The Faculty of Medicine Medical Education Research Unit (MERU) launches its 2018 programme of events today, and all are invited to the launch event this evening to find out more about MERU’s work and to network with current members.
Now entering its fourth year, MERU conducts and supports innovative educational research activity to evaluate and enhance Imperial’s teaching and curriculum.
It aims to build a community, including both staff and students, uniting them through an interest in medical education research. Made up of a multidisciplinary group of staff from Imperial, its NHS partners and sister unit at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in Singapore, the Unit also recruits and encourages interested students to become involved in existing research projects and to consider conducting their own research.
The Unit also supports members by offering financial support to those attending medical education conferences, and advises on ways to develop research questions into feasible studies that yield publishable data, as well as guidance on ethics applications.
Over the past three years, MERU has funded more than a dozen original research projects, made 64 travel awards allowing members to attend conferences, and delivered monthly meetings and workshops to small groups of interested staff. The Unit also offers one-to-one support to any members requiring it, and brings together those with similar research interests to allow them to assist and advise one another in their various projects. (more…)
The undergraduate School’s annual awards ceremony took place on Wednesday 15 November at Imperial’s Charing Cross campus.
In conjunction with the Medical Students’ Union, teaching staff of all levels and disciplines are recognised with a variety of awards, spanning both clinical and non-clinical teachers, personal tutors, teaching fellows and student support roles.
Students who nominate staff members are invited to speak about the recipient prior to each award’s presentation. This year, each noted in particular the care and attention given to individual students, and the emphasis put on the importance of learning, by the staff members recognised. (more…)
We have now opened applications for Live Science 2018 here at the Science Museum. Live Science is an excellent opportunity for biomedical researchers to study some of the 3.4 million visitors that pass through the Museum each year. Based in the Who Am I? gallery, researchers will have access to visitors who already have a keen interest in science and a willingness to take part in real research that lets them learn a little bit more about themselves.
If you are interested, please visit our webpage to find out more information and to access the application form. The deadline for applications is 4 January 2018.
Science Museum Lates are adults-only, after-hours nights that take place in the museum on the last Wednesday of every month. The September Lates explored the theme of biology in its many different forms. Researchers from the CRUK Imperial Centre teamed up with others from UCL, King’s and the Francis Crick Institute to show how biology can be used to beat cancer sooner.
The researchers displayed cell samples through smartphone microscopes, with guests taking #cellfies on their phones! Visitors then got the chance to make cell badges while learning from our scientists about how the different components of a cell are essential to our health.(more…)
The celebrated Imperial surgeon Professor Lord Ara Darzi took a step back in time to the year 2000 to re-enact the UK’s first robot-assisted keyhole surgery operation on Friday 10 March at the Science Museum in London, as part of the museum’s current Robots exhibition
Using the UK’s first da Vinci surgical robot device (recently acquired by the Science Museum for its major new Medical Galleries, scheduled to open in 2019), Professor Darzi and his team demonstrated how he removed his patient’s gallbladder in that pioneering operation, controlling the surgical instruments remotely from a console on the other side of the operating theatre. (more…)
Please join us for the first ethIC@Imperial event of the year on Friday 24 March. EthIC@Imperial is a series of lunchtime seminars organised by Imperial’s Science Communication Unit to facilitate critical discussion about ethical issues relating to academia. Past seminars have focused on research culture and the pressure to publish, bioethics, and Big Data. Our most recent meeting was on the ethics of big data, and included panelists from the Data Science Institute, New Scientist, IBM and the Guardian newspaper. (more…)
3 March 2017 18.00-20.00
Students Challenges Competition: Enter the Dragon’s Den
Venue: Imperial College Business School LG101 – LGR, South Kensington campus
Join us on Monday 13 March for our interactive Dragon’s Den style event to find the winner of our annual Student Challenges Competition. The competition provides a platform for students based in the UK to showcase their global health research idea and win up to £5000 to develop it further. Runners-up and audience choice prizes will also be awarded. (more…)
Do you have an innovative idea for global health? Enter our Student Challenges Competition to win up to £5,000 to make that idea reality. Competition closes on 20 January at 11.59pm. Find out more by visiting the website.
