Pfizer to visit Imperial College on 24 June

pfizer_logo_detailMichael Skynner (Pfizer) will be in the Commonwealth Building, Hammersmith Campus on 24 June at 11am to 1pm and available for informal ad hoc discussions on any aspect relating to rare disease research and the Rare Disease Consortium (RDC). This is an opportunity for you to simply meet with Michael or to discuss, in a non-confidential and informal setting, ideas for drug discovery projects at any stage of progression that could form the basis for future interactions between Imperial College London and Pfizer. There will be a formal sign-up sheet containing 20 minute bookable slots (please express preferred time slot to Vjera Magdalenic-Moussavi) and in addition there will be an open drop in session between 1pm and 2pm.

About the Rare Disease Consortium agreement (RDC): The agreement is the first of its kind and enables scientists from the GMEC partners; University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Queen Mary University London, University College London and University of Oxford to work with Pfizer scientists on joint drug discovery programmes. Bringing together the scientific and clinical excellence of the Universities and Academic Health Science Centres in the GMEC cluster with the drug discovery and development skills of Pfizer will accelerate the translation of basic science into drugs for patients.

Dr Vjera Magdalenic-Moussavi
Corporate and Enterprise Partnerships Manager
Faculty of Medicine

Fourteen outstanding Master’s Scholars Imperial-bound

From a very strong field of 300 applicants, fourteen outstanding students have been awarded Scholarships by the Faculty of Medicine to support their Master’s study and research when they join Imperial in October. Dean’s Scholarships covering fees and a £17,500 stipend were awarded to four exceptional applicants (one home, one EU student and two overseas), while a further ten outstanding students received Faculty Scholarships of £17,500. Of these, two were home students, three EU and five overseas. Many congratulations to our Scholars (listed below).

masters schols“I haven’t been this happy in my life, or maybe I just forgot this level of happiness”
“Thank you very much for this generous support towards my education – I feel short of words to express my gratitude for this award”
“I’m so honoured to have been chosen by the Faculty of Medicine. I appreciate and am humbled by their confidence in my abilities”

Scholars are taking programmes across our Master’s portfolio of 31 courses, from MRes  degrees in Experimental Neuroscience, Cancer Biology, Biomedical Research & Clinical Research (Diabetes & Obesity), through science MSc programmes in Immunology, Human Molecular Genetics, Molecular Medicine, Epidemiology and Paediatrics, to an MEd in Surgical Education and a Master’s in Public Health (Global Health).

masters degsThe awards were the culmination of an e-mail and poster advertising campaign which has seen Master’s applicant numbers increase by 22% over the same time last year, and overseas numbers by 34%.  Many thanks to our very photogenic 2013-14 scholars (in last year’s precursor to the current scheme), who generously agreed to grace the posters, and to PGT Administrator Jim Osborne for designing them.

The success of the scheme meant an enormous amount of work to score 300 detailed online  applications, shortlist 30 candidates for interview, Skype interview each, and decide who would get the Dean’s and who the Faculty awards.  This was made possible with the generous help of Laki Buluwela, Kirsten Dalrymple, Andrew Edwards, Dan Elson, Christine Franey, Gary Frost, Steve Gentleman, Mick Jones, Birgit Leitinger, Mark Sullivan and Ernesto Yague.  Many thanks to everyone.

Awarded Dean’s Scholarships: Louise Kenny (Surgical Education), Auste Kanapeckaite (Molecular Medicine), Iva Filipovic (Immunology), Jennifer Martin (Human Molecular Genetics)

Awarded Faculty Scholarships: Patricio Alzaraz Couret (Paediatrics), Emily Barnes (Cancer Biology), Mei Ran Abellona U (Biomedical Research), Madeleine Hurry (Experimental Neuroscience), Lakshmi Regnier Cadavieco (Molecular Medicine), Viktoriya Nilolova (Experimental Neuroscience), Alison Ower (Epidemiology), Petros Christofides (Epidemiology), Robin Schafer (Public Health – Global Health) and Gala Farooq (Clinical Research – Diabetes & Obesity).

Dr Jane Saffell Faculty of Medicine Academic Lead for PG Courses

Imperial Confidence in Concept (ICiC) Scheme Awards Funding to 23 projects

The Faculty is delighted to report the outcome of the second Imperial Confidence in Concept (ICiC) competition to support the College-wide development of novel devices, diagnostics and therapeutics for areas of unmet clinical need. A fund in excess of £1.2million was made available from the MRC (Confidence in Concept fund), NIHR Imperial BRC, Imperial Innovations, Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund and as well as support from NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research. The ICiC scheme provides vital 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 Panel, including external members and chaired by Professor Roberto Solari (NHLI), was delighted with the high quality and wide range of applications. Examples of the breadth of funded proposals include: ‘A wearable sensor for fetal movement’ (Nowlan), ‘Towards a compact proton irradiator for in vitro radiobiological studies’ (Posocco), ‘Donor TCRVa24 iNKT cells in the prevention pf acute-graft-versus-host disease in allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplantation’ (Karadimitris), ‘Intranasal diagnostics in food allergy: a feasibility study (INDY project)’ (Turner) and ‘The development of highly specific SIRT2 inhibitors as a novel treatment for Parkinson’s disease’ (Fuchter). We are also pleased to announce two co-funded projects with our colleagues at the NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and ICR from Drs Ed Tate (ICL) and Bissan Al-Lazikani (ICR) and Professors Bob Brown (ICL) and David Cunningham (ICR).

