Month: July 2018

Professor Desmond Johnston, Vice Dean (Education) – the year in review

 

The last year has been, even by our own ‘full-on’ standards, an extraordinarily packed year for the Faculty of Medicine in terms of educational development, both at home and internationally.

The year started with the Faculty welcoming its inaugural student cohort for the newly launched BSc in Medical Biosciences. Harnessing new technologies to deliver a blended syllabus of online and in-class learning,  the new interdisciplinary course also taps into the wide-ranging research programmes underway across the Faculty.  I congratulate everyone involved in creating and delivering this successful first year of the course.

Whilst innovative delivery has been an important cornerstone in the development of the brand new programme, the Medical Biosciences BSc has by no means had the monopoly on educational invention. Course and module leads from right across the Faculty have been hugely active this year in ensuring innovation and scientific opportunity underpins educational development throughout our existing course portfolio.

Innovation and progress

The College’s Learning and Teaching strategy has set a clear path for Imperial educational delivery, and we have seen the start of developments towards providing innovative teaching spaces which will support the utilisation of new pedagogical methods. Over the last several months, work has progressed on the establishment of major review programmes for the curricula of both our undergraduate MBBS/BSc and the postgraduate taught portfolio.  This is a really key and exciting time for educational opportunity in this Faculty, and it is one which holds important possibilities for engagement and skills development for all staff.

You can read more about the work underway for the undergraduate medicine curriculum review, and how you can be part of this key process, on Jo Harris’s recent FoM Staff blog piece.  We want to keep all Faculty staff updated on this important evolving process for both undergraduate and postgraduate provision right through next year so please watch out for further updates and do get in touch for further info.

Alongside our review processes, I’ve also been excited to watch opportunity grow for widening the reach of our education and expertise beyond our London campuses with the exploration and initiation of global online learning opportunities. Developments such as work within the School of Public Health to develop a ‘Global Master of Public Health’ create both exciting new formats for our educational provision and outstanding routes to achieving academic impact and spreading the benefits of our work.

Celebrating achievement

I would not want to let this review go by without noting the extraordinary hard work and many individual achievements that have contributed to the developments outlined above, as well as the quality and dedication that shows itself day-to-day in delivering our courses.  I would like to congratulate those who are recognised through the President’s awards for Excellence in Education and through our own School of Medicine Teaching awards.

Lastly, as I sign-off from writing this review, I cannot fail to mention that I am writing this not from my office, but sitting in Singapore awaiting the start of an event which truly demonstrates how much the innovation, dedication and talent to be found in our Faculty can achieve – the first graduation ceremony for our inaugural student cohort at LKCMedicine. A truly exceptional effort from two partner universities, from LKCMedicine school staff and, it goes without saying, from the students themselves has brought us to this very proud moment.

My thanks to all who have been part of this extraordinary year of opportunity for medicine education at Imperial.

Professor Martin Wilkins, Vice Dean (Research) – the year in review

Professor Martin WilkinsIn my first year as Vice Dean (Research) it has been a pleasure to discover the full breadth and quality of our research.  We continue to build on our strong convergent science, so well demonstrated by our success with initiatives such as the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) Centre at Imperial, the newly established Health Data Research (HDR) UK, and the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Hub.

The UK DRI at Imperial is led by Professor Paul Matthews and is actively recruiting the best scientists to Imperial to contribute to a UK network to carry out research relevant to all dementias. The HDR has come together to address challenging healthcare issues through use of data science, with Imperial’s participation lead by Professor Paul Elliott in his role as an HDR Associate Director. The Future Vaccine Manufacturing Hub, which involves multiple research partners, is led by Professor Robin Shattock from Imperial’s Department of Medicine, includes scientists from across the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Life Sciences. The aim of the Hub is to improve the response to outbreaks, by distributing vaccines quickly and more cost-effectively.

Addressing major scientific questions requires building a critical mass of multidisciplinary researchers, and Imperial is well placed to do this. So we have been working across faculties to develop multidisciplinary networks of excellence with three new networks established this year in the areas of vaccines, diabetes and vascular science.