19 January, 15.30-17.30
Global Health Forum: Seasonality and health
Venue: Anthony de Rothschild Lecture Theatre, St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington
Seasonal patterns have a significant impact on our health. Many health problems are directly related to climate change. Infectious diseases, respiratory illnesses including asthma, and allergies continue to affect the day-to-day lives of individuals. This month’s Global Health Forum highlights the importance of seasons on our health. Register here. (more…)
Timed to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the London Declaration on NTDs, this event will provide a broad overview of the latest scientific research for NTD control and elimination.
Through a series of rapid fire presentations it aims to provide a short sharp introduction to a wide range of new and cutting-edge research covering different diseases, specialities, countries, institutions, etc.
Alongside the rapid fire session, presentations will also be made by Sir Michael Dixon (Director of NHM) and Prof Sir Roy Anderson (Director of LCNTDR) .
The evening event will be followed by a drinks reception. (more…)
Professor Salman Rawaf hosted a gathering for Imperial MPH and PhD alumni as well as WHO CC Fellowship Alumni currently residing in Riyadh on the 13th October at the Hilton Double Tree in Riyadh. Attending the gathering was DR. Amal Hassanein, Ms Johara Al Saud, DR Turki Bin Moammer, Dr Thamer Al-Ohali, and Dr Ahmed Al Mujil.
Visit to King Abdul Aziz University College of Medicine, Jeddah
Professor Salman Rawaf and Dr Sondus Hassounah visited the King Abdul Aziz University College of Medicine in Jeddah on 9 October and were hosted by Professor Waleed Melaat to discuss cross university research collaboration.
Focus Group Discussions in Riyadh, Jeddah, Tabuk, Dammam, and Abha
In collaboration with the Saudi Health Council (the coordinating body for the integration between the various health authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Professor Salman Rawaf and Dr Sondus Hassounah conducted five focus group discussions, over a period of two weeks (3 – 14 October), as part of the larger project to develop a national strategy for the development of Health Protection in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The team from Imperial College London’s WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training(Ms Christina Banks, Ms Alex Swaka, Mr Mohamed Al Saffar, Dr Sondus Hassounah, and Professor Salman Rawaf) have been involved in the project since its inception in early 2016 and have been working with their counter parts in Saudi Arabia on the multi-pronged project which includes a desk review of model country case studies, focus group discussions with relevant stakeholders, a nationally representative survey with 5,500 of the public, and in-depth interviews with policy makers.
The project is expected to continue till mid-2017 when the results will be shared and discussed with the Saudi Health Council and other partners in Saudi Arabia.
Mashael Al Sheikh: Systematic Review on Women and Cardiovascular Risks in KSA
Congratulations to Ms Mashael Al Sheikh, PhD student at the Imperial WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education & Training, for her Systematic Review on Women and Cardiovascular Risks in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is available for viewing here.
The article has significant public health implications and more results will be available shortly on the impact on culture (beliefs, behaviour etc) on health.
Health policies and family physicians alike should aim to address some of these issues outside the disease model.
Leadership in Health- National Primary Care Services, Kuwait
The WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training hosted Dr Rihab Wotayan (Managing Director for the National Primary Care Services in Kuwait) to discuss future collaboration with the centre and the department of Primary care and Public Health at Imperial. Dr Rihab and her team are interested in working with WHO CC to develop the capacity of, and train, their local health workforce, particularly in ‘Leadership in Health’. Dr Rihab is also keen to expand on the success of their recent investment in Primary Care doctors in the Kingdom and potentially send some of Kuwait’s GP trainees to take part in WHO CC 1-2 year post graduate research fellowship.
