Month: October 2015

Office365 to be rolled out to staff and PG research students

office365The College has recently successfully completed roll-out of cloud-based e-mail accounts (on Office365) for the student community here at Imperial. Following on from this, the next few months will see a similar migration programme for the e-mail accounts belonging to College postgraduate research students and staff here at the College.

This migration of email accounts to the Cloud is but the first in a series of steps as we move towards a full deployment of Office 365. The new accounts will offer significantly more storage capacity (50Gb) – but this is not the main motivation for this change. More significant is that it lays the foundations for what will be a transformational platform that will enable us to move ever closer towards a truly Virtual Office.

Future benefits will include, for example, the ability to create videoconferences on demand or for teams to work collaboratively on a document in real-time, no matter where they are located. Staff and Students will be able to connect from anywhere and at any time using whichever device they prefer – whether it is smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC. Office will be fully functional on any device.

Over the next few months, staff and postgraduate research students will receive detailed e-mails individually explaining what will happen for their own accounts as the migration programme rolls-out. However, if you would like further information please contact Ellen Pengelly, Digital Partner for the Faculty of Medicine, ICT.

Dr Ellen Pengelly
Digital Business Partner – Faculty of Medicine
Service Strategy & Planning
Information & Communications Technology

Read more about the roll-out and get answers to FAQs on Imperial’s ICT website at: www.imperial.ac.uk/ict/email-migration

MRC’s Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperial College London – October update

Worming our way to a new understanding of behaviour

The wriggling and writhing of worms may hold clues to the inner workings of our brains, according to scientists at the MRC’s Clinical Sciences Centre (CSC). The researchers have developed a pioneering tool to analyse a worm’s posture as it wriggles, and will use the tool to investigate how exactly the worm’s brain controls its movements.

Postdocs were freed to ask “stupid questions” at the inaugural postdoc retreat. The day-long event was organised by postdocs for postdocs.

“The science was great, but I think the biggest benefit is networking and getting to know the community in which we work. Finding out what people are working on so you know who to approach when you want to speak specifically about an area of research that you’re unfamiliar with is invaluable,” said Dr Angela Woods, a senior investigator scientist in the CSC’s Cellular Stress group.

Watch a video of the postdoc retreat at https://

Vahid Shahrezaei is the new mathematician–in-residence at the CSC.

He’s been running a biomathematics group in the maths department of Imperial College since 2008, and is now taking up a visiting position that teams him up with the CSC’s biologists.

He’s looking forward to bumping into biologists day-to-day, and though hasn’t yet sat in a lab with the CSC’s scientists, he’d like to try that out too. Regular interaction with biologists, Vahid says, is an important part of the atmosphere of the CSC, and key to creative collaborations.

Watch Miguel-Aliaga’s interview at https://

The Journal of Cell Science has selected Irene Miguel-Aliaga, who leads the CSC’s Gut Signalling and Metabolism and is a Reader at Imperial College, as a ‘Cell Scientist to Watch’.

Miguel-Aliaga is one of four chosen so far by the journal for a series it says will “support the next generation of cell biologists.”

Last week, the journal published a two-page article and a video interview with Miguel-Aliaga in which she discusses how a TV series about lizard aliens invading Earth inspired her to become a scientist.

She also talks about setbacks in science. “I think sometimes the roadblocks are your own set of preconceptions,” says Miguel-Aliaga. She also thinks that we can be our own worst enemy: “Human nature means that, even if we try not to be, we tend to be too hypothesis driven.”

Also this month

In our series of scientific seminars, Art Arnold from the University of California, warned CSC scientists that preclinical experiments must not exclude female cells and animals. He said that it has traditionally been thought that females, with menstrual cycles and fluctuating hormone levels, are poor test subjects. But research in his lab shows that this is a myth. According to Arnold, when it comes to scientific research, women and men are comparable subjects.

