manifestation of government commitment to school feeding programme ownership using the multi-sectoral approach”.

Continue reading

 

Charlotte Broyd
Website and Communications Assistant
Partnership for Child Development

Reinstallation of St Mary’s Murals

Two murals which were removed during refurbishment work in 2003 have been finally reinstalled in the entrance lobby of St Mary’s Medical School Building. They were unveiled by Dermot Kelleher, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, at a ceremony at St Mary’s on June 11th, 2013.

One, by Faye Carey who was the creator of several art works in London hospitals, celebrates the work of four distinguished scientists who had worked at St Mary’s : Augustus Waller, Almroth Wright, Alexander Fleming and Rodney Porter. This mural was originally unveiled on 12th October, 1992 by Sir Roger de Grey, then the president of the Royal College of Arts.

Faye Carey mural

The other, by the distinguished artist, Jacqueline Rizvi, shows the sporting and cultural activities of the St Mary’s student body. This was originally unveiled on the 27th April, 1993 by the Right Honourable Christopher Chataway M.P. who had been a world record breaking athlete and a pacemaker during Sir Roger Bannister’s first sub four minute mile in 1954. Sir Roger, then a consultant neurologist at St Mary’s was also present at that original ceremony.

Jacqueline Rizvi

Also present on June 11th was Emeritus Professor Leslie Brent. As chairman of the St Mary’s Art Committee in 1990 Professor Brent had raised £45,000 to pay for the murals from several sponsors : the Royal Academy of Arts, the Foundation for Sport and the Arts and the Edward Austen Abbey Memorial Trust Fund for Mural Painting in Great Britain.

During the ten years since the murals’ removal to storage Professor Brent has worked tirelessly to have them restored, with unfailing support from Anne Barrett, Imperial College Archivist and Corporate Records Manager, and from Tim Orson, specialist art restorer.

Dermot Kelleher described the genesis and history of the murals and paid tribute to those who had worked so hard to restore them to their rightful place. He believed the depicted achievements which had inspired the artists would continue to be an inspiration to today’s and future medical students. Tim Orson then described the technicalities of the restoration and said it had been a privilege to work with such rare and beautiful materials.

Nigel Palmer
Librarian, St Mary’s, 1972-2002