We are seeking to support novel biomedical research collaborations across disciplines and departments. Proposals for pilot or feasibility work for high risk projects, to support collaborative cohesion, to test or develop new methods, or proof of concept studies are encouraged through this call. It is envisaged that the outcomes of supported work will then form the basis of a major grant application. Whilst funding is available to support any research within the remit of the Wellcome Trust, networks undertaking interdisciplinary research in the themes of Biomedical Engineering, Global Health and Development (including Epidemiology, Prevention and Control) and Infection Research (including Antimicrobial Strategies and Resistance) are particularly encouraged.
The Faculty of Medicine is pleased to advise Faculty members of the appointment of Professor Zoltan Takats as FoM Campus Director for the South Kensington Campus. Prof Takats took up the role from January 2015. Prof Takats is Professor of Analytical Chemistry within the Department of Surgery and Cancer. More information about Prof Takats is available on his personal web page at: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/z.takats
As FoM Campus Director for the South Kensington Campus, Prof Takats succeeds Dr Vania Braga, who completed her term of office in the role at the end of 2014. The Faculty would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Braga for her work in this role over the last 3 years.
On 24 January 2015, UCL Medical Society held their annual InspireMEdicine Conference, designed to celebrate variety and innovation within medical practice and broaden the horizons of current UK medical students. Throughout the day, delegates had the opportunity to attend workshops that explored key skills and gave a taste of the career paths on offer, as well as garnering advice from such renowned speakers as Professor Jane Dacre, President of the Royal College of Physicians, Miss Su-Anna Boddy, Council Member at the Royal College of Surgeons and Dr Christian Jessen of Channel 4 ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ fame.
Our team of three current 4th year Imperial students completed our audit entitled ‘Calling for Change’ in 2014, to assess the accessibility and efficacy of the call bell system at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey. We aimed to improve hospital safety and inpatient experience and having presented our ideas to the Chief Executive and Head of Nursing at the Trust with great feedback, we decided they held relevance on a broader scale within the NHS. As a result, we decided to enter our Clinical Quality Improvement (CQI) Project into both of this year’s InspireMEdicine Conference Competitions.
We were thrilled to be selected for the National Finals of both the Innovation Challenge and Poster Prize and are happy to report that on the day itself we placed 3rd in the Innovation Challenge. This gave us the opportunity to give an oral presentation to the 300 delegates, receiving a £150 prize and one-on-one mentoring with UCL Advances (UCL’s Centre for Entrepreneurship), to consider the social and economic impact of our proposals and form a business plan. Furthermore, we were excited to have won the Poster Prize Final, meaning that our Abstract will soon be published in the PubMed indexed journal ‘Annals of Medicine and Surgery’.
Overall, we had a fantastic time at the InspireMEdicine Conference and would like to thank all of those who supported our project, in particular Annette Stanley and Darren Pirson (our St Peter’s Hospital Teaching Coordinators) Adam Hunt (the Innovation Challenge lead) and UCLU Medical Society, for arranging such an incredible event. We’d strongly encourage current 3rd year students to consider entering their CQI projects next year!
Martin Bamford, Ishani Barai and Claire Brash
4th Year Medical Students
Imperial College London
On 30 of January,the breakout space at the Wolfson education centre was buzzing with more than 100 dates between 40 Imperial academics from different faculties, and representatives from AstraZeneca, GSK, Lillly, MedImmune, Pfizer, Sanofi and UCB pharma. As a result, follow-up conversations are ongoing, and GSK and Sanofi are coming back to Imperial to search for collaborations.