For the picture–Left to right: Professor Salman Rawaf (Director WHO CC), Dr Rihab Wotayan (Managing Director for the National Primary Care Services in Kuwait), Dr Sondus Hassounah (Teaching Fellow, WHO CC), Dr Weiam Ahmed (Honorary lecturer WHO CC).
Welcome to WHO CC Post-Graduate fellow Dr Abdulaziz Alqahtani
WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training was joined on 1st October by Dr Abdulaziz Alqahtani from Saudi Arabia. Dr Abdulaziz is a senior Registrar in Family Medicine at the Prince Sultan Military Medical City and will be following his postgraduate fellowship till end of August next year.
WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training
On 14 September, the Centre for Health Policy’s Sowerby eHealth Forum hosted their third annual symposium on the benefits and barriers to sharing patient data.
On the same day, we also jointly hosted a special guest lecture by general practitioner and public health policy advocate Dr Suwit Wibulpolprasert on universal health coverage in Thailand. The event was jointly hosted by our new colleagues from IDSI who moved into our Centre for Health Policy recently. Watch the lecture in full here.
The official Imperial launch of the Apollo Therapeutics took place on 6 October. Apollo Therapeutics is a collaboration between three global pharmaceutical companies (GSK, J&J and AZ) and three Universities – Imperial, Cambridge and UCL. This is the first time that three global pharmaceutical companies and the tech transfer offices of three world leading universities has come together to form a joint enterprise resulting in a truly innovative venture aimed driving forward therapeutic innovation. It is a £40 million fund to drive therapeutic innovation aims to to significantly improve the speed and potential of university research being translated into novel medicines. Apollo will support translational research, shaping projects at an early stage to optimise discovery and delivery of new breakthrough treatments for onward development.
The launch event saw more than 75 Imperial academics, industry collaborators and Apollo representatives coming tog ether. The event was opened by Professor James Stirling and the scheme was introduced by Ian Tomlinson (Apollo Therapeutics Chairman) and Richard Butt (Apollo Therapeutics CEO). A panel Q&A session with The Apollo Leadership team together with Professor Jonathan Weber and Dr Mene Pangalos (Executive Vice President at AstraZeneca) discussed the opportunities for the College presented by the venture.
The first PG Connections event for 2016-17 was a great success, and was attended by well over 200 students from MSc, MRes and PhD programmes across the Faculty of Medicine. Newly enrolled postgraduates took advantage of this chance to meet and network with other students at a reception after the main event. The highlight was a provocative talk by Imperial College Professor David Nutt, who was sacked in 2009 from the government’s Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs. Professor Nutt took many questions from the hall during his session, and from a queue of students after it had ended. The title of his talk, ‘Why scientists should also be revolutionaries’, was quite coincidentally echoed by the theme of the Faculty of Medicine summer school, ‘Revolutions in Biomedicine.’ Coordinator Dr Kirsty Flower showed slides from the school, and called for PG students interested in working as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) during the 2017 programme mini-research project in cell/molecular biology.
The PG Connections Advisory Group was set up in 2016 to enable Faculty of Medicine PG students to contribute to events in the PG Connections series by suggesting themes, formats and speakers. The group was a success, and there will be an information meeting for interested students on 25 October.
Between 23-25 May 2016, the 3-day Pint of Science festival took place across 50 different cities in 9 countries across the world and Imperial College was part of the fun. The ‘Our body events’ organised by scientists from Hammersmith hospital (Flavia Fioretti, Serena. Tommasini Ghelfi and Sheba Jarvis) organised scientific talks by staff from the faculty of Medicine staff on the floating pub, Tamesis Dock, across the river from the Houses of Parliament. Pint of Science was founded by previous postdoctoral scientists from Imperial College and has continue to run successfully each year since 2013 with the events designed to engage the public in science and making scientific research accessible to everyone in the relaxed pub atmosphere!