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

Dr Jake Baum (PI) & Dr Keith Willison (Departments of Life Sciences & Chemistry)
Professor Maria Belvisi (PI) & Dr Mark Birrell (NHLI)
Dr Paul Bentley (PI) & Professor Etienne Burdet (Departments of Medicine & Bioengineering)
Professors Bob Brown & David Cunningham (PIs), Dr Irene Chong, Dr Naureen Starling, Dr Ian Chau, Dr Sheela Rao, Dr David Watkins (Department of Surgery & Cancer, ICL and The GI Unit, Institute of Cancer Research)
Professor Tony Cass (PI) & Dr Sanjiv Sharma (Department of Chemistry)
Dr Robert Dickinson (PI) & Professor Nicholas Franks (Departments of Surgery & Cancer and Life Sciences)
Dr Andrew Edwards (PI), Professor David Holden, Dr Thomas Webb, & Dr Dominic Marshall (Department of Medicine)
Dr Dan Elson (PI), Dr Neil Clancy, & Professor George Hanna (Department of Surgery & Cancer)
Dr Matthew Fuchter (PI), Professor David Dexter, Professor Michael Sternberg, & Professor Eric Lam (Departments of Chemistry, Medicine, Life Sciences and Surgery & Cancer)
Professor Roger Gunn (PI), Dr William Hallett, Dr Jonathan Howard, & Dr Philip Noonan (Department of Medicine)
Professor Anastasios Karadimitris (PI) & Dr Aristeidis Chaidos (Department of Medicine)
Dr Mauritius Kleijnen (Department of Medicine)
Dr Spyros Masouros (PI), Professor Jonathan Clasper, & Professor Justin Cobb (Departments of Bioengineering and Surgery & Cancer)
Dr Thomas McKinnon (PI) & Professor Mike Laffan (Department of Medicine)
Professor James Moore Jr (Department of Bioengineering)
Dr Niamh Nowlan (PI), Dr Ravi Vaidyanathan, Professor Alison McGregor, & Mr Martin Lupton (Departments of Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Surgery & Cancer)
Professor Nicholas Peters (PI) & Dr Chris Cantwell (NHLI)
Dr Piero Posocco (PI), Dr Jurgen Pozimski, Dr Matthew Williams, Dr Nelofer Syed (Departments of Physics, Surgery & Cancer, and Medicine)
Dr Robert Snelgrove (NHLI)
Professor Molly Stevens (PI), Professor Michael Levin, & Dr Philip Howes (Departments of Materials and Medicine)
Dr Ed Tate (PI), Professor Bissan Al-Lazikani, and Professor Julian Blagg (Department of Chemistry, ICL and Cancer Therapeutics Unit, Institute of Cancer Research)
Dr Paul Turner (PI), Professor John Warner, Dr Robert Boyle, & Dr Claudia Gore (Department of Medicine)
Professor Ramesh Wigneshweraraj (PI), Professor Steve Matthews, & Dr Serge Mostowy (Departments of Medicine and Life Sciences)

Dr Kimberley Trim
Research Strategy Officer
Faculty of Medicine

Longitude Prize 2014 launched

The BBC launched the Longitude Prize 2014 on Monday 19 May, announcing the six challenge themes:

  • Flight – low carbon
  • Food security – nutritious, sustainable
  • Antibiotics resistance
  • Paralysis – assistive tech/neuro advances etc
  • Water – clean, safe access etc
  • Dementia – assistive tech etc

£10M is available over 5 years to demonstrate proof of concept and ability to scale. All of the 6 challenge themes map to Imperial activities and expertise! 

Tony Hall, Lord Rees Brian Cox, Kevin Fong and Attenborough were all there to launch the Prize. Lord Rees Chairs the committee which has short-listed the six themes.

The Longitude Prize 2014 has been set up by the BBC, Nesta and the TSB, to mark 300 years since the (original) Longitude Prize.

Find out more about the challenges: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27425224

Details were broadcast on the One Show and on a special Horizon episode (celebrating 50 years of Horizon), after which, voting opened. The nation gets to vote on the six challenge areas, with only the most popular being tackled. The chosen theme will be announced 25 June.

Dr Claire Thorne
Executive Coordinator to Professor David Gann CBE, Vice President (Development and Innovation)

Webinar: Regimen Design and Dosing for Children with DR-TB: A Case-Based Discussion

Dr James Seddon, Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Medicine,  co-presented a webinar entitled “Regimen Design and Dosing for Children with Drug-Resistant TB: A Case-Based Discussion” that was organized by the Sentinel Project for Paediatric Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, on Friday April 25 2014.