Celebrating success

Our translational research received another boost this year with our largest ever award from the MRC’s Confidence in Concept scheme.  As well as £1m received from the MRC, additional funds were provided by our Biomedical Research Centre, Royal Marsden Hospital, Wellcome Trust, EPSRC and AstraZeneca, resulting in total funding of £1.7m. This has been awarded to 26 exciting new research projects, across a broad range of areas and collaborators. The aim of the scheme is to strengthen the College’s early translational research portfolio, providing funding to help with the translation of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics towards clinical testing and/or a marketable product. This approach epitomises the research ethos in the Faculty, striving to achieve excellence in research with impact.

There isn’t enough room in this brief piece from me to name all of our investigators, from ECRs to senior researchers, who have been winning prestigious awards. However, congratulations to you all and keep up the good work.

Preparation makes perfect

To help ensure that our researchers remain world-leading, the Faculty Research Committee has taken a proactive approach to a drop in successful MRC awards by implementing ‘MRC Shadow Panels’. These have been established to facilitate systematic review of project grants and NIRG applications to both MRC Infection & Immunity and Population System Medicine Boards.

The Panels comprise senior leaders from across the College who have exceptional MRC success rates. Many work closely with the MRC, and they have considerable experience of peer review and assessment. The strategic feedback offered is invaluable, and participants who have been through Shadow Panel Reviews have found the process extremely helpful.

Our research in the media

I am very proud of the regularity with which our work gains positive media attention and engages the wider public with the importance of research. Again there are far too many to list everything, but a few of my favourites are the wonderful press about our research into using ‘magic mushrooms’ to help with severe depression; a better way of dealing with ‘cyberchondria’ (abnormal health anxiety, made worse by people researching their symptoms online); the negative impacts of London air pollution on the health of unborn babies and older adults; and increasing resistance to antifungal treatments that could lead to global increased disease outbreaks and threats to food security.

Finally I’d just like to wish those taking a break over summer a wonderful holiday, and I’m looking forward to an even more successful year when all hands are back on deck.

Professor Clare Lloyd, Vice Dean (Institutional Affairs) – the year in review

Professor Clare LloydThe past academic year has seen much progress and development across many areas, as we strive to make our Faculty a productive, enjoyable and supportive environment in which to work and learn.

As part of our mission to increase support for career development across the Faculty, a Professional Development Consultant specifically for Fellows has been recruited; Leanne Lillepuu.  Leanne works across the College and has put in place a number of initiatives to provide support for fellows.  As part of this she has been doing a lot of specific work for clinical fellows – joining up the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre with the CATO (Clinical Academic Training Office). Her remit is to develop an inclusive programme of support and cohort building activities, with the aim of increasing the number of applications, and ultimately the number of fellowships awarded.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We have established a Faculty Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee that will be chaired by Professor Sara Rankin. With a broad remit, this new committee will cover all areas of equality, diversity, inclusion and culture, working closely with the already operational Faculty of Medicine Athena SWAN Committee. We look forward to the Committee’s first meeting this coming September.

Last October our Institute of Clinical Sciences received a Silver Award from Athena SWAN, adding to those held by the Department of Medicine, NHLI and School of Public Health, and the Department of Surgery and Cancer’s Bronze Award. This is part of our ongoing commitment to equality in science and success for all.  The coming six months will see Athena renewal applications being submitted for NHLI,SPH and Surgery and Cancer, with the outcome of the Department of Medicine’s application currently awaited.

Staff Survey Action Plan

Another major action for the coming year is development and improvement of the frameworks we have in place for effective communication within this Faculty.  This response forms part of our Action Plan following the 2017 Staff Survey, from which Faculty staff responses showed that, while there are areas of good practice and strength within the Faculty in terms of communication, there are significant areas where the Faculty can do better in communicating well about issues affecting Faculty life and our strategic direction.

