Blog posts

Holographic Assisted Lecturing in Orthopaedics


Dr Kapil Sugand graduated from Imperial College in 2010 with an intercalated BSc in Surgery and Anaesthesia. Alongside his clinical training, Dr Sugand is currently pursuing a PhD in surgical trauma simulation and educational technology under the supervision of Mr Gupte and Professor Cobb in the MSk Lab. As part of his studies, he is currently conducting research with multi-disciplinary team within a number of multimedia modalities to train safer surgeons and to ultimately enhance patient safety. He is the Co-Founder and Co-chair of the Holography Assisted Medical Learning and E-Teaching (HAMLET) group which has created quite a media buzz due to the innovative ground breaking research and has been covered by:

Partnership for Child Development July update

WFP, World Bank & PCD launch first of its kind report in US

Approximately 169 developing and developed countries invest in school feeding programmes worldwide, an investment which equates to approximately US$ 75 billion, and which for the most part comes from government budgets.

This was just one key finding from the recently published report, State of School Feeding Worldwide, which provides for the first time a global picture and analysis of school feeding programmes, and which was officially launched in the US yesterday, by WFP, World Bank and Partnership for Child Development (PCD).

Speaking on the report’s significance lead author Carmen Burbano said, “The report provides the first ever map of school feeding showing that most countries around the world, whether in high, low or middle income countries are implementing school feeding as a social safety net in times of crisis”.

Find out more.

9th African School Health and Nutrition (SHN) Course

Partnership for Child Development (PCD) recently co-organised the 9th African School Health and Nutrition (SHN) Course, where over 50 attendees inclusive of representatives from ministries of health, education, agriculture, gender and social development across 12 African countries were hosted by the Ghanaian Government to focus on best practice in SHN programme interventions.

Comprehensive SHN programmes address challenges negatively impacting on child health, such interventions include HIV/AIDS prevention, malaria and parasitic worm treatment, control and prevention, and nutritional deficiencies such as iron-deficient anaemia and short-term hunger through school feeding. Throughout the course these intervention areas were focused on through a range of presentations, break-out sessions, expertly facilitated lectures and field visits.

Useful course links

Charlotte Broyd
Website and Communications Assistant
Partnership for Child Development

A role for a tumour suppressor in prostate gland architecture

Disorganised region of a prostate gland
Disorganised region of a prostate gland from a Dkk-3 mutant mouse showing E-cadherin in green, ZO1 in red and nuclei in blue

Researchers from the Department of Surgery and Cancer have uncovered a novel link between the tumour suppressor Dickkopf-3 (Dkk-3) and TGF-β signalling. The team previously found that Dkk-3 is required for human prostate epithelial cells to form acinar structures in 3D matrigel cultures; an in vitro model for prostate gland development.

This new study, carried out in collaboration with the Centre for Cooperative Research in Biosciences (CIC bioGUNE) in Bilbao and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, shows that Dkk-3 limits epithelial cell proliferation in 3D cultures and during mouse prostate gland development. It is well known that TGF-β signals go awry during cancer progression; switching from tumour suppression to tumour promotion. This study shows that loss of Dkk-3 activates TGF-β signalling – inhibition of which rescues the 3D phenotype.

The results provide further support and rationale for the use of TGF-β inhibitors to treat prostate cancer. They may also be relevant to other cancers, such as those of the breast and the ovary, where similar changes in Dkk-3 and the TGF-β response take place. The studies at Imperial were carried out by Diana Romero and Yoshiaki Kawano, now at Kumamoto University in Japan, and were funded by a Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Project Grant awarded to Robert Kypta and Jonathan Waxman.

The work is published in the Journal of Cell Science.

Dr Robert M Kypta
Lecturer in Prostate Cancer
Department of Surgery & Cancer

The Faculty of Medicine’s winners at the first Student Academic Choice Awards

SACASInnovation and tutoring in the Faculty of Medicine were recognised in the first annual Student Academic Choice Awards (SACAs).

Faculty winners

Congratulations go to:

These awards are a first for academics and support staff, nominated and chosen entirely by students. The awards are designed to celebrate and reward good teaching and emphasise teaching as a skill of equal worth and value as research.