The first ICL-Pharma Speed Dating event was part of the launching program of the Imperial Confidence in Concept funding scheme, and was organized by the Corporate Partnerships team. Jonathan Weber, Vice Dean (Research) said “The Pharma speed dating event fits with our strategy to strengthen Imperial relationship with the Pharmaceutical industry and to provide young PIs an opportunity to have their first industrial interactions”. Academics had only 20 minutes to pitch their ideas to company representatives and discuss common interest for collaborations. The event was also the launch of the new Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR), Dr Lynne Murray. “During my tenure as the EiR at Imperial, I will act as an advisor, mentor and trouble-shooter for translational and commercial research directions. I did my PhD at Imperial and I am absolutely thrilled to spend time with Imperial academics” said Lynne. Currently employed by Medimmune, Lynne will act as a confidential and independent advisor with more than 15 years R&D and BD experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to provide advice on translational research collaborations with industry.
Both academics and company representatives enjoyed a day of interesting and open scientific discussions. Silvia Santos, a starting group leader at the MRC-Clinical Science Centre said “ It was very informative to understand what a therapeutic target is to pharma companies and the path to get into having a potential interesting target. But perhaps even more exciting was realising how complementary our approaches in the lab are with some of the companies and start discussions for potential collaborations”.
As a result of the event, the Corporate Partnerships team is busy setting second dates, and several companies have opened opportunities for collaboration with Imperial College. Genzyme opened a call for projects in inherited rare diseases that will be followed by a visit of their research team to discuss with short-listed candidates. GSK gave a presentation on their Discovery partnerships with Academia and Fast Track challenges, on 23 March at the Wolfson education centre on the Hammersmith campus.
All these calls are advertised through different channels including Faculty mailing lists, and research managers.
If you have any questions about these initiatives or you would like to discuss potential industrial collaborations, please get in touch with the Corporate Partnerships team at email@example.com.
Dr Alexandra Esteras-Chopo Corporate Partnerships Associate Faculty of Medicine
On Thursday 5 March Imperial’s three National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Units (NIHR HPRUs) held their first joint open day.
Imperial College hosts HPRUs in Healthcare Acquired Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance, Modelling Methodology and Respiratory Infections.
The three HPRUs came together to share their work with members of the public and colleagues in both research and healthcare. The event was extremely successful, with over 50 visitors coming together to learn about the cutting edge research taking place at Imperial College London.
The afternoon was opened by Professor John Watson, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, who introduced talks from Professor Alison Holmes, Professor Neil Ferguson and Professor Ajit Lalvani. Following the talks, guests were invited to speak to Imperial College researchers about their work and take part in interactive research, including a game modelling the spread of infection and growing bacterial cultures from the dirt on their fingertips. The event concluded with thanks from Philippa Yeeles, the Director of Improvement and Engagement at the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility.
One visitor commented that the event was “an excellent exposition of this research endeavour and a call-to-arms for the public’s involvement.”
Education Project Manager
Centre for Infection Prevention and Management Faculty of Medicine
Imperial’s final year medical students have achieved an outstanding result with 62 students attaining a place on the Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) for 2015/16. This is the second highest number of students from any UK Medical School and reflects the success of the strong academic focus of the Imperial College medical programme. This compares with 42 students getting an AFP in 2014/15, and 49 the year prior. Of the 62 students, 32 will be staying in London, 10 will go to Oxford, 2 to Cambridge, 10 to the Midlands and the others dispersed over the country.
The AFP offers the brightest and most academically able newly qualified doctors an opportunity to develop research, teaching, and leadership/management skills in addition to the competences outlined in the Foundation Programme Curriculum over a two year period. The AFP was established as a stream within the Foundation Programme with the aim to increase the opportunities available for the most junior doctors to gain access to research training alongside gaining their basic clinical competencies. About 6% (approximately 480 posts) of all Foundation Posts in the UK are AFP.
AFP trainees usually undertake a 4 month research placement in their second year, and many are successful in presenting at conferences and getting published. Several doctors who complete the Academic Foundation Programme go onto secure Academic Clinical Fellowships and follow the academic pathway.