On the first night, speakers Dr Amanda Cross talked about her research studying the effects of diet on health whilst Anna Domogala and Dr Anushruti Sarvaria talked about manipulation of the immune system to treat disease. On Tuesday, Professor Waljit Dhillo spoke about his pioneering work on kisspeptin, a hormone important for puberty and his translational work at using kisspeptin to help make fertility treatments safer which has led to 30 healthy babies. Dr. David Macintyre talked about his work on characterising the implications of bacteria within the female reproductive tract and the importance of the ‘lactobacillus’ also found in yoghurt in terms of pregnancy outcomes.
On the final night, Dr Nick Oliver discussed the ‘bionic man’ and focused on the state of the art around the artificial pancreas in the treatment of type 1 diabetes whilst Dr Nicoletta Nicolau talked about the secret dreamworld of anaesthesia. Bring the scientist out to the public was hugely successful at getting them out of the lab and all talks were met with excitement and a large number of audience interactions with the speakers. The Pint of Science festival was a success and has helped to whet the scientific appetites of the public.
Sheba Jarvis Clinical Research Fellow Department of Surgery & Cancer
Time to Talk Day is a national awareness day organised by Time to Change. Its aim is to encourage as many people as possible across England to talk about mental health and to join together to break the silence that often surrounds it. Further details are available at www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday
Imperial College’s Centre for Engagement and Simulation Science (ICCESS) took their ‘Time-Travelling Operating Theatre’ project on the road in September and October 2015 to great acclaim. The project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, featured real clinicians working together in re-enactments of three eras of surgical history – 1884, 1984 and 2014. Members of the public were taken on a time-travelling journey through each era to see how technological, cultural, environmental and social changes have influenced the development of surgery.
Led by Sharon-Marie Weldon, the ICCESS team delivered the events at a number of prestigious venues; the Science Museum and Royal College of Nursing in London, the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds and finally the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. The events were very popular with the public and attracted a diverse audience.
The key aim of the project went beyond the delivery of the events, however. Research has shown that it is very difficult to engage the general public in debate that can shape healthcare policy. Each Time-Travelling Operating Theatre event was followed by a discussion amongst audience members, clinicians and others such as ethicists and medical defence lawyers. Some really interesting perspectives emerged from these discussions that covered a wide range of issues, from the ethics of modern medical procedures through to the environmental impact of the present-day healthcare system. Sharon-Marie is currently analysing the data that was captured from these discussions and will be producing a paper that examines whether hands-on engagement activities such as this represent the future of ensuring public involvement in shaping the future of healthcare.
Guest Presentation from Mr Shuhei Nomura, PhD candidate in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, ICL
As part of the Department of Primary Care and Public Health’s effort to develop and engage doctoral students and fellows to debate and discuss their work, the WHO CC holds weekly seminars. On Oct 21, 2015, Dr Alex Chen (PhD candidate), the seminar organiser, invited Mr Shuhei Nomura, PhD Candidate in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics – ICL, to share his research projects about Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster.
Mr Nomura delivered a presentation on current radiation levels in Japanese coastal cities (Minamisoma City and Soma City, 15-40km north of the nuclear plant), as well as key issues and challenges facing the residents of these cities. He presented data from the internal and external radiation screening programmes for residents of these cities – work in which he has been involved since it was launched in Japan in July 2011.
On 11 March 2011, Japan experienced an unprecedented catastrophe compounded by a radiation-release incident at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in the wake of the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which was later assessed as a Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale – the worst possible rating.
1st International Conference of Primary Care and Public Health & 3rd International Congress of Person Centred Medicine “Celebrating Primary Care Achievements: Seeing the person behind the patient”
The 1st International Conference of Primary Care and Public Health, 3rd International Congress of Person Centred Medicine, was held at Imperial College London, United Kingdom, from the 29th to 31st of October 2015.