The long term aim of these annual awards is to build a community and ownership of the courses being delivered. It is also a chance for students to say ‘thank you’ to teaching staff.

Our congratulations are extended to all of the nominees. The full list can be seen at https://www.imperialcollegeunion.org/academicchoice

The UK Technology Strategy Board

Kerry Clough, Corporate Partnerships Manager (Medicine)
Kerry Clough, Corporate Partnerships Manager (Medicine)

The UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is a funding organisation which Imperial has arguably underutilised in recent years, and for any of our scientists seeking collaborations with industry they are an excellent source of potential leverage funding. The TSB launched its 2013-14 Delivery Plan in May. In their role as the UK’s innovation agency they have a budget of £440m over the next year to help accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. They will establish and implement national technology strategies in the priority areas which include energy, transport, health, digital, space, biosciences, IT, high value manufacturing and advanced materials.

TSB awarded over 60% of their R&D investment to small and medium-sized enterprises during the last year and ran more than 70 competitions for R&D funding, offering grants to over 1,000 organisations. In 2013-14 they plan to launch around 75 more competitions across the priority themes, committing almost £300m. They are working with more than 4,900 companies and 150 research organisations, including 110 universities and all of their 7 so-called Catapult centres (world-leading centres of innovation in their field of expertise) will become operational in 2013.

Kerry Clough
Corporate Partnerships Manager
Faculty of Medicine

President and Rector’s Awards and Medals 2013

Awards for Excellence in Teaching are presented annually to members of academic staff judged to have been most outstanding in the quality, organisation and presentation of their teaching. Of the award winners up to four may be selected to receive a President & Rector’s Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Excellence.

There were a total of 8 recipients from the Faculty of Medicine, listed below.

President & Rector’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching:

Professor Karim Meeran – Department of Medicine

Dr Uta Griesenbach – NHLI

President & Rector’s Medals for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Excellence:

Professor Jenny Higham – Faculty of Medicine

Professor John Laycock – Department of Medicine

President & Rector’s Award for Excellence in Research Supervision:

Dr Ken MacLeod – NHLI

A President & Rector’s Medal for Excellence in Research Supervision is awarded to:

Dr Jane Davies – NHLI

President & Rector’s Award for Excellence in Supporting the Student Experience:

Mr Griffin Ryder – Faculty of Medicine

President & Rector’s Medal for Supporting the Student Experience:

Ms Susan English – Faculty of Medicine

 

View a full list of recipients of President and Rector’s Awards and Medals.

Fully Funded PhD Scholarships – Applications Now Open

We have just opened applications for two separate PhD scholarships, aiming to recruit a total of 8 students in total. The deadline for applicants is 10 July 2013 for all scholarships. Please distribute to all your masters students and encourage those who are suitable to apply by completing the relevant online application form available online, via the links below.

5 x FoM Dean’s PhD Scholarships

3 x MRC DTA PhD Studentships

Please contact me if you have any queries regarding the scholarships and do not hesitate to pass on my details to your students, for any queries.

Nousheen Tariq
Postgraduate Manager
FEO – Faculty Education Office

Invitation to Imperial College Healthcare Charity Concert: 25 July 2013

An evening concert has been organised on Thursday, 25 July in support of the Imperial College Healthcare Charity.

After three weeks of applications and two weeks of auditions, some of the best musicians from Imperial College and Royal Academy of Music have been chosen to perform for you.

Tickets are priced at just £10 and include welcome drinks. Additional donations are welcome. All proceeds will be go towards improving the quality of patient care and safety for NHS hospitals.

The concert website is available at http://www.ruzannagulakyan.wix.com/musicforthesoul, where you can find out information about the programme, musicians, venue, registrations and more.

If you have any questions about the concert, please contact Ruzanna Gulakyan.

Ruzanna Gulakyan
Hamlyn Centre Administrator
Department of Surgery and Cancer

Imperial Confidence in Concept Scheme Awards Funding to 19 Projects

Building on the success of the 2012 Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)/Imperial Innovations Therapeutic Primer Fund of £250,000, the College received £700,000 funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to establish an Imperial Confidence in Concept (ICiC) Scheme. Funding for projects was also sourced from the CLAHRC and College’s Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund to create a total fund in excess of one million pounds.  This fund has been used to identify early targets, not currently being developed, within the Faculties of Medicine, Natural Sciences and Engineering, to enter into the drug, devices and diagnostics development pathway.

