Blog posts

CSC group leader David Carling is one of ‘The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014’

David CarlingDavid Carling from the MRC Clinical Science Centre’s Cellular Stress Group was named on the Thomson Reuters’ 2014 list as one of The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds. The list is composed of 3200 researchers who, in recent years, have published the greatest number of highly cited articles.

Dave Carling is listed within the Biology and Biochemistry section. His research at the CSC is aimed at understanding the regulation of energy metabolism and how cells respond to changes in energy balance. In particular, the Cellular Stress Group focuses on the role of the AMP-activated protein kinase cascade and it’s role in regulating energy homeostasis.

The report draws on information from Thomas Reuters’ databases applying research analytics tools InCites and Essential Science Indicators to compile the list. The 2014 list identifies citations recorded during 2013 for papers published between 2011 and 2013.

On the recognition, Dave said: “A colleague of mine from the Biochemical Journal emailed me to tell me that I was on the Thomson Reuters’ list of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds. I’m not a great fan of lists, but it is encouraging to be reminded that our peers value the work we publish from the group. A lot of the time scientific research can be a long and difficult struggle, battling with experimentally challenging systems, so it’s good occasionally to get some mark of recognition.”

 

Yalda Javadi Ph.D
Science Communication Officer
MRC Clinical Sciences Centre

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 www.londonhealthcommission.org.uk

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

Appointment of new Head of Year 6 of MBBS/BSc programme – Dr Niamh Martin

I am delighted to inform you that Dr Niamh Martin has been appointed Head of Year 6 for the MBBS/BSc programme.  Many of you will know Niamh who is a Consultant Endocrinologist in the IC Trust, and Director of Clinical Studies at the Hammersmith, in addition to being heavily involved in curriculum and assessment across our courses.

Niamh will take up her appointment on 1st September, and I hope you will join with me in congratulating her and giving her your full support.

Miss Susan English
Director of Education Management and Programme Director
Faculty Education Office (Medicine)

Partnership for Child Development Summer Update

National NTD Mapping Informs Ethiopia Deworming

G94% of 535 surveyed districts in Ethiopia are endemic for either schistosomiasis and/or soil-transmitted helminths (STH) – Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) which are commonly found in school-children. This was one finding of the Ethiopian Public Health Institute who supported by Imperial College London’s PCD and SCI recently mapped NTD prevalence alongside Water, Sanitation and Hygiene infrastructure using data collected from 125,000 school-aged children across 2,700 schools. To date, the mapping surveys have informed school-based deworming programmes against STH in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Amhara regions and integrated schistosomiasis and STH campaigns will commence in these and other regions later in the year. Eventually, these campaigns will extend to all areas where children are at risk. Click to read more

Home Grown School Feeding: Time for Donors to Deepen Engagement

PCD2A new policy paper, “Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF): Time for Donors to Deepen Engagement” from Imperial College London’s PCD finds that despite the widespread benefits of HGSF felt in low and middle income countries, donor support to the initiative is significantly lacking. The paper outlines that as substantial challenges remain in meeting the global development goals on hunger, education and poverty, focusing attention on HGSF and other such innovative approaches which link agriculture, health and education sectors is crucial. The HGSF initiative can be described as a “win-win” – ensuring that food for school meals is locally grown, so that smallholder farmers are given a fixed income, and at the same time well fed children are more likely to learn, attend school and develop into healthy adults. Click to read more   Charlotte Broyd Communications Officer Partnership for Child Development

IGHI Summer Update

Disruptive Innovations in Life Sciences –  IGHI Annual Lecture – Dr Noubar Afeyan of Flagship Ventures presents IGHI’s annual lecture.

IGHI1

Sowerby conference: the power of medical records – Electronic health records as important as the thermometer and the stethoscope, says new report from IGHI’s Centre for Health Policy.

IGHI2

Imperial NHS Trust staff rise to the challenge to improve patient safety – 11 teams of Imperial NHS Trust staff pitched at the Dragon’s Den style Patient Safety Challenge for a chance to win up to £30,000 funding.

ighi3

Evolving Medical Robotics with the Hamlyn Symposium 2014 – Over 250 surgeons & engineers gathered at the annual Hamlyn Symposium last week to try their hand at the latest developments in medical robotics.