Work on this has already started with the completion of the first round of Dean’s campus roadshows during the Winter/Spring of this year and planning is already underway for the next round this Autumn. Faculty staff from different professional roles and locations are also contributing to discussion about opportunities for improvement: this has helped us to begin to draw out opportunities for investigation and progress.  We will continue to work over the remainder of 2018 to consult, develop, better define and share the Faculty’s approach in this important area.

MBBS Curriculum Review – why and how you should get involved

In response to an ever-changing landscape for medical education, Imperial College School of Medicine is undertaking a major curriculum review covering all aspects of our undergraduate medical programme.

If you’d be interested in being involved in delivering the new curriculum in any capacity or any of the below descriptions applies to you, or if you’d be interested in providing a research experience for the Clinical Research and Innovation module, please get in touch with the Curriculum Review team on curriculumreview@imperial.ac.uk. (more…)

Imperial Confidence in Concept (ICiC) Scheme Awards Funding to 26 projects

The Faculty of Medicine is delighted to report the outcome of the sixth Imperial Confidence in Concept (ICiC) competition, which was instigated to support the College-wide development of novel devices, diagnostics and therapeutics for areas of unmet clinical need.

Funding

This year, a fund in excess of £1.6M was made available from the MRC (Confidence in Concept fund), NIHR Imperial BRC, Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund, EPSRC Impact Acceleration Accounts, and HEIF funding, as well as support from NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research.

For the second year in a row we have also partnered with AstraZeneca to offer the AZ Innovation Fund as part of the ICiC call. The aim of the AZ Innovation Fund is to enable drug discovery by facilitating the development of new technologies and the exploration of disease biology.

Why is the ICiC important?

The aim of the scheme is to strengthen the College’s early translational research portfolio, providing funding to help with the translation of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics towards clinical testing and/or a marketable product. This is achieved by providing vital pilot-funding to bridge potential gaps between discovery research and applications for MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme or Developmental Clinical Studies Funding Scheme.

Since its inception in 2012, 117 projects have been funded, leveraging in excess of £61M in follow on funding, transforming the pull-through of discovery science to clinical application across the College.

The 2018 award winners

The cross-College panel, which was chaired by Professor Roberto Solari and included external members, was very impressed with the high quality of applications this year.

Proposals covered the full breadth of biomedical translational research across the College, and examples include:

  • Lipid A analysis by MALDI-MS on intact bacteria discriminates chromosomal and plasmidic resistance to last resort antibiotics (Larrouy-Maumus);
  • Using novel cytokines to accelerate wound closure (Higgins);
  • Development and testing of Novel Bio-orthogonally Modified Viruses as Vaccine Candidates (O’Hare);
  • Self-Homing Intelligent Needle Ecosystem (SHINE) (Ferdinando Rodriguez y Baena).

We are also pleased to announce two co-funded projects with our colleagues at the NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and Institute of Cancer Research:

  • Autologous jejunal mucosal transplantation combined with topical lubiprostone to reduce xerostomia after chemoradiation (JETPROX): a pilot study in 5 patients
    • A collaboration between Dr Vinidh Paleri (RMH) and Dr Peter Clarke (Imperial)
  • Fluorescent Probes with Exceptional Brightness for Early Diagnosis of Breast Cancer by Direct Imaging
    • Led by Imperial’s Dr Fang Xie in collaboration with the Royal Marsden’s Dr Steve Allen and Dr Richard Sidebottom

(more…)

NeurOn Topic – a new Imperial blog

A new Imperial blog entitled ‘NeurOn Topic: Learning and Teaching’ has launched this week.

The founder and editor of the blog is Dr Stefano Sandrone, Teaching Fellow within the Faculty of Medicine, and the contributors are Imperial’s MSc Translational Neuroscience students.

The key aims of this new blog are to enhance the curriculum, innovate pedagogy and inspire society.

With questions submitted by current Master’s students, the first blog post features an interview with Dr Magdalena Skipper, former Imperial alumna and new Editor-in-Chief of Nature. She is the first female Editor-in-Chief over the last 149 years and started her new role at the beginning of July.