Find out more about the latest news, events and activities at the CSC: http://csc.mrc.ac.uk/news/

Deborah Oakley
Science Communications Officer
MRC Clinical Sciences Centre

Aspiring sixth-form doctors get head start from Imperial students

Year 13 pupils who want to study medicine have been helped on their way by Imperial students when ICSMSU Vision, the medical outreach society, held its annual senior conference on Sunday 20 September.

Aimed at sixth-form students from state schools, the conference sought to give a helping hand to medicine applicants from less-advantaged backgrounds. The day provided the 96 delegates with lectures, one-to-one mock interviews and a personal statement workshop.

The annual event, now in its fifth year, was organised by ICSMSU Vision—founded by Imperial students in 2007 to educate and inspire school and college students from all backgrounds about a career in medicine.

“This event gives underprivileged students a better chance to get into medical school,” said lead organising student Shivam Patel. “Medical school entry is incredibly difficult, and comprehensive school pupils are very under-represented in our cohort.”

The conference was for students committed to submitting a UCAS application in October 2015 and individual mock interviews and personal statement workshops were given by medical students, practising doctors and those who have sat on an Imperial College School of Medicine interview panel for an authentic insight.

As well as workshops, eminent physicians and surgeons Mr P. Paraskevas and Dr Joanne Harris gave lectures on life as a surgeon and medical school interviews. This year’s closing speech was delivered by Professor Lord Winston.

Each delegate received written feedback on their personal statement suggesting any areas for improvement, and also attended sessions on ethics, BMAT and UKCAT.

A delegate commented during the event: “Thank you so much, we don’t get this help in school and I really have no other chance to have a mock interview.”

“The success of this event is a result of months of preparation,” said ICSMSU President Maredudd Harris. “It is clear from the delegates’ experiences that it has been worth the hard work. Vision should be very proud of the work it does.”

“I’m hugely proud of our students for initiating and delivering such an outstanding event that mentors our next generation of doctors,” added Martin Lupton, Head of the Undergraduate School of Medicine.

“Like ICSMSU Vision, I believe that doctors should be representative of the communities they serve and our school strategy recognises this need for a diverse workforce. Outreach activities like this conference help ensure that entry to medical school is inclusive to applicants of all backgrounds and life experiences.”

Bookings for the senior conference next year will open in June 2016. More information can be found at the ICSMSU Vision website.

Ben Campion
Communications Manager
Imperial College School of Medicine

FEO awarded for outstanding customer service

The Faculty Education Office has again achieved the national standard ‘Putting the Customer First’ in recognition of its outstanding customer service culture and delivery.

Established in 2004, Customer First is an independent organisation that aims to improve service delivery to customers by ensuring that institutions are assessed, developed and supported to a quality standard.

The FEO first achieved the Customer First standard in 2012, which comprises 30 principles of excellent service. Customer service champions at each campus promote awareness and good practice at a local level and also supported the arrangements for the assessment.

Examples of the FEO’s efforts to continually improve the student experience include a completely modernised student reception at the South Kensington campus, providing a more welcoming environment, the introduction of iPads across programmes and a new curriculum map for the medicine programme which is about to launch to students.

“A huge thank you to all staff who have been involved in meeting the Customer First standard once again,” said Chris Harris, Quality and Educational Development Manager in the FEO who led the original and re-accreditation. “This is a fantastic reflection of the team’s hard work and commitment.”

“I am absolutely delighted with the outcome,” adds Susan English, Director of Education Management and executive sponsor of the project. “The assessor was very positive and recognised the wide-ranging improvements we have introduced since our previous assessment and our on-going trajectory of innovation.

“It is really gratifying to have external recognition for the FEO’s focus on improving the student experience.”

Ben Campion
Communications Manager
Imperial College School of Medicine

CRUK Imperial Centre October update

Blog picThe Great Centre Bake Off

The CRUK Imperial Centre has been hosting a series of bake sales, with teams competing to raise the most money for their chosen charity.