IGHi4

 

 

Jo Seed
Communications and Events Officer
Institute of Global Health Innovation

 

New pilot minibus service between South Kensington and Hammersmith/Imperial West

Imperial’s Estates Facilities Team will be trialling a free hourly minibus service next term for staff and students travelling between the South Kensington Campus and the Hammersmith Hospital Campus and Woodlane Studios on the Imperial West Campus. The buses will operate twice an hour between 8.00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday, throughout the Autumn term. The pilot service is being rolled out in response to feedback from Travel Survey publicised in Staff Briefing #88 which captured the views of 1264 members of the Imperial community. Passenger usage from operating this service will be evaluated in combination with the survey results to consider the possibility of permanent provision of a bus service in the future between the sites.

Deborah Evanson
Press and Communications Officer
Imperial College London

The “go-to” App for Imperial College Masters students

Imperial mobile

A Department of Surgery and Cancer administrator Susan Clark teamed up recently with Amir Rana, Junior Software Engineer, Web Development, in the pilot phase of an Imperial Mobile Initiative. They held a training session for administrators to learn how to build an App for their Masters’ programmes using the College licensed software Ombiel. The training provided an opportunity to learn and share the challenges and resolutions of applying different course structures to the App.

The story behind the initiative goes back to March 2013 when Susan wrote to IT. She asked for an App that would incorporate electronic student evaluations and the facility to push out essential course information to students. Saul Batzofin, Infrastructure Programme Manager, replied to Susan’s request with immediate help, first by training using Qualtrics, a recently acquired survey software. The evaluations had already been customised for the Department of Surgery and Cancer courses by Dr Kirsten Dalrymple, Senior Research Fellow and Co-Course lead MEd Surgical Education and they will shortly be accessible via the MEd App. This summer will see Susan working on improvements to the existing surveys and Apps, getting them ready for the 2014 / 2015 cohort. New students will have a 10 minute orientation in the use of the App in Module 1 of their respective Masters Programme, October 2014.

As for the future, the Department of Surgery and Cancer have a new MSc Masters programme pending; a move to a modularised structure that fits well with the surgical trainees career pathway. This year’s collaboration and initiative has paved the way for the use of the App for this new Programme, with the potential to go beyond administrative technology into Mobile learning.

Saul Batzofin emphasized the versatility of their solution; “Imperial Mobile works on mobile phones, tablets and desktops so rather than us telling people where and how to engage with College, we allow them to choose the device and location. So our ambition for Imperial Mobile is to give people relevant information and applications where and when they want it. We are still quite early in our journey but are working hard to add ever more useful functionality to our App.” Susan added that administrators can improve support for learning and teaching with their own collaborative contributions to this journey by engaging with the technology now provided by the College, when changes to timetables and key information need to be pushed out to students, the Go-to App could be invaluable.

Susan Clark
Postgraduate Education Administrator
Department of Surgery and Cancer

Elevator pitches RDC conference 25th September

Pfizer is inviting interested individuals to apply to participate in an “elevator pitch” session to be held on the 25th September in London. This will form part of the Pfizer Rare Disease Consortium (RDC) Inaugural Symposium, which will be a prestigious event bringing together senior leaders across academia and Pfizer. The call area is “future rare disease therapies”, covering any disease area within the rare disease spectrum (although applications in core themes of haematology, neuromuscular, pulmonary and cardiac would be preferred). Applicants would be requested to “pitch” their idea in a 3 minute slot (without slides) followed by a short Q&A with immediate feedback from a panel. Interested applicants should contact Vjera Magdalenic-Moussavi on v.magdalenic@imperial.ac.uk by the deadline of 1st August.

About RDC: The Rare Disease Consortium is an agreement between Pfizer and GMEC which provides scientists from the GMEC partners – Cambridge University, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Queen Mary University London, University College London and Oxford University – the opportunity to work with Pfizer scientists on joint drug discovery programmes. Bringing together the scientific and clinical excellence of the Universities and Academic Health Science Centres in the GMEC cluster with the drug discovery and development skills of Pfizer has the potential to accelerate the translation of basic science into a new generation of innovative medicines for the treatment of these debilitating and life-threatening conditions. 

Dr Vjera Magdalenic-Moussavi
Corporate and Enterprise Partnerships Manager
Faculty of Medicine

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 www.precisionmedicines.com, or contact the organisers Charlotte Bevan  or Simak Ali for more details.

