Category: Conferences and meetings

Report from the ASME conference in Edinburgh

There was a strong showing of Imperial college educators at the ASME conference in Edinburgh last week with some 20 teachers presenting their education research or innovative teaching ideas in undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD fields. Many thanks to Professor Sue Smith and MERU for granting funding to many of these teachers and enabling them to present their work in a National forum.

It is difficult to name any highlights but particularly interesting presentations were made by Dr Ros Herbert on the impact of role models on medical students and  Dr Nina Salooja on the use of innovative teaching methods in a Teaching Skills course for undergraduates and the primary care team of Dr Andy Mckeown, Ms Gillian Williams and Dr Elena Barquero who presented their work on   a  pilot to match medical students and nursing students to  health coach vulnerable patients in the community.

Particular mention needs to be made about the success of our teaching fellows;  Dr Ann Chu for ASME New researcher Award  Medical trainees’ views on the transition from core training to higher specialist training ,  Dr Suzie Pomfret for the TASME Teaching Innovation & Excellence Award for her work on simulation PTWRs and preparation for consultant practice and Dr Rula Najim and Dr Nina Dutta for being Highly Commended in the ASME poster prize for teaching fellow led teaching in  undergraduate surgery.
We hope to build on this  interest and energy in education with  equally good numbers attending the forthcoming AMEE conference in Glasgow in September 7-9th 2015.

Dr Joanne Harris MRCP MRCGP MA(Med Ed)
Deputy Head of Undergraduate School
Deputy Director Primary Care Education

“From bench to bedside – is personalised medicine the future?” CSC Chain-Florey Fellows invited leading experts to have their say

The MRC Clinical Sciences Centre’s Chain-Florey Fellows met at the annual workshop last Thursday (13 November) to present the researchthey have been working on at the CSC, and take part in the lively discussions that followed.

The CSC’s Chain-Florey Clinical Research Fellowships offer medical graduates the opportunity to complete PhDs in basic science at the CSC. Clinically trained Fellows develop a unique appreciation of the practical application of treatments and bring a valuable perspective to science research. Since the scheme’s inception in 2009, 17 Fellowships have been awarded and graduates have emerged ready to tackle clinical research questions with scientific precision. The scheme is jointly funded by the MRC and NIHR through the Imperial BRC.

Every year, the most senior fellows showcase their research in front of an audience of medical experts. This year, Dr Allifia Abbas Newsholme, Dr Philip Webster and Dr Andrew Innes gave fascinating talks that reflected the high quality of training in basic science that they received on the three-year fellowship.

Allifia Abbas Newsholme, who is now close to completing the fellowship with Amanda Fisher’s Lymphocyte Development Group, kicked off the Chain-Florey presentations with a talk on ‘Non-invasive imaging of imprinted gene expression’. She is working to devise a system to image changes in the expression of the CDKNIC gene. Mutations in this gene cause Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, which is characterised by an increased risk of tumour formation. Originally from Dubai, Allifia embarked on the fellowship with an undergraduate degree from the University of Leeds, an intercalated BSc in immunology at the Royal Free in London, and two years of training in her specialty of Nephrology at the London Deanery.

Philip Webster, who has completed his PhD with Anthony Uren’s Cancer Genomics Group, presented his research on the genetics and kinetics of BCL2 driven lymphoid malignancies. BCL2 is a gene involved in preventing programmed cell death, known as apoptosis. If the gene is overexpressed it prevents apoptosis. Cells remain alive for too long, leading to cancers and autoimmune diseases. By identifying genes that are commonly mutated with BCL2, Phil altered their expression in lymphoma cells to investigate the role they play in the development of lymphoma – a cancer of white blood cells. Phil trained at Nottingham University Medical School and has worked across the UK and Australia. In 2007, he came to London and later began his specialist training as nephrologist. Having returned to his specialty training in renal medicine, he intends to pursue an academic career path. He is currently renal registrar at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

“The Chain-Florey Fellowship is an excellent opportunity to acquire solid, basic science training for any doctor intending to have a career in academia. I wanted to gain knowledge, experience and learn new techniques within the genomics of the immune system and then apply this to my interest in autoimmune diseases,” he says.