The ICiC fund combines the Imperial NIHR BRC/Imperial Innovations Therapeutic Primer Fund that promotes the discovery and development of therapeutics for areas of unmet medical need, and pump-primes the early stages of drug/therapeutic discovery with the MRC ‘Confidence in Concept’ scheme that helps to pump-prime the translation of novel therapeutics, devices and diagnostics, including repurposing of existing therapies toward clinical testing.

Additional funds were sourced from the CLAHRC and ISSF to support two extra projects.  The Northwest London CLAHRC (NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care) is an alliance of academic and healthcare organisations working to develop and promote a more efficient, accelerated and sustainable uptake of clinically innovative and cost-effective research interventions into patient care.  The Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) is a awarded to Imperial College from Wellcome Trust to support our researchers and to stimulate inter-disciplinary research.   The ISSF supports a range of College-wide schemes that connect our excellent research capabilities in order to address the Wellcome Trust Research Challenges.

The ICiC scheme has been designed to provide 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 scheme was launched at a briefing event on the 28th February this year, with 70 expressions of Interest being submitted to the panel. Out of the seventy expressions of interest received, 27 were shortlisted and 19 were awarded funding at the final meeting in May 2013. The panel was chaired by Professor Roberto Solari, who was delighted with the high quality and wide range of applications.

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

Dr Euan Stronach (Surgery & Cancer)

Dr Georgios Giamas (Surgery & Cancer)

Professor Charles Coombes (Surgery & Cancer)

Dr Michael Edwards (NHLI)

Professor Anita Simonds (NHLI)

Dr Gregory Quinlan (NHLI)

Dr Robert Snelgrove (NHLI)

Professor Michael Schneider (NHLI)

Dr Mohamed Shamji (NHLI)

Dr Uta Griesenbach (NHLI)

Dr Ramesh Wigneshweraraj (Dept. of Medicine)

Professor Mark Thursz (Dept. of Medicine)

Dr Nick Oliver (Dept. of Medicine)

Dr Prapa Kanagaratnam (Dept. of Medicine)

Professor Simon Taylor-Robinson (Dept. of Medicine)

Professor Shiranee Sriskandan (Dept. of Medicine)

Professor Nicholas Long (Chemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences)

Dr Pau Herrero Vinas (Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering)

Professor Molly Stevens (Materials, Faculty of Engineering)

 

Hannah Dolby
Business Operations Trainee
Faculty of Medicine

Faculty of Medicine Year 5 MBBS students issued iPads

There was a buzz outside the Drewe Lecture Theatre on Wednesday 5 June, as Year 5 Medical students gathered to collect their brand-new iPad Minis. Once all the iPads were handed out, Mr Martin Lupton, Deputy Director of Education, gave a welcome to the iPad pilot project followed by an introduction and demonstrations by Dr Maria Toro-Troconis, E-learning Strategy and Development Manager, and Mr Taylor Bennie, Learning Technologist.

The demonstrations were focused on all the activities the students will be able to do on their iPads, including:

  • Access to all learning materials via Blackboard Learn, being able to annotate and carry their notes wherever they go. The School has bought two apps for students: iAnnotate (which allows students to annotate documents in different formats) and Puffin, an Internet browser that allows students to render Flash content on their iPads.
  • Access to iBooks for different clinical attachments being able to record reflections.
  • Access to some sign-off forms (DOPS) on their iPads allowing clinical teachers to assess students and submit the DOPS to the Faculty Education Office electronically, keeping a record on the students’ iPads.
  • Access virtual clickers on their iPads via the Virtual G-Pad App allowing instant feedback during lectures.
  • Access to eBooks from the library.

After the demonstrations, Mr Jon Arntzen from ICT helped students set up all the iPads on the Imperial Mobile Device Management System, AirWatch, which will allow the eLearning team to push Apps to the students’ iPads, reset passcodes and wipe out all the information on any device that gets lost or stolen.