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

Partnership for Child Development June Update

Innovative School Feeding Programme to Combat Extreme Poverty in Zanzibar

HGSF programme launched in ZanzibarOn 28 May the Government of Zanzibar launched a new innovative Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme in collaboration with Imperial College London’s PCD and programme donors Table for Two to feed over 5000 school children, whilst simultaneously supporting local smallholder farmers by sourcing their produce for the school meals.

“This programme is the first of its kind for Zanzibar and marks the Government’s awareness on the value of school meals for society as a whole” said PCD’s East Africa Senior Programme Manager, Iain Gardiner. He continued, “Not only will children be well fed in school but jobs will be created for farmers and other community members involved in the growing, processing and preparing of food for school meals.” Find out more

 

Nigeria’s Federal Ministries collaborate to extend HGSF

Nigeria high level meetingOn 19 May 2014, PCD, Imperial College London with support from the Vitol Foundation convened a special high-level convening of federal ministers, state governors and international experts in Abuja to discuss how more of Nigeria’s school children and farmers can benefit from Home Grown School Feeding programmes.

PCD’s Executive Director, Dr Lesley Drake said “The meeting is an excellent example of high level inter-ministerial collaboration at the federal and state level to design sustainable school feeding programmes which will improve the lives of children and smallholder farmers across the country.” Find out more

 

Promoting the Home Grown in Home Grown School Feeding

Promoting Home Grown in HGSFPCD, Imperial College London alongside Dutch development organisation, SNV are working with Kenya’s Ministries of Agriculture and Education to increase the access of coastal smallholder farmers to local markets supplying school meals in Kenya’s Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme.

In the target counties of Kilifi and Lamu, PCD together with SNV have launched the intervention to address challenges of farmer produce being sourced from large distances within Kenya and even outside of the country in neighbouring Tanzania. To ensure producers in the counties are secured of a reliable income and livelihood, so the “Home Grown” in HGSF is maximised, the project aims to achieve a more localised supply chain – to, in effect, boost the link between smallholder farmers, traders and recipient schools. Find out more

 

Addressing Micronutrient Deficiency in Ghanaian Children

MNPs training in Ghana60 stakeholders from Ghana’s School Feeding Programme (GSFP) programme from national, regional, district and school levels across three regions of the country were recently trained on the use of Micronutrient Powders (MNPs) to combat micronutrient deficiencies found in school-aged children in the intervention areas.

The training, carried out by Ghana’s Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the GSFP and PCD, Imperial College London taught participants how to correctly apply and store the MNPs. The sessions which followed a “training of trainer’s” approach will see participants organise step down trainings for caterers and cooks in their consecutive districts so lessons learnt are widely disseminated. Find out more


Charlotte Broyd

Website and Communications Assistant
Partnership for Child Development

Dr Mike Skinner appointed Chair of HSE’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification (Contained Use)

MIke SkinnerAt the beginning of June, Dr Mike Skinner (Section of Virology at St Mary’s) took over from Professor Janet Bainbridge as Chair of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE)’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification (Contained Use) – SACGM (CU). Dr Skinner has sat on SACGM (CU) since 2004, when it was formed to replace the former Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification (ACGM). The committee provides technical and scientific advice to HSE and other relevant authorities on all aspects of the human and environmental risks of the contained use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Its work therefore complements, and generally precedes, the work of  the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) which covers deliberate release policy. The remit of the committee is:

• To advise on the technical issues of individual activities notified under the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2000

• To provide advice on risk assessments for contained use activities involving GMOs

• To develop and update guidance on all aspects of contained use of GMOs including the Compendium of Guidance; a document that is well regarded both nationally and internationally

SACGM (CU) therefore helps HSE protect workers in industry, research and the health service (as well as the general public and wider environment) from any potential hazards attributable to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), while at the same time aiming to allow the research, production or application to progress in a safe manner. It concentrates on higher risk (Class 3 & 4) activities but also advises on the changing landscape of research, technological developments and disease threats, though in the latter case it overlaps with HSE’s Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP).

Like the other members of the committee, Mike says that the work has proved challenging but interesting and satisfying. Early in its life, it had to deal with issues concerning the industrial scale production of pre-pandemic vaccine against avian influenza virus H5N1, work which proved invaluable at the time of the unexpected emergence of the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. Indeed much of the committee’s deliberation has concerned assessment and control of recombinant influenza viruses created not just as vaccines but to help researchers understand the pathogenesis and host range of viruses emerging from animal reservoirs; the latter work has become somewhat more controversial following the publication of well-publicised ‘gain-of-function’ studies.