The conference covered five central themes: Primary Care in the 21st Century, Ageing and Ageism, Children and Adolescences, Integrated Care, and Public Health in Primary Care. The programme comprised of keynote lectures, brief oral presentations and posters, featuring prominent figures as well as members of local communities from numerous global settings, including the UK, US, Middle East and Mauritius. Over 250 individuals attended from countries all over the world.
The importance of this conference was laid out in the opening remarks from Imperial College President Alice Gast together with Dr Derek Bell of NIHR CLAHRC NWL and His excellency Professor Ala Alwan Eastern Mediterranean Regional office for the WHO. The trans-boundary issues which threaten health warrant an international response, and events such as this conference are crucial for knowledge exchange and the planning of action.
A summary of the calls to action from the conference below and more information from each speaker can be found on the conference website www.icpcmlondon2015.org
i. Establish a shared goal of improvement in the health of the population through person and people centered care, taking into account biomedical, socio-cultural, psychological and spiritual elements that form part of the whole person and the demography of diverse populations.
ii. Primary care and Public health professionals should create and enhance local links and build relationships with each other and local stakeholders.
iii. Prevention programmes at all levels should be fully integrated within primary care.
iv. Create health care databases and identify new data sets, creating from these a consolidated information system a platform for sharing and displaying local population health data that could be used by communities.
v. To create common research networks to foster and support the integration of primary care and public health to improve population health.
vi. To develop multidisciplinary educational programs developing the curriculum and clinical experience that ensures the integration of primary care and public health.
i. That primary care should be delivered within the social networks of each person, alongside the provision Social Care and recognized as being part of a complex adaptive system with many components that reciprocally influence one another.
Primary Care in the 21st Century
This theme was explored throughout the conference both in addressing the complexity of a world in which displaced people’s health needs require action and in widening our understanding of what it means to be healthy. From Professor Ted Epperly’s insight to the American Health model and how our spending on medical services is not in line with what maintains health, through to Professor Marisa Papaluca’s clear explanation of how Regulators are driving innovation in providing personalised medicines.
Ageing and Ageism
The fact that the world’s population is ageing and the need to account for increasing longevity a known fact, exploring attitudes to ‘casual ageism’ both in the elderly and the often overlooked adolescent group was integral to Professor Jon Snaedal’s talk. Professor the Baroness Ilora Finlay brilliantly summarised the importance of palliative care and highlighted the lack of focus and expertise which health systems provide for end of life care. The one time all people will require healthcare is at the time of death so it is important to focus on the end as well as the beginning.
Childhood and Adolescence
Sir Al Aynsley Green delivered a powerful and important talk on the most important significant and influential period of an individual’s life: childhood. With changing population demographics it is more important than ever to invest in children and nurture them taking inspiration from the holistic methods of childcare in Finland. The importance of person centred medicine was emphasised by Professor John Cox with particular regards to perinatal depression. This is an issue which can have enduring effects on families involved and it must be addressed in order to ensure every child has a good childhood.
Professor Mitch Blair, in his inspirational talk, stressed the need for doctors to pay attention to the beginnings of life and the crucial first years and seeing the patient in the wider context of family, school, immediate community circumstances.
Professor Azeem Majeed raised important points about the need for research and innovation in primary care, and explained the proposals for family practitioner led and hospital led integration. Professor the Baroness Sheila Hollins spoke compassionately about the need for person centred medicine and the imperative for care givers to work with the patient and their family and loved ones, to see the person behind the disability. Using integrated care for the treatment of atrial fibrillation was informatively described by Dr Abdul-Majeed Salmasi.
Public Health in Primary Care
Building health systems on a foundation of primary care and public health is vital for universal health coverage and improved population health. Professor Salman Rawaf spoke passionately about how crucial primary care is in order to tackle the growing prevalence of non-communicable disease and for ensuring healthcare is family and person orientated. The importance of primary care in public health was stressed in a video message from Professor Ala Alwan, director of EMRO, who highlighted that primary care is at the core of the region wide priorities for EMRO, including health system strengthening, addressing non-communicable disease, promoting health security and building capacity.