At Imperial, we have always encouraged our medical students to apply for the AFP. A key USP of Imperial students is their academic ability and we believe that the AFP offers an unparalleled opportunity to develop academic skills that would facilitate easier entry into the Integrated Academic Training Pathway.
Application to the AFP is very competitive and applicants are interviewed if shortlisted (unlike applicants to the standard Foundation Programme.) Imperial has taken the view that if a student is keen on an academic path then they need to start thinking early during their medical school career about how to be in a position to provide evidence of their experience in, and commitment to, research, leadership and/or medical education by the time they are applying in their final year.
Date for your diaries: Next Annual NW Thames Academic Foundation Symposium – Wednesday 8h July from 18.30 in the Drewe lecture theatre, Reynolds Building, Charing Cross Hospital.
For more information about the Academic Foundation Programme please refer to the UKFPO website or contact Prof Liz Lightstone, Reader in Renal Medicine and Academic Director, NW Thames Foundation School.
Philipa Shallard Foundation School/Undergraduate Services Manager Faculty of Medicine
A new study carried out by Peter Sarkies (Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance & Evolution) in collaboration with Eric Miska (Gurdon Institute, Cambridge) reveals astonishing insights into the evolution of transposon-silencing mechanisms in nematode worms. Transposons are “selfish” DNA pieces that insert themselves into the genome. Like a computer virus, they copy themselves and proliferate, which can disrupt essential gene functions. Because transposons are so disruptive, there is huge selective pressure on organisms to silence them and stop them spreading. Organisms have evolved ingenious ways to suppress transposon activity, especially in the reproductive cells, where a transposition event affects subsequent generations. The front line of defence against transposons in most animals, from nematode worms to humans, are tiny sequences of RNA, known as Piwi interacting small RNAs (piRNAs). These piRNAs patrol the genome, seeking out and controlling transposons.
The phylum-wide study, published this week in PLOS Biology, sheds light on a highly dynamic evolutionary history, which was completely unexpected, whereby this broadly conserved transposon-silencing system has been lost in nematodes on several occasions. The study shows that piRNAs have been completely lost in four of the five nematode groups, or clades. Only Clade V, to which the lab model Caenorhabditis elegans belongs, use the piRNA pathway. In the absence of piRNAs, nematodes use a diversity of other mechanisms to control transposons. The authors suggest that the piRNA pathway was present in the most ancestral ur-nematode, but then independently lost in other nematode lineages.
However, nematodes without this piRNA pathway are not riddled with transposons, but have evolved two other pathways that control transposons in nematodes. One is a novel transposon-silencing pathway known as 22G-RNAs. This was found in three clades (Clades III, IV and V). The other is an ancient pathway, dependent on RNA-directed DNA methylation, which is found in the oldest nematode clades (Clades I and II). It is also found in plants and fungi, but has been lost in most animals. This finding begs the intriguing question: Might this be the ancestral mechanism of transposon silencing in animals?
“It’s completely unprecedented and shocking to see so many independent losses of the piRNA pathway across a single phylum. There are no other examples of that in the animal kingdom that we know of,” says Peter Sarkies from the CSC’s Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance and Evolution Group. If we can understand the selective forces that led to piRNAs being lost, says Sarkies, we might be able to get some insight into why transposable element proliferation is something that occurs more frequently in cancer. In addition, we might be able to design new treatment against parasitic nematodes, such as filarial nematodesresponsible for elephantiasis and river blindness, he adds.
The work was carried out in collaboration with, among others, Eric Miska from the University of Cambridge, and Murray Selkirk from Imperial College London.