Within the clinical setting there are a burgeoning number of gene therapy constructs and recombinant vaccines that are entering clinical trials within hospitals and which are moving toward licensed clinical use. Data to support eventual approval for release of these vaccines through ACRE (and for licensure through the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency; MHRA) are conducted under contained use.

Mike is also looking forward to working with the those involved in the development of Synthetic Biology (a broad and rapidly developing area in research and industry, which falls under the remit of the GM regulations) and with those advising the authorities in other EU states (as EU legislation now shapes many of the relevant UK regulations).

Game focused on improving antibiotic prescribing launched


Increasing antimicrobial resistance has been identified as a global threat to health. To arrest such threat, a variety of measures have been implemented to improve the quality of antimicrobial prescribing. But whilst increasing prescriber knowledge has proven easier to achieve, maintaining adequate engagement with recommended prescribing behaviours remains harder to accomplish due to psychological and behavioural influences. In other clinical settings, the use of serious electronic games coupled with the application of game mechanics have been successfully employed to resolve similar behavioural challenges, allowing players to experience complicated clinical scenarios and gain technical skills without any negative consequences on patients. In 2013 we proposed to investigate if a serious smartphone prescribing game would be effective in supporting and encouraging the prudent use of antimicrobials in acute care.

In collaboration with a commercial game company, we developed a series of virtual patients that presented signs and symptoms of different infectious pathologies including community- and healthcare-acquired pneumonia, viral and bacterial meningitis, urinary tract infection, influenza, cellulitis and C. difficile colitis, among others. Players gradually receive clinical information for each patient to help them decide the diagnosis and management for the case, and can opt to prescribe oral antibiotics, broad- or narrow-spectrum intravenous (IV) antibiotics, request further tests or discharge the patient without any treatment. Timely and accurate diagnosis and clinical management are rewarded by the scoring algorithm, whilst too conservative or hurried decisions are penalised. Recognising the social interactions that occur during a prescribing decision and the impact of such decisions on different professional groups, we include behavioural nudges offered by professionals, patients and hospital management, depending on each player’s performance.

We used several gamification elements to focus players’ mind on desired antimicrobial prescribing behaviours and to highlight any unintended consequences. The user interface can be personalized and timers and scores, together with increasing case difficulty were introduced to sustain engagement with the game. Immediate feedback after each case and tailored messages informed players about their performance. Delayed consequences of prescribing decisions were explicit for players; for example, using IV antibiotics too frequently results in cannula-site infections which will reappear as follow-up cases, increasing players workload.

The game (which can be downloaded here) from was launched on 6th May to coincide with the international patient safety day promoted by the World Health Organization. The concept and progress were recently presented at the 16th International Conference on Infectious Diseases in Cape Town (South Africa) and the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Barcelona (Spain), attracting much interest as no other research group has developed a similar initiative.

Sustaining appropriate prescribing behaviours remains a challenge for antimicrobial stewardship initiatives worldwide. Serious games delivered on mobile devices can complement the experiential learning of prescribers. Games can be useful to reinforce desired behaviours, elicit the relationships between different professional groups involved in prescribing decision-making, and highlight any unintended consequences of antimicrobial prescribing. Serious games may be an affordable and feasible solution to address the behavioural and social influences on prescribing.

Enrique Castro Sánchez
Academic Research Nurse
National Centre for Infection Prevention and Management

Dr Wendy Harrison participates at World Health Assembly

Dr Wendy HarrisonDr Wendy Harrison, Chairperson of the UK Coalition against Neglected Tropical Diseases and Managing Director of SCI in the School of Public Health participated as a panelist at a side event at the World Health Assembly on 22nd May.

The theme of the meeting was “The Power of Integration: achieving the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases”, and in addition to Dr Harrison panelists included Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, Minister of Health, Nigeria;  Dr Dirk Engels, Director, Dept of Control of NTDs, WHO ; Nichola Cadge, Health Adviser, DFID and Dr Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health, USAID.

Prof. Alan Fenwick O.B.E.
Professor of Tropical Parasitology
SCI – Imperial College London

Excellent Medical Education – National ASME/GMC Joint Awards – advance notification

ASME GMCThe “Excellent Medical Education” Programme is a set of national prizes being established jointly by ASME and the GMC to fund high quality medical education research, development and innovation.