The conference was attended by over 200 attendees who benefited from the event and enthusiastically spoke about the experience.
“On the occasion of conclusion of the 1st International Conference of Primary Care and Public Health which was held at Imperial College, London (29-31 October, 2015), I would like to express the highest of my appreciation and gratitude to the marvelous efforts exerted on your part to have this extremely valuable conference in the best shape with this outstanding and remarkable success.
My very cordial congratulation for the success of the conference which is considered a turning point in primary care and public health march at the global level. The success of the conference was evidenced by the broad participation from every corner on earth, it was a global demonstration about primary care and public health. The themes and the scope of the conference encompassed a lot of interesting issues that were so vital to primary care and public health & the presence of such group of elite scientists and experts of the field crowned these efforts and was a real added value.” Professor Tawfik Khoja – Director General Executive Board, Health Ministers Council for Cooperation Council.
“Although I could not participate fully from the beginning to the end; I am so pleased to have taken part of this rich intellectual and scientific activity. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and your distinguished team on the quality of the technical as well as operational arrangements of the successful conference.” Dr Atef El Maghraby – Technical Lead, Health Systems, World Health Organization.
Advanced Leadership and Health Management training: 1-5 September 2015
Chinese Guanghua Foundation, whose mission is to stimulate Chinese youth to contribute to China’s Science and Technology development through various programmes and awards, approached WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training in search for a bespoke Advanced Leadership for Healthcare course. The WHO CCentre delivered the training on 1st-5th September 2015 for 16 delegates. The course included visits to NHS trust Hospitals, Research hubs and local practices as well as a series of carefully selected exercises addressed at the needs of the participants.
The intensive 5-day course was the first in the series of the regular trainings for Chinese healthcare professionals and Hospital Managers. The next course is planned for April 2016.
Family Medicine in Sudan
The Republic of Sudan has made significant strides in developing its health sector, especially in terms of family medicine; the country aims to achieve universal health coverage as part of its post MDG 2015 agenda. In this regard, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) has embarked on an ambitious plan for the expansion of primary health care network and the national health insurance fund is drawing its agenda for universal coverage. As such, the WHO CC was asked by the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office for the WHO (EMRO) to technically support the finalization of the family medicine policy currently being developed by teams at the Sudanese FMOH and Public Health Institute (PHI). Professor Salman Rawaf and Dr Sondus Hassounah from the WHO CC were joined by Dr Hassan Salah (Technical Officer-EMRO) from the 15th-21st August in Khartoum to meet and assist the FMOH and PHI in that regard.
Indus Foundation Healthcare Excellence award
Congratulations to our Director, Professor Salman Rawaf for achieving the Lifetime Achievement Award in Healthcare Excellence from the Indus Foundation.
The Indus Foundation has initiated the Healthcare Excellence Awards – country’s most authoritative awards for the healthcare industry. Each of the Awards recognizes “excellence in medicine and healthcare” as manifested in the varied ways that may significantly impact the health and well-being of our citizens.
Heba Awadh from Oman started her PhD in October 2015 and will be focusing on Patient safety in the Gulf Region
Asma Alnuaimi from Qatar joined WHOCC on 1st September 2015 as a WHO CC Fellow. Her two-year training programme will focus on health promotion, health education, public health and epidemiology. As part of her Fellowship, Asma will also work on a research question of her choice.
Ahmed Sulaiman AlMujil joined WHOCC on 1st October 2015 as a WHO CC Fellow. His training will be centred on: medical education, research methodology and publication process, healthcare management.
WHO CC Fellow: Dr Saad Al Saad from Saudi Arabia finalised his fellowship on 23rd September 2015.
What can we learn from surgical history and can we use this knowledge to consider what the future of surgery might look like? These are the questions we are aiming to answer by taking our Time Travelling Operating Theatre across the country as part of a Wellcome Trust-funded research project.