Peter Sarkies, Murray E. Selkirk, John T. Jones, Vivian Blok, Thomas Boothby, Bob Goldstein, Ben Hanelt, Alex Ardila-Garcia, Naomi M. Fast, Phillip M. Schiffer, Christopher Kraus, Mark J. Taylor, Georgios Koutsovoulos, Mark L. Blaxter, Eric A. Miska: Ancient and Novel Small RNA Pathways Compensate for the Loss of piRNAs in Multiple Independent Nematode Lineages, PLOS Biology, February 10, 2015, DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002061
Institute of Clinical Science
Faculty of Medicine
Petra Hajkova, the head of the CSC’s Reprogramming and Chromatin Group, has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant of €2 million. The grant will fund cutting-edge research into the dynamic character of nucleic acid modifications during embryonic development in mice. Elucidating these mechanisms will prove crucial to further our understanding of the regulation of epigenetic information in vivo and during reprogramming back to pluripotency in vitro. “Studying the mechanisms underlying reprogramming could enhance our understanding of epigenetic changes observed early in cancer,” says Petra. “I’m very excited about the grant because it will give us the opportunity to carry out some outstanding experiments,” she adds. Altogether 5 CSC researchers have been awarded one of the highly endowed ERC grants. Besides Petra Hajkova, these are Jean-Baptiste Vannier, Irene Miguel-Aliaga, Till Bartke and Amanda Fisher.
Peter Sarkies from the CSC’s Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance and Evolution Group has been awarded a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) from Imperial College London. Peter, who joined the CSC from the University of Cambridge in October 2014, says the funds will be directed towards in lab evolution experiments with Caenorhabditis elegans to study the interaction between transposon-silencing mechanisms and evolutionary novelty in real time.
“It’s going to really help me make the transition from being a post-doctoral researcher to running an independent group, and give me the support I need to develop an innovative research programme,” says Peter. “I’m looking forward to strengthening links between Imperial and the CSC, so together we can conduct cutting-edge research,” he adds.
Peter Sarkies is the CSC’s third Junior Research Fellow, Andre Brown and Tobias Warnecke (both from the Institute’s Integrative Biology Section) received theirs in 2013.
Institute of Clinical Science
Faculty of Medicine
This year’s annual Immunology Short Course for Clinicians and Scientists was held in February. This popular course saw over 50 participants from across the country have the opportunity to hear from leading immunology academics and specialists from Imperial College and other institutions including UCL, Kings College London.
Course leader Professor Liz Lightstone said of the course “the participants, from clinical, academic and industry backgrounds, particularly enjoyed the opportunity to go from “basic” immunology to clinical applications and challenges that the course offered over its themed days”.
For over 20 years, the Department of Immunology has run this short course providing clinicians and scientists with a broad understanding of the complex field of Immunology and an insight into the most recent advances in both scientific and clinical immunological research.
The next course will take place in February 2016 at W12 Conference Centre Hammersmith, for more information contact Celeste Miles firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2014 the Faculty of Medicine has awarded the Dean’s Prize to students who achieve the highest overall Distinction grade on their Master’s course; each of whom receive a mention of the prize on their transcript, a certificate and £200. If they also attend Graduation they have their names read out at the ceremony.
We now have a page showcasing our latest cohort of prizewinners, featuring profiles and photographs. Many of them have spoken in glowing terms of their Imperial experience, making this is a tremendous resource for student testimonials and pull-quotes.
The postgraduate graduation ceremonies will take place on 6 May 2015. Students who are eligible to graduate have been sent invitations and should be encouraged to register as soon as possible if they plan to attend.
Dr Jim Osborne Postgraduate Taught Courses Administrator FEO – Faculty Education Office (Medicine)
The annual Young Scientist Day 2015 took place on Wednesday 4March in the Wolfson Education Centre. The event was a great success, attracting a large number of PhD students and also a handful of MSc and MRes students; one of whom was inspired to run a similar event in his own cohort.