The Medical School will be also issuing iPad Minis to Year 6 MBBS students on 22nd July 2013. The pilot will run for two years finishing in 2015/16. The iPads will be returned to the Faculty of Medicine at the end of the pilot.

For further information on the iPad pilot please contact: webmaster.feo@imperial.ac.uk #iPadImperialFoM

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

Medical Education Special Interest Group

The Medical Education Specialist Interest Group (MESIG) is a discussion group for anyone actively involved in teaching, curriculum development or education research across the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College. MESIG meets once a month to hear from expert speakers, share experiences and offer support and advice for your educational projects. We meet in an informal atmosphere where you can discuss the latest thinking in education, ask for advice on ethics approval or funding for your research project, or simply listen to our expert speakers. We know that you are busy and so rotate the times and venues of meetings each month, to allow as many people to attend as possible.

If you are interested in joining the MESIG mailing list, please contact Dr Graham Easton or Jo Horsburgh, or visit the MESIG website for more information.

Jo Horsburgh
Senior Teaching Fellow in Medical Education
Educational Development Unit

Partnership for Child Development June update

The philanthropic organisation, Dubai Cares recently announced the launch of its three-year integrated Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) pilot programme in Ethiopia, which is being implemented in 30 schools over three years to address the school health and nutrition (SHN) needs of approximately 30,700 primary school age children.

An Integrated Programme

The pilot is being carried out through a partnership formed by Partnership for Child Development (PCD), Imperial College London, Ethiopia Health and Nutrition Research Institute, World Food Programme, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, and SNV-Netherlands. Through this collaboration, various aspects are contributed to the programme; in addition to in-school meals prepared from locally sourced commodities, components of Deworming treatment and Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) in schools have also been included.

Iain Gardiner, East Africa Regional Coordinator for PCD, said, “The Dubai Cares funded HGSF programme is a leading example of how different stakeholders can effectively pool their expertise to make a real impact on the health, education and wealth of children and farming communities in Ethiopia”.

Read more about the HGSF programme on the Schools and Health website.

Government of Ghana host 9th African SHN Course

This month the Government of Ghana are hosting the 9th African School Health and Nutrition (SHN) Course where representatives from ministries of health, education, gender and social development, SHN experts, civil society and academics from 13 African countries will gather for ten days to focus on best practice in SHN interventions.

The course, which runs from June 10 – 20 is co-organised by Partnership for Child Development, West African Centre for International Parasite Control (WACIPAC) of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, and Eastern and Southern Africa Centre of International Parasitic Control (ESACIPAC).

Dr. Irene Ayi, Head of WACIPAC and the WACIPAC’s Department of Parasitology said, “The SHN Short Course has over the years grown from strength to strength, providing an opportunity for ideas and experience exchange among policy and programme managers involved in school health and school feeding interventions from the various countries in attendance. Such interventions have been shown to improve the health and academic performance of school-age children”.

Continue reading

Gambia Workshop Convenes West African Experts

Government officials from ministries of agriculture, education and health representing 12 West African countries are to meet in the Gambia this week for a workshop focused on strengthening school feeding programmes linked to local agricultural production.

Workshop Director and Director of Basic and Secondary Education in the Gambia, Mrs Amicoleh Mbaye said, “Having the various personalities from 12 different countries come together is a clear manifestation of government commitment to school feeding programme ownership using the multi-sectoral approach”.

Continue reading

 

Charlotte Broyd
Website and Communications Assistant
Partnership for Child Development

Reinstallation of St Mary’s Murals

Two murals which were removed during refurbishment work in 2003 have been finally reinstalled in the entrance lobby of St Mary’s Medical School Building. They were unveiled by Dermot Kelleher, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, at a ceremony at St Mary’s on June 11th, 2013.

One, by Faye Carey who was the creator of several art works in London hospitals, celebrates the work of four distinguished scientists who had worked at St Mary’s : Augustus Waller, Almroth Wright, Alexander Fleming and Rodney Porter. This mural was originally unveiled on 12th October, 1992 by Sir Roger de Grey, then the president of the Royal College of Arts.