Andrew Innes’s talk was titled, ‘Investigating senescence regulation: a telomere damage model.’ Andrew, who has almost completed the fellowship with Jesús Gil’s Cell Proliferation Group, looked into the genes that control senescence in the natural ageing process. “Senescence is well known for its role in controlling cancers, but its role in fibrotic disorders is less well understood,” he says. “I’m interested in post-transplant fibrotic disease, specifically Graft Versus Host Disease (DVHD). There’s a lot of evidence that this mimics autoimmune disease, but there is also evidence that could link it to senescence.” Andrew approached the bench with a firmer grounding in basic research than many other Chain-Florey Fellows because he had finished a nine-month Academic Clinical Fellowship at Imperial College with Francesco Dazzi. After training in Dundee, Glasgow and Manchester, Andrew moved to London in 2008 to specialize in Haematology.

Their talks were followed by a riveting panel discussion on the future of personalized medicine. The panelists grappling with this divisive topic were:


Dr Peter Campbell – Head of Cancer Genetics and Genomics at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and joint head of the Cancer Genome Project.

Professor Irene Roberts – Head of the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Group at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine.

Dr Anne-Marie Coriat – Director of Capacity Skills and Infrastructure at the MRC.

Dr Sohaila Rastan – President and Chief Executive Officer at Ceros Limited and Chief Scientific Advisor of the RNID.

Professor Jonathan Weber – Director of Research at Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Dr Jeremy Griggs – Biology Leader and Biologist in the Discovery Partnerships with Academia team at GlaxoSmithKline.


The afternoon ended with a keynote speech from Dr Peter Campbell. He discussed ‘the vast somatic mutational landscape of cancers’, with particular reference to the molecular pathology of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).

To read more about the CSC Chain-Florey scheme, its sponsors and advocates, current and previous Fellows, please visit the CSC website.


Almut Caspary
Institute of Clinical Science
Faculty of Medicine

Best paper award won at the #design4learning conference

Dr Maria Toro-Troconis, Mr Ashish Hemani and Dr Kevin Murphy won best paper award at the #design4learning conference run by the Open University (OU) and the Higher Education Academy (HEA) on the 26 & 27 November 2014 . HIG01S0002_Logo_Primary_Blue_RGB_MV1ou-logo

Following a competitive selection the paper entitled ‘Learning Design in the 21st century. Blended Learning Design Tool (BLEnDT©) and MOOCit©’ won the best paper award.


The paper discussed The Blended Learning Design Tool (BLEnDT©) developed by Dr Toro-Troconis at the School of Medicine and the implementation and findings in the design of a blended learning course for the Respiratory Muscles tutorial in Year 1 of the MBBS course.


The Blended Learning Design Tool (BLEnDT©) introduces an instructional framework for the design of blended learning approaches identifying the learning outcomes that lend themselves to interactive self-guided online learning following an Instructionist approach and the learning outcomes that are best suited for face to face delivery or online delivery following a Constructivist/Collaborative approach.


BLEnDT© is currently used at the School of Medicine at Imperial College London and by the Imperial College Curriculum Development team – Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine.


The School of Health Sciences at City University London, the Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning at King’s College London and the University College London (UCL) are also collaborating in the use of BLEnDT©.


More information about BLEnDT©:
#design4learning conference:


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

IUA Award from the XXVI World Congress in Sydney

The Josef Pflug Vascular Laboratory of Imperial College has recently won the prize for the best oral presentation at the XXVI World Congress of the International Union of Angiology 10th – 14th August 2014 in Sydney, Australia with entry number #820. The certificate was given to Mr Christopher Lattimer MBBS, FRCS, MS, PhD from Professor John Fletcher, Chairman of congress and President elect of the IUA, on behalf of the team and collaborators.

The award was for recognising that D-dimer levels taken from the leg in patients with chronic venous insufficiency were increased in comparison to their arm blood samples. The research arose from the hypothesis that local blood samples would be a better reflexion of local pathology than a systemic sample from the arm which has been altered through several organs and capillary beds. This led to the development of the ankle cubital D-dimer ratio (ACDR) which may be a more specific test at detecting pro-thrombotic states in the leg, like venous disease or a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The advantage of the ACDR over a single arm sample is that it is not dependent on the age of the patient and it is unrelated to the type of measuring assay. Future studies are underway to determine whether this test may improve the specificity of D-dimer as a screening test in the detection of DVT.

The prize was awarded to our team which includes our overseas collaborators, Professor Jawed Fareed, Professor Debra Hoppensteadt and Daneyal Syed from the Department of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Loyola University, Chicago, USA. The rest of our team from the Josef Pflug vascular laboratory ( at Ealing hospital and Imperial College includes Dr Evi Kalodiki, Senior Research Fellow, and the head of our Department, Mr George Geroulakos.