The morning was dedicated to poster presentations, with participants enjoying a wide range of posters from all 5 Divisions. Our three winners were:
Natalie Johnston: Optical interrogation of glucose-regulated beta cell connectivity
Luke Moore: Surveillance to stewardship: bridging the gap for antimicrobial resistance
Ryan Mitchell: Reciprocal changes in glucose tolerance after pancreatic beta cell-selective over-expression or deletion of Slc30a8/ZnT8 in mice
The afternoon saw an impressive suite of ‘3-minute thesis’ presentations, with one PhD student from each Section Cohort challenged to communicate their research effectively in just 3 minutes. The overall prize was awarded to Nisha Ranganathan for her presentation ‘Why killing 99% of bacteria isn’t enough’, with a runner-up of Jonathan Underwood, who spoke about ‘How antiretrovirals affect the brain’. Nisha and Jonathan will progress to the 3-minute thesis competition at the College-wide Graduate School Summer Symposium in June.
We also enjoyed stimulating talks from three Department of Medicine Postdocs, which was a new feature for 2015. They provided some useful and good-humoured advice about PhDs, Postdocs and careers and PhD students enjoyed the opportunity to network during the drinks which rounded off the day.
Another new feature was a visit by 11 secondary school students from the Misbourne School, Buckinghamshire. Dr. Pascal Durrenberger, a Research Associate within Brain Sciences, has been leading an outreach project with the school’s STEM club, and the students enjoyed a varied day presenting their poster about brain waves, using microscopes and touring the Imanova Imaging Centre. Academics and PhD students made a real effort to engage the students.
The event would not have been possible without the generous support of the Graduate School, who provided funding for refreshments and also for the prizes. Young Scientist Day is a perfect example of the ‘cohort-building’ activity that the Graduate School seeks to support. We are also grateful to Dr. Kevin Murphy, Dr. Jane Saffell and to a number of other academics and Postdocs who gave up their time to act as judges for the poster and presentation sessions.
We look forward to planning Young Scientist Day 2016!
Philippa Griffin Department of Medicine Operations Trainee
The work describes the design, fabrication and validation of the first non-protein nucleating agent made specifically for robotic crystallisation experiments. This research builds upon prior demonstration of the suitability of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs; known as ‘smart materials’) for inducing protein crystal growth (PNAS 2011 108, 11081-11086). These semi-liquid MIPs are dispensed using commercially available robots and their application bypasses the concerns associated with seeding and solid heterogeneous nucleants. MIPs have been shown to be effective in both screening (greater number and variety of hits) and optimization (better crystals in MIP presence) trials. MIP-containing trials yielded crystallization conditions for proteins that had not produced useful crystals to date in screening (using commercial screens). No leads were obtained in the absence of MIPs or in the presence of traditional nucleants, meaning that without MIPs these important conditions would have been missed. Furthermore, better crystals could be obtained in the presence of MIPs at the optimization stage. Examples of these proteins include the human macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) and an antibody to CCR5 receptor complex since publication.
The research has paved the way to commercialization by Imperial Innovations – leading to a patented product that can be employed for the automated screening and optimization of any biomacromolecule. The application of these materials is simple and 20 nanolitres is sufficient for each trial, thus this will provide a potent tool for scientists in academia and industry.
I’ve committed myself to raising £1000 as part of the 1000/1000 Challenge (1000 people each raising £1000) for The Hunger Project in 2015 by taking on two tough challenges.
In April I’ll live on £5 for 5 days as part of The Hunger Project’s Live Below the Line campaign, and in August I’ve signed up to run/walk 100km (2.5 marathons) from London to Cambridge, which will take me hopefully far less than 24 hours of non-stop running/walking and just a little training!
Professor Kausik Ray joined Imperial College as Professor of Public Heath, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health in Feb 2015. A clinical cardiologist by training Professor Ray received his medical education (MB ChB, 1991) at the University of Birmingham, his MD (2004) from the University of Sheffield, a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School (2004-2005) an MPhil in epidemiology (2007) from the University of Cambridge and was Chair in Preventive Cardiology at St Georges University of London from 2010.