Faye Carey mural

The other, by the distinguished artist, Jacqueline Rizvi, shows the sporting and cultural activities of the St Mary’s student body. This was originally unveiled on the 27th April, 1993 by the Right Honourable Christopher Chataway M.P. who had been a world record breaking athlete and a pacemaker during Sir Roger Bannister’s first sub four minute mile in 1954. Sir Roger, then a consultant neurologist at St Mary’s was also present at that original ceremony.

Jacqueline Rizvi

Also present on June 11th was Emeritus Professor Leslie Brent. As chairman of the St Mary’s Art Committee in 1990 Professor Brent had raised £45,000 to pay for the murals from several sponsors : the Royal Academy of Arts, the Foundation for Sport and the Arts and the Edward Austen Abbey Memorial Trust Fund for Mural Painting in Great Britain.

During the ten years since the murals’ removal to storage Professor Brent has worked tirelessly to have them restored, with unfailing support from Anne Barrett, Imperial College Archivist and Corporate Records Manager, and from Tim Orson, specialist art restorer.

Dermot Kelleher described the genesis and history of the murals and paid tribute to those who had worked so hard to restore them to their rightful place. He believed the depicted achievements which had inspired the artists would continue to be an inspiration to today’s and future medical students. Tim Orson then described the technicalities of the restoration and said it had been a privilege to work with such rare and beautiful materials.

Nigel Palmer
Librarian, St Mary’s, 1972-2002

Itchy Sneezy Wheezy update

Professor John Warner
Professor John Warner
Rachel Griffin
Rachel Griffin

The Itchy Sneezy Wheezy project, or ISW,  is a primary care led project funded by CLAHRC to develop case management of patients with chronic diseases such as asthma and allergies. ISW is coordinated and administered by Professor John Warner (Professor of Paediatrics at Imperial College) and Rachel Griffin (Children’s Advanced Nurse Practitioner – Integrated Care), who has been seconded to Imperial College by CLAHRC to run the integrated care pathways project.

ISW’s work was recently profiled in the London Evening Standard, where one parent, Mrs Blagg-Reeves, was quoted as saying:  “I’m just so glad the clinic was around. If it can help other mothers not feel like a disappointment to their child because they can’t help him or her, then that’s good.”

ISW was also shortlisted for Child Health Team of the Year in the 2013 BMJ Awards, which took place on the 9th May.

Jane Webb
Department Secretary – Paediatrics
Department of Medicine

Partnership for Child Development update

Events


Bill Gates talks school feeding with Ghanaian farmers, teachers and caterers

During his first ever visit to Ghana, Bill Gates joined the Partnership for Child Development to talk with smallholder farmers, teachers and caterers to better understand the issues and opportunities presented by Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programmes. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have been supporting the development of government-led, HGSF programmes since 2009. These nationally owned programmes enable schools to procure the ingredients for their school meals from local smallholder farmers. The benefits of programmes, such as Ghana’s School Feeding Programme (GSFP), are felt by the school child and farmer alike with school children getting free nutritious hot meals whilst the farmer gets access to a regular market, providing a win-win for both education and economic development.

Find out more.

 

Dubai Cares visits Ghana

PCD recently accompanied a Dubai Cares team visit to Ghana who carried out a number of field visits to monitor and evaluate aspects of the GSFP they are supporting through PCD. This support is focused on improving the nutritional quality of food in school meals and consists of three key components: community sensitization, providing advice to farmers and a deworming programme.

 

The second annual School Health and Nutrition (SHN) course in Southeast Asia

The second annual SHN course was held in Laos between 13–20 February 2013. Hosted by the Laos Ministries of Health and Education and supported by PCD, the Japan Consortium for Global School Health Research and Mahidol University, the course trained 40 participants drawn from governments, development partners and SHN organisations from 11 Asian countries in the region.

Download course information and presentations.

Programme Implementation

 

Botswana Case Study Report launch

Botswana’s National School Feeding Programme: A Case Study and Transition Report was officially launched by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development at a meeting in February. This was attended by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and PCD. Participants also agreed to a launch of the HGSF programme on 19 April 2013.

Download Botswana’s National School Feeding Programme: A Case Study.