Some of the topics that will be covered in future blog posts include the relationship between brain science and spirituality, the neuroscience behind the ‘perfect’ morning cup of coffee, and the neuroscience of revision. There will be also space for notes on the cognitive changes in depression and on the neurological aspect of HIV, as well as on the important role the anterior part of our brain plays in learning and cognition.

Furthermore, other interviews with special guests have already been planned.

Stay tuned! Visit the blog at: http://wwwf.imperial.ac.uk/blog/neuron-topic/

The Professor Richard Wise Memorial Fund

In memory of Richard Wise

A memorial fund has been created in the late Professor Richard Wise’s name to commemorate his contribution to science and the academic community at Imperial College London.

The Professor Richard Wise Memorial Fund exists within Imperial College and aims to commemorate Richard and his passion for supporting researchers early in their careers. The Computational, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging group at Imperial to will be hosting an annual international lecture prize competition for young scientists in cognitive neuroscience. This will be in memory of Richard who made enormous contributions to cognitive neuroscience and had a reputation for supporting young neuroscientists.

About the Fund

Early to mid-career neuroscientists will be invited to submit scientific abstracts in the field of cognitive neuroscience on an annual basis. The winning candidate will present their work in London alongside an invited lecture delivered by a senior internationally-renowned cognitive neuroscientist.

The fund will support travel expenses for both the winning scientists and the invited speaker, their accommodation costs, and refreshments for the event. To maximise attendance to the event, the event itself will be free and open to all cognitive neuroscientists and will be temporally linked to a national/international neuroscience event, such as the annual Association of British Neurologists meeting, or the British Neuropsychological Society spring meeting. Around 200 delegates are expected, from a wide range of research and clinical backgrounds. The audience will include clinical neurologists, neuroscientists, neuroimaging analysts and clinical psychologists. The organising committee will be chaired by Professor David Sharp, Dr Adam Hampshire, Dr Fatemeh Geranmayeh and Dr Emily Shaw (Richard’s daughter).

How to donate

Donations to the Fund can be made on the JustGiving page.

Professor Richard Wise was a Consultant neurologist and a Professor of neurology at Imperial College London. He was a prolific academic writer who was deeply respected by his colleagues and patients. He supervised many PhD students who have gone on to become leaders in their field.

A memorial service will be taking place from 6-9pm, Monday 9 July, Lecture Theatre 1, Wolfson Education Centre, Hammersmith Hospital. Further details and registration at https://richardwise.eventbrite.com

Monthly update from the Institute of Global Health Innovation

News

Road traffic injury

IGHI latest forum gathered to discuss road traffic injury and big data.

Imperial appointment will help speed up patient access to cutting-edge treatment

IGHI Director, Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham from Imperial’s Department of Surgery & Cancer has been appointed as chair of a joint government-industry group to speed up patient access to ground-breaking technologies and treatments.

IGHI Podcast: Road traffic injuries

In our latest podcast, IGHI speaks to Miss Seema Yalamanchili about road traffic injuries in lower and middle-income countries.

Blog

From Flatbush New York to London, via Paris: Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes, a distinct form of diabetes we’re only beginning to understand – By Dr Shivani Misra, Honorary Clinical Research Fellow, Department of Medicine

During Diabetes Week, Dr Misra looked at how there are more than just two types of diabetes and how global insights into ethnic-specific types can benefit local people with diabetes.

Towards safer and more equitable maternal health care – By Ana Luisa Neves, General Practitioner and Research Associate at Imperial NIHR PSTRC

Winner of Imperial Enterprise Lab’s Venture Catalyst Challenge 2018 explains why how her initiative, Momoby is looking to better access to maternal health care.

Improving blood transfusion systems using an evidence-based approach – By Chris Bird, MSc Health Policy student at Imperial College and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at NICE

Chris Bird takes a look at the case for an evidence-based approach in blood transfusions.