Professor Ray’s research interests focus on the prevention of cardiovascular disease using observational methods and intervention studies including large trials. Recently Professor Ray has established the first global registry of Familial Hypercholesterolaemia in conjunction with the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) called the FH studies collaboration (FHSC) and is PI for the TOGETHER study looking at cardiometabolic risk factors and clinical outcomes in approximately 250 000 people using electronic health records in London.
Globally a child is born every minute with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) the commonest autosomally dominant condition known to man with a prevalence of about 1:200- 1:250. This results in lifetime elevations in low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) resulting in premature morbidity and mortality from vascular disease. This condition can be treated by screening and early treatment with statins and other lipid lowering therapies. At the European Atherosclerosis Society Congress 2015 in Glasgow (http://eas.org), Professor Ray will launch the EAS FHSC, a global registry to harness information on the detection, management and clinical consequences of current practice on clinical outcomes. The mission statement is outlined below and for full details of the FHSC activities please see http://www.eas-society.org/fhsc.aspx
“The mission of the EAS FHSC is to empower the medical & global community to seek change in their respective countries or organizations regarding how FH is detected and managed, with a view to promoting early diagnosis and more effective treatment of this condition. Through international collaboration of stakeholders we aim to generate large scale robust data on how FH is detected, managed and the clinical consequences of current practice on outcomes.”
The Department of Primary Care and Public Health has launched a webpage dedicated to Primary Care Education Research. It includes useful resources to support all sorts of education research projects, from articles about methods and theory to practical guides to the process of education research. It has three main sections:
Recent primary care education publications and presentations
Guidance on the education research process
A bank of resources; articles, PowerPoints, and links to support people in their education research projects
On the afternoon of Wednesday 17 June we are hosting a half day conference Reciprocal Illumination- making patient and public involvement meaningful at St Mary’s Hospital.
The conference is for health professionals, scientists, patients and educators, both those already engaged in involving patients and the public in healthcare delivery, research and healthcare education, and those who would like to find out more.
We already have some speakers, including Prof Roger Kneebone, and are currently in the process of putting together the remainder of the programme. We would like to know if you would like to make a contribution to the conference yourself and, if so, in what area? If not, are there any specific topics you would like to have discussed?
The conference is jointly hosted by HENWL and Imperial College and is a free event – so please save the date and we will be in touch with further details in due course.
The links between the WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training at Imperial College London and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Iraq have been growing strong for some time. The connection has now been sealed with the Face-to-face meeting on Tuesday 2o January 2015. Representatives of the WHO Collaborating Centre (Director: Professor Salman Rawaf, Dr Sondus Hassounah and Ms Ela Augustyniak) had a privilege to meet Minister of Higher Education and Research, Iraq, His Excellency Professor Hussein Al-Shahristani in person over lunch at South Kensington Campus, Imperial College London, 58 Prince’s Gardens. His Excellency was accompanied by the Iraqi Cultural Attache Professor Musa Almosawe.
Professor Al-Shahristani is a graduate from Imperial College London Chemical Engineering, and we are delighted that the Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Professor Andrew Livingston joined the group alongside Mrs Clare Turner, representative of the International Office at Imperial College London.
It is not surprising that the discussion had a reminiscing part where HE concluded building of the Chemical Engineering Department was very much as he remembered it from 50 years ago, but obviously familiar faces are missing. Education remained at the core of the conversation; and although the development of the technologies seem to imply the inevitable turn towards online education sessions more and more, the party reached an agreement on the irreplaceability of the face-to-face interaction and its unquestionable value in the education process. “It is not the equations and theories we remember from our studies, it is the people and personalities and their impact”, was the commonly agreed conclusion. His Excellency is very keen to strengthen the links with WHO Collaborating Centre in supporting the development and strengthening Iraqi universities and in particular the new Medical University under development in Baghdad. He welcomed the training of many Iraqi academia over the last few years and he emphasised the importance of the continuation of such collaborative work between Iraq and I-C-L.