Call for workshop ideas for the Faculty Teaching Forum

Dear all,

You are probably aware that the faculty teaching forum will be held this year on Thursday 27 November  12.45–5pm in the Glenister Lecture Theatre on the Charing Cross campus.

It is open to all staff who teach at Imperial and as ever promises to be a stimulating afternoon where we can learn together and enhance our knowledge of education. There is a theme of resilience and compassion and there will be an afternoon of talks and workshops together with a panel debate on “How do we promote resilience in our students?”

We are keen to make it relevant to you, our teachers and have some ideas from the feedback received last year.
However we would like to give you the chance to contribute to the event by running a workshop for your colleagues on any topic – not necessarily related to the theme. Current workshops include, “how to improve your lecturing skills” and “teaching on the run: how to teach in a busy clinic” as well as mindfulness  and a workshop on resilience vs compassion in our students.
The workshop would be a one hour session from 3.30 to 4.30 for a mixed group of approximately ten participants (clinicians, academics and support staff) and should be designed to be interactive.

Please contact either Professor Karim Meeran, Dr Jo Harris, Dr Sonia Kumar or Dr Graham Easton  with any ideas you have for a workshop and feel free to discuss them with us if they are still at an early stage.

Due to lack of space we will not unfortunately be able to use all your ideas but possibly we can feed them forward to other events.


Faculty of Medicine Health Policy and Engagement Event – Report

Health Policy event 10.07.2014   02A select group of people from across the NHS, healthcare and University sectors were invited to the inaugural Faculty of Medicine Health Policy and Engagement Event chaired and hosted by Professor Dermot Kelleher on 10th July. Professor Kelleher spoke in relation to the importance of these events to engage with our partners to discuss items of strategic importance and generate new and innovative ideas which aim to impact on healthcare.

Professor the Lord Darzi, Chair of the London Health Commission reporting directly to the Lord Mayor, presented on the latest thinking on the Commission which is examining how London’s health and healthcare can be improved for the benefit of the population. Following an extensive engagement process, Professor Darzi summarized the proposals received thematically as ; (1)  Better health for everyone, (2)  A better deal for London’s children, (3) better health through better care (4) enablers for better care, (5) Stronger health economy and research and (6)  Leadership for better heath.

Health Policy event 10.07.2014   07Professor Darzi commented on groups in London with different care needs which need to be addressed (physical, mental and social needs) and strongly believes that the London Health Commission presents a unique opportunity to bring together health, local government, NHS and commissioners for the benefit of the population.  Examples of suggested initiatives likely to impact on the health of Londoners if introduced include improving access to primary care , rewarding active travel rather than relying on public transport  and potentially designating parks as a smoke free zone.
Seminar attendees were given the opportunity to pose questions which were largely around interventions, the role of the media, accessing diagnostics in the community, different needs of adolescents compared to adults, the requirement to invest in the science of behavioural change and the importance of workforce planning.

Over 250 submissions were made as part of the Commission’s Call for Evidence process and a summary report of what was received has been published.   Further information is available at

It is intended to host a small number of health policy and engagement events throughout 2014/15 in conjunction with Imperial Global Health Institute (IGHI).  Sir David Nicholson, ex CEO of NHS England will speak at the next event to take place in November 2014.


Fedelma McNamara
Programme Director-External Partnerships in Faculty Centre
Faculty of Medicine Centre

ANDROGENS 2014: Precision Medicines Targeting Androgens in Health and Disease

September 17th-19th 2014

Imperial will be hosting an international conference entitled ANDROGENS 2014: Precision Medicines Targeting Androgens in Health and Disease, at the Royal Geographical Society.

The conference is the second Precision Medicines conference to be organised by the Division of Cancer and the 8th biennial Androgens symposium. Sessions will cover all aspects of androgen signalling, from development and reproduction to cancer, and will showcase groundbreaking research being done here at Imperial as well as around the world, with speakers from Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia. It is the first time this well-established conference has been held in London and we are delighted that the new rector, Prof Alice Gast, will be opening the event.

Registration and abstract submission are open and abstracts have the chance to be selected for oral presentation and/or student bursaries. See the programme and register at, or contact the organisers Charlotte Bevan  or Simak Ali for more details.

Dr Charlotte Bevan
Reader in Molecular Oncology
Department of Surgery and Cancer