Five teams of researchers and College staff have baked so far, raising an incredible £700 for charities including Cancer Research UK and The Cancer Treatment and Research Trust

We’ve seen some fantastic bakes that would make Mary Berry proud; including chromosome cupcakes and an entire lab cake! These science cakes will be entered into the national CRUK Centre Great Science Cake Off.

The winner of the Centre bake off and science cake off will be announced later this month.

 

Butterfly project at Clinic 8

Imp FringeCancer Research UK has commissioned an art installation in an out-patient clinic at Charring Cross Hospital as part of renovation work.

The art installation will include ceramic butterflies and flowers demonstrating the symbiotic relationship between research and care, whereby patients receive care while simultaneously giving back to scientific research, allowing us to find newer and kinder treatments.

These pieces designed by artist David Marques will create a beautiful meadow, transforming the space for patients.

The butterflies, which each represent a patient coming to the clinic, fly over a healing meadow of flowers of different colours and patterns. These flowers represent the various treatment modalities and people patients meet on their care journey.

A selection of the ceramic pieces was displayed at the Imperial Design Fringe, and the public got the chance to do their own designs that may go on to be adapted by the artist for his work. The pieces will also be on display at the NCRI conference in November.

The installation will be in place by November 2015.

Tamsin Ashton
Research Engagement Manager- Imperial & ICR
Cancer Research UK

AMMC conference 2015: Imperial researchers win all the prizes

Four members of Prof Steven Marston’s group in the Myocardial Function section of NHLI attended the Alternative Motor and Muscle Club (AMMC) conference hosted by the University of Kent, Canterbury on 10th and 11th September. The AMMC is a special meeting exclusively for PhD students and postdocs that encourages full participation from the delegates and drives stimulating discussions and networking opportunities in an informal setting with no PI present. Such a unique blend of science and fun in a relaxed atmosphere is a great advertisement for muscle and motor protein research biology and the scientific world itself. It has been running for 30 years and provides an excellent template for student and postdoc networking.

We are happy to announce that the Imperial College researchers won all three poster presentation prizes. The awards went to:

1- “Investigation of obscurin and titin mutations and haploinsufficiency in hearts of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy” – presented by Dr Natalia Smoktunowicz

2- “Characterisation of sudden death pathologies in the E99K actin mouse model of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy” – presented by Tom Owen

3- “Primary effects of HCM mutations in humans and cats” – presented by Dr Andrew Messer

We are also pleased to announce that the next AMMC meeting will be hosted by our group at Imperial College London, full details to follow.

Dr Natalia Smoktunowicz
Postdoctoral Research Associate
National Heart and Lung Institute

£525k funding for 3-year brain-imaging study

CT scan

My group has been awarded £525,000 by NIHR Invention for Innovation Programme from Novomber 2015 for a 3 year project, titled: Decision-assist software for management of acute ischaemic stroke using brain-imaging machine-learning.

The project involves developing imaging analysis techniques for prognostication in acute stroke, using standard clinical CT scans (see pictured right; one such method already developed by our group for lesion detection), and entails a collaboration between Imperial Brain Sciences (Paul Bentley), Computer Sciences (Daniel Rueckert) and Neuroradiology (Amrish Mehta). The enterprise will include collating one of the largest early-stroke imaging databases available worldwide, for the purpose of identifying and quantifying features relevant for outcome prediction. The techniques developed will be incorporated into a bedside software facilitating emergency treatment decisions by doctors, and communication of these decision to patients and relatives.

Dr Paul Bentley MA MRCP PhD
Clinical Senior Lecturer in Clinical Neuroscience
Honorary Consultant Neurologist

 

Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES)

PRES (Postgraduate Research Experience Survey) is a unique service provided by the Higher Education Academy to all higher education providers. It is the only national survey of postgraduate research (PhD, EngD and MDRes) students’ experience.  The survey collects feedback from current postgraduate research students in a systematic and user-friendly way. Results are anonymous, allowing comparison against the sector and within benchmarking clubs, while ensuring that they are used for internal enhancement.