Dr Al-Shahristani was accopmapnied by Dr Mosa Almosawie, the Cultural Attaché: a well know academic and the immediate past president of University of Baghdad, the largest university in Iraq.
The 7th Advanced Academic Training Course for Medical and Health Professional
Imperial College London, through its WHO Collaborating Centre for Education and Training, ran its 7th Advanced Academic Training Course from 24 November until 19 December 2014. The course was established in 2011, following the collaboration between the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Research and Imperial College London. The aim of the Advanced Academic Training Course is to introduce the new methods of teaching and research to medical and health professionals who work in academia worldwide.
The course covers various aspects of skills-development disciplines, including communication skills, students’ assessment, Masters and PhDs examinations and small-group learning. Modern teaching and research skills development is achieved through interactive learning and hands-on experience through highly advanced skill labs, attending undergraduate students’ clinical teachings in primary care, community and hospital settings.
WHO CC at the RESCAP-MED 2nd Regional Symposium on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) – Beirut, Lebanon (3 -4 Dec 2014)
Our WHO CC volunteer for the period between July and September 2014, Dr Jara Valtueña (ImFine Research Group/ Department of Health and Human Performance-Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain), has been accepted to present a poster on the “Impact of the 2010 popular uprising: Ramification on morbidity, mortality and social determinants of health in four countries from the MENA region” at the RESCAP-MED 2nd Regional Symposium on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) entitled “Socio-political Challenges in the Mediterranean Region: Implications for NCD Prevention and Control” which took place in Beirut, Lebanon from the 3rd -4th December 2014 . This Symposium aims to bring together researchers and public health actors to present, document and debate prospects for action in NCD surveillance, management, control and prevention, within the context of recent geo-political developments in the region.
Her poster reflects the work she conducted with the research team at WHO CC, which she and the team are currently preparing for publication.
Dr Alex Chen, new PhD student, presenting at the UK parliament on unethical organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China. London, UK (25 Nov 2014)
On Tuesday, 25 November, Dr Julian Huppert MP hosted a forum in UK Parliament addressing unethical organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China and how this pertains to residents in the UK. Guest speakers included David Matas and Hon. David Kilgour who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for their investigative work on organ harvesting in China; award-winning research journalist, Ethan Gutmann, who’s book on this topic “The Slaughter” was published in September; and Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting EU representative, and our most recent PhD student, Dr. Alex Chen.
Dr Chen presented on unethical organ harvesting from Chinese prisoners, and discussed the global responses from the international community in terms of legislation and the far sounding-impact on organ transplantation around the world.
Medical and Health Research course
From 8 to 19 December 2014, the WHO Collaborating Centre hosted its first Health and Medical Research course for health professionals. For two weeks, 20 participants attended lectures by key researchers from the Department of Primary Care and Public Health on topics ranging from qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to setting international and national priorities for health and medical research. Participants were extremely pleased with the high quality of the course and the sessions and expressed their intention to implement what they have learnt in their own research institutes.
Update from WHO CC Fellows
In the last few months, WHO CC welcomed three new fellows: Dr Saad Al Saad, Dr Zahea Alnoumasi, and Dr Thamer AlOhali, all from Saudi Arabia. We trust their time with the Centre will be fruitful and satisfying , and will broaden their career perspectives fort he future.
One of the numerous impacts of the Ebola Crisis in West Africa is the damage that it has caused to already fragile agricultural economies. Restrictions on public gatherings and the closure of international borders have forced numerous agricultural markets to shut up shop. The impact that this has had on smallholder farmer livelihoods has been catastrophic.
However in light of the welcome news that the Ebola epidemic is slowing down, the Partnership for Child Development’s Samrat Singh looks at what innovative steps governments and their development partners can take to enable these shattered agricultural markets to bounce back from the Ebola crisis. Samrat’s article, written in collaboration with long time Defra adviser Helen Roberts, looks at how government-led programmes such as Home Grown School Feeding can provide stable markets for local smallholder farmers which can in turn support struggling agricultural economies.