Imperial College London’s Centre for Engagement and Simulation Science (ICCESS) are using real clinicians working together in re-enactments of three eras of surgical history – 1884, 1984 and 2014. These periods represent the beginnings of abdominal surgery, keyhole surgery and more recent developments such as the iKnife. The Time Travelling Operating Theatre not only immerses members of the public in a world that is usually closed to them but also demonstrates some of the cultural, social, technological and environmental changes that have occurred in surgery.
Following their trip through surgical time, the public then get the opportunity to discuss the changes they have witnessed with the participating clinicians and others including ethicists, medical defence layers and policy-makers. The rich discussions that have come out of the experience have covered a wide-range of topics, a key one being the ethics of medicine past, present and future.
To date there have been three events (at the Science Museum, London; Royal College of Nursing, London; Thackeray Museum, Leeds) with the final event taking place at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh on 10th October. The data collected from the events will aim to understand if this unusual methodology is an effective way to involve the public and patients in policy-making decisions.
Scientists at the MRC’s Clinical Sciences Centre (CSC) in West London are the first to show that a small molecule circulates in the blood of people who are in the early stages of type 1 diabetes. A simple blood test could detect this biological marker years, maybe decades, before symptoms develop.
“If we can identify and treat patients earlier, we may be able to help them to avoid secondary complications. This could ultimately extend a patient’s life,” said Mathieu Latreille, who leads the CSC’s Cellular Identity and Metabolism research group, and who carried out the research in collaboration with scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Latreille presented the results to doctors at Hammersmith Hospital this month.
Further interesting findings came from a CSC study which has shown that a gene, called Jarid2, may play a wider role than previously thought in co-ordinating the way that stem cells change in a developing embryo to form the specialised cells that make up our bodies.
Scientists know already that Jarid2 is important in organising the healthy formation of many organs, including the neural tubes that become the brain and spinal cord, the liver, spleen, thymus and cardiovascular system. But its central role very early on in embryo development is “surprising”, according to professor Amanda Fisher, director of the CSC, and head of the Institute of Clinical Science at Imperial College London, whose team published its findings in Cell Reports on July 16.
Also this month, in our series of scientific seminars, Simon Andrews of the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, warned CSC scientists that experiments to sequence human genes can, and do, go wrong. Rapid advances in technology mean scientists can now sequence entire human genomes in a matter of hours, and for less than £1000. But Andrews explained that even the latest technology doesn’t stop scientists from making mistakes. “I’m showing you some of the ugly sides of sequencing experiments,” he said.
The Imperial College Centre for Engagement and Simulation Science (ICCESS) were recently involved in the highly successful launch of a Charity of the Year partnership between the Children’s Intensive Care Unit Appeal and Home House, a private member’s club on Portman Square.
ICCESS delivered a simulation involving staff from St Mary’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to demonstrate how the unit delivers world-class care despite being under considerable constraints in terms of space. The appeal will raise money to expand the facility and create additional 7 ICU beds within the PICU.
“I attended an event to announce the campaign for a new paediatric intensive care unit for St. Mary’s Hospital in London. It was, possibly, the most effective and moving such event, I have ever attended. The doctors from St. Mary’s and others acted out scenes from the paediatric ICU, complete with anxious parents and doctors speaking to them. There was a child in a hospital bed, and the attending physician explained his dire medical situation and articulated his needs, medical and emotional. The doctor spoke with disarming candour. It was tough going to see this performance, very different from the usual speeches and videos more typical of elegant fundraisers and campaign launches.” Feedback from a guest.
The experience of the ICCESS team in delivering realistic medical simulations to engage and move audiences combined perfectly with the passion and dedication of the PICU staff members who participated in the event. The audience, which included Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust staff including Chief Executive Tracey Batten, members of Home House and special guests from appeal committee, found the evening inspirational and emotional. An important event for a very vital unit within St Mary’s Hospital and an significant milestone in this fundraising appeal.