The Faculty of Medicine response rate in the recent PRES survey was over 60%, making this the highest in the College. Given this, the Faculty will be able to make confident conclusions from the survey.  With a view to improving the student experience at Imperial, PRQC (Postgraduate Research Quality Committee) has agreed that action plans should be discussed at Staff-Student Committees and signed off by the PGR student representative.  SIDs have recently received the results and are in the process of preparing action plans.

In recognition of the importance of PRES to us, the Faculty has also run a prize draw for students who took part in the survey:

Apple Watch Winner:

Professor Jenny Higham, Director of Education,  presents the first prize to Ben Foster
Professor Jenny Higham, Director of Education,
presents the first prize to Ben Foster

Ben Foster (Institute of Clinical Science)

Kindle Fire Winner:

Christopher Kane (National Heart and Lung Institute)

Amazon Gift Voucher (£20) Winners:

Miles Priestman (Department of Medicine)

Tankut Guney  (National Heart and Lung Institute),

Adrian Brown (Department of Medicine)

Kieran Bates (School of Public Health)

Chanpreet Arhi (Department of Surgery and Cancer)

Fundraising for nursing student bursary in memory of Lisa Day

We were all very saddened to hear of the passing of Lisa Day on Saturday evening, the 12th of September.  Lisa was one of Imperial College London’s Clinical Trials Assistants who worked on the Bioresource study on the Wharfside clinic at the St. Mary’s campus; obtaining consents and blood samples for future HIV studies.  In her short time here in the CTC, she contributed so much more than her contracted duties.  She was never without a smile; never complained about the nagging issues that Imperial College and the Trust deliver to our daily working lives; never failed to contribute a personal story which made us smile and laugh in equal measures.  Nursing has lost a professional it never realised it had.

Lisa was very excited to be furthering her education and to be embarking on a career within the profession of nursing at City University.  She was due to start her studies this month. We’re trying to raise £2000 to create a nursing student bursary in memory of Lisa because we’d like someone to finish what she never got to; helping those nursing students who may be having some financial difficulty while obtaining their own degree – but in Lisa’s name.

Please pledge to her JustGiving crowdfunding page and help make it happen.  If you know of anyone else who was touched by Lisa, please pass this on:
https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/kristin-kuldanek?utm_id=2

Thanks for your support.

Scott Mullaney RN BSN MSc
Senior Research Charge Nurse
Imperial College London

College-wide access to lynda.com

I am writing to you to let you know about College access to lynda.com, a high quality video training site for IT, business skills and general interests which may be of interest to your Faculty. The College has purchased a one year license for all College staff, renewable depending on take-up.

What is lynda.com?

lynda.comlynda.com provides a vast online library of instructional videos covering the latest software, creative, and business skills. Taught by accomplished teachers and recognised industry experts, lynda.com is a high-quality resource for Students and Staff looking to develop skills in Microsoft Office, the Adobe Creative Suite, Project Management, Personal Development, Social Media and a wide range of other topics. With more than 3,000 courses and more added every week, lynda.com is designed for all learning abilities and is available whenever you’re ready to learn. You can even view it on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, or other mobile device.

Access

Access is via College user accounts for both staff and students. If you already have a lynda.com account, you can merge this with your College account.
Go to lynda.com via the ICT website for more information on the service and to provide feedback.

Support

lynda.com have offered to provide sessions on the product if you or your colleagues would like to understand more about it and how it can be used. If you would like more information please contact me at e.pengelly@imperial.ac.uk. If you have any concerns or problems with usage or access, please contact the ICT Service Desk.

Dr Ellen Pengelly
Digital Business Partner – Faculty of Medicine
Service Strategy & Planning
Information & Communications Technology