This is in response to recognition of the need for further research-based evidence related to medical education and training, through supporting capacity building and increasing the volume of high quality medical education research. Applications using quantitative or qualitative, established or innovative methods will be welcome. Further information will be available from the ASME website closer to the launch at the ASME Annual Scientific Meeting in Brighton in July 2014. However, we are providing this initial summary so that interested individuals and organisations have additional time to begin to consider potential projects which they may wish to submit in one or more of the three categories.

All ASME members who are based in the UK will be eligible to apply, provided their organisation is capable of fulfilling the role of a research sponsor (e.g. an NHS organisation, academic institution). Submissions for awards will open on 17th July 2014. The online application form will be accessible via the ASME website from this date. The deadline for the first year’s applications will be 17th December 2014.

ASME and the GMC do not intend to name specific topic areas and welcome applications on a wide range of issues, across the continuum of medical education:

• Undergraduate
• Postgraduate
• Continuing Professional Development

Three prizes will be available, one linked to each of these stages of medical education. The programme is intended to support research which is related to the innovation, development, implementation and sustainability of excellent medical education which has an impact at either the individual (medical students, doctors in training, SAS doctors and consultants, and/or patients) or systems level (e.g. informing or leading to organisational change).

Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

• Evidence that the project links directly with GMC education priorities
• Clarity as to the aims and objectives of the work
• Coherence between the aims and objectives, and the approach or methods used to measure and/or report outcomes
• Demonstrated outcomes/outputs for medical students, doctors, education and training programmes, including identification of key drivers for success/failure. Potential trajectory to patient benefit will also be considered as an outcome criterion
• Targets/outcomes, and if reached/achieved
• Evaluation of process as well as outcome(s) (i.e. why it worked as well as “it worked”)
• Evidence as to whether or not the work has maintained momentum, or details of how successful candidates would use the prize funding to further extend the project

Pfizer to visit Imperial College on 24 June

pfizer_logo_detailMichael Skynner (Pfizer) will be in the Commonwealth Building, Hammersmith Campus on 24 June at 11am to 1pm and available for informal ad hoc discussions on any aspect relating to rare disease research and the Rare Disease Consortium (RDC). This is an opportunity for you to simply meet with Michael or to discuss, in a non-confidential and informal setting, ideas for drug discovery projects at any stage of progression that could form the basis for future interactions between Imperial College London and Pfizer. There will be a formal sign-up sheet containing 20 minute bookable slots (please express preferred time slot to Vjera Magdalenic-Moussavi) and in addition there will be an open drop in session between 1pm and 2pm.

About the Rare Disease Consortium agreement (RDC): The agreement is the first of its kind and enables scientists from the GMEC partners; University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Queen Mary University London, University College London and University of Oxford to work with Pfizer scientists on joint drug discovery programmes. Bringing together the scientific and clinical excellence of the Universities and Academic Health Science Centres in the GMEC cluster with the drug discovery and development skills of Pfizer will accelerate the translation of basic science into drugs for patients.

Dr Vjera Magdalenic-Moussavi
Corporate and Enterprise Partnerships Manager
Faculty of Medicine

Fourteen outstanding Master’s Scholars Imperial-bound

From a very strong field of 300 applicants, fourteen outstanding students have been awarded Scholarships by the Faculty of Medicine to support their Master’s study and research when they join Imperial in October. Dean’s Scholarships covering fees and a £17,500 stipend were awarded to four exceptional applicants (one home, one EU student and two overseas), while a further ten outstanding students received Faculty Scholarships of £17,500. Of these, two were home students, three EU and five overseas. Many congratulations to our Scholars (listed below).

masters schols“I haven’t been this happy in my life, or maybe I just forgot this level of happiness”
“Thank you very much for this generous support towards my education – I feel short of words to express my gratitude for this award”
“I’m so honoured to have been chosen by the Faculty of Medicine. I appreciate and am humbled by their confidence in my abilities”

Scholars are taking programmes across our Master’s portfolio of 31 courses, from MRes  degrees in Experimental Neuroscience, Cancer Biology, Biomedical Research & Clinical Research (Diabetes & Obesity), through science MSc programmes in Immunology, Human Molecular Genetics, Molecular Medicine, Epidemiology and Paediatrics, to an MEd in Surgical Education and a Master’s in Public Health (Global Health).

masters degsThe awards were the culmination of an e-mail and poster advertising campaign which has seen Master’s applicant numbers increase by 22% over the same time last year, and overseas numbers by 34%.  Many thanks to our very photogenic 2013-14 scholars (in last year’s precursor to the current scheme), who generously agreed to grace the posters, and to PGT Administrator Jim Osborne for designing them.