IGHI’s New Non-Communicable Disease Forum The Institute of Global Health Innovation’s new NCD Forum provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary discussions of NCDs in low-and-middle-income countries. The first one will take place on 19th February.
PCD recently published its Annual Report 2013 – 14 outlining its ongoing successes in supporting governments to build the enabling environment to advance inclusive, scaled and sustainable school health and nutrition programmes. These programmes are improving the development, education and well-being of school-aged children worldwide. The report also highlights work in supporting government-led Home Grown School Feeding interventions by strengthening the links between school feeding programmes and the local smallholder farmers who supply them.
PCD co-hosts 4th Asian School Health and Nutrition Training Course
From 8 – 16 December PCD co-hosted the 4th Asia School Health and Nutrition (SHN) training course which brought together 37 participants from government, academia and civil society representing 12 countries in the region. During the course, lectures were delivered by international experts on SHN topics including deworming, WASH, school feeding and the inclusion of children with disabilities. To enhance interaction, participants also visited three local schools to learn from the Thai experience and developed country specific SHN action plans.
ERC Starting Grant awarded to Jean-Baptiste Vannier– Jean-Baptiste Vannier was awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant of €1.5 million for five years. He was selected from 3,273 applicants (9 % success rate). ERC Starting Grants support up-and-coming scientists who are about to establish a new research team and start conducting independent research. Jean-Baptiste, who joined the CSC in the autumn from CRUK, will investigate the role of telomeres in DNA replication. When telomeres fail to fold into these structures, the genome becomes unstable, which is a hallmark of every cancer.
Synergy: Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant awarded to CSC and Imperial College Researchers – Vahid Shahrezaei from the Mathematics department at Imperial College and Sam Marguerat from the CSC’s Quantitative Gene Expression Group will be leading the £250,173 award to investigate noise in gene expression using single cells. The collaboration will unite Marguerat’s experimental skills with Shahrezaei’s theoretical knowledge in order to gain insight into the process of stochastic gene expression and protein noise, which describes the fluctuating number of molecules inside cells that causes seemingly identical cells to behave differently.
Link between COX-2 inhibitors and cardiovascular risk explained– Research news article on why COX-2 inhibitors, a class of widely prescribed anti-inflammatories, may lead to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes (published in Circulation by James Leiper/Jane Mitchell, Imperial/NHLI; reference: Blerina Ahmetaj-Shala, Nicholas S. Kirkby et al. ‘Evidence That Links Loss Of Cyclo-oxygenase-1 2 With Increased Asymmetric Dimethylarginine: Novel Explanation of Cardiovascular Side Effects Associated With Anti-inflammatory Drugs.’ Circulation, 9 December 2014. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.011591).
Institute of Clinical Science
Faculty of Medicine
The Senior Management Team has now moved to Charing Cross. We are located on the first floor of the Reynold’s Building, so please do come and visit us if you are over there. We will obviously still spending a fair amount of time at South Kensington. The majority of the FEO are remaining in their current offices in SAF.
I am also pleased to inform you of two new appointments:
Dr Jo Harris has been appointed Deputy Head of the Undergraduate School. She is a General Practitioner and an Educator. She is currently studying for a doctorate (EdD ) in education at the Institute of Education and her research interest is in assessment of professionalism of medical students. Jo is currently Director of Curriculum and Assessment, and will continue in that role.
Dr Carolyn Gabriel has taken up the role of Head of Careers Development. I am sure most of you already know Carolyn, who has been very involved in education for a number of years, and was previously one of our Vertical Theme Heads. She can be reached on Carolyn.Gabriel@imperial.nhs.uk. I hope you will support her in developing careers as a theme throughout our undergraduate course.
Miss Susan English Director of Education Management and Programme Director Faculty Education Office (Medicine)