The success of the scheme meant an enormous amount of work to score 300 detailed online  applications, shortlist 30 candidates for interview, Skype interview each, and decide who would get the Dean’s and who the Faculty awards.  This was made possible with the generous help of Laki Buluwela, Kirsten Dalrymple, Andrew Edwards, Dan Elson, Christine Franey, Gary Frost, Steve Gentleman, Mick Jones, Birgit Leitinger, Mark Sullivan and Ernesto Yague.  Many thanks to everyone.

Awarded Dean’s Scholarships: Louise Kenny (Surgical Education), Auste Kanapeckaite (Molecular Medicine), Iva Filipovic (Immunology), Jennifer Martin (Human Molecular Genetics)

Awarded Faculty Scholarships: Patricio Alzaraz Couret (Paediatrics), Emily Barnes (Cancer Biology), Mei Ran Abellona U (Biomedical Research), Madeleine Hurry (Experimental Neuroscience), Lakshmi Regnier Cadavieco (Molecular Medicine), Viktoriya Nilolova (Experimental Neuroscience), Alison Ower (Epidemiology), Petros Christofides (Epidemiology), Robin Schafer (Public Health – Global Health) and Gala Farooq (Clinical Research – Diabetes & Obesity).

Dr Jane Saffell Faculty of Medicine Academic Lead for PG Courses

Imperial Confidence in Concept (ICiC) Scheme Awards Funding to 23 projects

The Faculty is delighted to report the outcome of the second Imperial Confidence in Concept (ICiC) competition to support the College-wide development of novel devices, diagnostics and therapeutics for areas of unmet clinical need. A fund in excess of £1.2million was made available from the MRC (Confidence in Concept fund), NIHR Imperial BRC, Imperial Innovations, Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund and as well as support from NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research. The ICiC scheme provides vital pilot funding to bridge the potential gap between discovery research and well-developed applications for MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme / Developmental Clinical Studies Funding Scheme support.

The Panel, including external members and chaired by Professor Roberto Solari (NHLI), was delighted with the high quality and wide range of applications. Examples of the breadth of funded proposals include: ‘A wearable sensor for fetal movement’ (Nowlan), ‘Towards a compact proton irradiator for in vitro radiobiological studies’ (Posocco), ‘Donor TCRVa24 iNKT cells in the prevention pf acute-graft-versus-host disease in allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplantation’ (Karadimitris), ‘Intranasal diagnostics in food allergy: a feasibility study (INDY project)’ (Turner) and ‘The development of highly specific SIRT2 inhibitors as a novel treatment for Parkinson’s disease’ (Fuchter). We are also pleased to announce two co-funded projects with our colleagues at the NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and ICR from Drs Ed Tate (ICL) and Bissan Al-Lazikani (ICR) and Professors Bob Brown (ICL) and David Cunningham (ICR).

The investigators who will receive awards of up to £70,000 are:

Dr Jake Baum (PI) & Dr Keith Willison (Departments of Life Sciences & Chemistry)
Professor Maria Belvisi (PI) & Dr Mark Birrell (NHLI)
Dr Paul Bentley (PI) & Professor Etienne Burdet (Departments of Medicine & Bioengineering)
Professors Bob Brown & David Cunningham (PIs), Dr Irene Chong, Dr Naureen Starling, Dr Ian Chau, Dr Sheela Rao, Dr David Watkins (Department of Surgery & Cancer, ICL and The GI Unit, Institute of Cancer Research)
Professor Tony Cass (PI) & Dr Sanjiv Sharma (Department of Chemistry)
Dr Robert Dickinson (PI) & Professor Nicholas Franks (Departments of Surgery & Cancer and Life Sciences)
Dr Andrew Edwards (PI), Professor David Holden, Dr Thomas Webb, & Dr Dominic Marshall (Department of Medicine)
Dr Dan Elson (PI), Dr Neil Clancy, & Professor George Hanna (Department of Surgery & Cancer)
Dr Matthew Fuchter (PI), Professor David Dexter, Professor Michael Sternberg, & Professor Eric Lam (Departments of Chemistry, Medicine, Life Sciences and Surgery & Cancer)
Professor Roger Gunn (PI), Dr William Hallett, Dr Jonathan Howard, & Dr Philip Noonan (Department of Medicine)
Professor Anastasios Karadimitris (PI) & Dr Aristeidis Chaidos (Department of Medicine)
Dr Mauritius Kleijnen (Department of Medicine)
Dr Spyros Masouros (PI), Professor Jonathan Clasper, & Professor Justin Cobb (Departments of Bioengineering and Surgery & Cancer)
Dr Thomas McKinnon (PI) & Professor Mike Laffan (Department of Medicine)
Professor James Moore Jr (Department of Bioengineering)
Dr Niamh Nowlan (PI), Dr Ravi Vaidyanathan, Professor Alison McGregor, & Mr Martin Lupton (Departments of Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Surgery & Cancer)
Professor Nicholas Peters (PI) & Dr Chris Cantwell (NHLI)
Dr Piero Posocco (PI), Dr Jurgen Pozimski, Dr Matthew Williams, Dr Nelofer Syed (Departments of Physics, Surgery & Cancer, and Medicine)
Dr Robert Snelgrove (NHLI)
Professor Molly Stevens (PI), Professor Michael Levin, & Dr Philip Howes (Departments of Materials and Medicine)
Dr Ed Tate (PI), Professor Bissan Al-Lazikani, and Professor Julian Blagg (Department of Chemistry, ICL and Cancer Therapeutics Unit, Institute of Cancer Research)
Dr Paul Turner (PI), Professor John Warner, Dr Robert Boyle, & Dr Claudia Gore (Department of Medicine)
Professor Ramesh Wigneshweraraj (PI), Professor Steve Matthews, & Dr Serge Mostowy (Departments of Medicine and Life Sciences)

Dr Kimberley Trim
Research Strategy Officer
Faculty of Medicine

Longitude Prize 2014 launched

The BBC launched the Longitude Prize 2014 on Monday 19 May, announcing the six challenge themes:

  • Flight – low carbon
  • Food security – nutritious, sustainable
  • Antibiotics resistance
  • Paralysis – assistive tech/neuro advances etc
  • Water – clean, safe access etc
  • Dementia – assistive tech etc

£10M is available over 5 years to demonstrate proof of concept and ability to scale. All of the 6 challenge themes map to Imperial activities and expertise! 

Tony Hall, Lord Rees Brian Cox, Kevin Fong and Attenborough were all there to launch the Prize. Lord Rees Chairs the committee which has short-listed the six themes.

The Longitude Prize 2014 has been set up by the BBC, Nesta and the TSB, to mark 300 years since the (original) Longitude Prize.

Find out more about the challenges: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27425224

Details were broadcast on the One Show and on a special Horizon episode (celebrating 50 years of Horizon), after which, voting opened. The nation gets to vote on the six challenge areas, with only the most popular being tackled. The chosen theme will be announced 25 June.

Dr Claire Thorne
Executive Coordinator to Professor David Gann CBE, Vice President (Development and Innovation)

Webinar: Regimen Design and Dosing for Children with DR-TB: A Case-Based Discussion

Dr James Seddon, Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Medicine,  co-presented a webinar entitled “Regimen Design and Dosing for Children with Drug-Resistant TB: A Case-Based Discussion” that was organized by the Sentinel Project for Paediatric Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, on Friday April 25 2014.

A new five-year graduate medicine programme from 2015-16

After much consideration and discussion, the School of Medicine has taken the decision that it will no longer offer a four-year graduate entry programme with effect from 2015-16.

The new five-year programme

Graduate students will instead be able to apply for a more tailored, five-year programme with exemption from the BSc honours year.

This decision was taken in the light of the 2012 Graduate Entry review, student feedback about the intensity of the programme and the lack of opportunities to pursue research and scholarship, and the potential of full registration with the GMC being conferred on graduation, which would mean a four-year programme does not meet the requisite training hours to meet current EU requirements.

More information about this new programme will be provided in due course.

Chris Harris
Quality and Educational Development Manager
Faculty Education Office (Medicine)