 

Dental health and hygiene programme, Osun State, Nigeria

A total of 90 school health promoters and 966 teachers from 322 schools were trained as part of a pilot programme to improve the hygiene, dental health and nutrition practices of 90,000 children in Osun State. The programme is being implemented by the Osun State Government, in partnership with PCD and UNILEVER.

 

Nigeria’s NTD master plan launch

PCD helped to support the launch of a new five year implementation plan for the control and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Nigeria. The plan, which targets 10 NTDs, has an approved budget of US$307 m and will treat over 60 million people annually over the next five years.

Publications

 

Worms wisdom and wealth published

Worms, wisdom, and wealth: Why deworming can make economic sense.” A joint article by PCD, World Bank and the University of Washington was published in Trends in Parasitology. The article examines the effects of deworming on child development, health and economic returns.

 

Are school food programmes in low-income settings sustainable? accepted for publication

A PCD paper, “Are school food programmes in low-income settings sustainable? Insights on the costs of school feeding compared to investments in primary education”, was recently accepted for publication by the Food and Nutrition Bulletin. The paper analyses the costs of school feeding and the cost relative to education expenditure and other measures of economic growth using data from high, low and middle countries.

 

Miss Charlotte Broyd
Website and Communications Assistant
School of Public Health

Department of Medicine Young Scientist Day 2013

The Department of Medicine held its third annual Young Scientist Day (details of the 2012 young scientist day), chaired by Professor Wendy Barclay, on 24 April 2013. The event attracted large numbers of research students, postdocs and academic staff who had the unique opportunity to hear and see the range of research being undertaken across the Department.

Over 70 posters were displayed by research students in their 2nd and 3rd years from across the Department. Two Departmental panels of judges, comprising academic staff (Dr Kevin Murphy, Professor Julian Dyson and Dr Ramesh Wigneshweraraj) and Student Reps (Nathali Grageda, Lauren Capron, William Jackson and Ming-Shih Hwang), judged the posters.

The event was formally opened at 1400 by Professor Shiranee Sriskandan. Professor Sriskandan informed everyone of recent grant successes of the Department’s PhD students and Post Docs as follows:

3 successful Junior Research Fellow (JRF) applications, 2013:

  • Christopher Rhodes
  • Kathleen McCaffrey
  • Claire Turner

2 MRC Centenary Awards, 2013:

  • Nicki Lynskey
  • Anna Simmonds

Miscellaneous Awards:

  • Paul Turner (Post Doc), Paediatrics, successful in acquiring an MRC clinician/scientist award
  • Kelsey Jones (PhD student), Paediatrics, currently in the 3rd year of his PhD research based in Kenya, obtained a Gates foundation grant. This is to institute a trial of an innovative nutritional reconstitution formula for severely malnourished children.
  • Ben Bleasdale, PhD student, Virology, won 1st prize for his scientific essay in the Royal College of Science Unions Science Challenge, 2013. He was presented with his prize at the House of Lords by Lord Winston.
  • Moira Cheung, PhD student, Molecular Endocrinology, won the 2013 International Conference on Children’s Bone Health New Investigator Award
  • Apostolos Gogakos, PhD student, Molecular Endocrinology, won the  2013 British Endocrine Societies British Thyroid Association Prize
  • John Logan, Post Doc, Molecular Endocrinology, awarded  a £10,000 Society for Endocrinology Early Career Award in 2012/2013

Professor Barclay expertly Chaired the afternoon, introducing the postdocs’ high quality scientific presentations. The floor was handed to five postdocs who had been selected to orally present their research:

  • Nicki Lynskey, Division of Infectious Diseases:
    A Molecular Basis for Group A Streptococcal Hyper-encapsulation
  • David Bernardo Ordiz, Division of Infectious Diseases:
    Immune compartmentalization in the gastrointestinal tract: differences between ascending and descending human colon
  • Ana Cehovin, Division of Infectious Diseases:
    Specific DNA   recognition mediated by type IV pilins
  • Anna Herasimtschuk, Division of Immunology:
    Therapeutic immunisation in conjunction with IL-2, GM-CSF and rhGH improves CD4 T-cell counts and reduces immune activation in cART-treated HIV-1+patients: a phase I clinical study
  • Amy Birch, Division of Brain Sciences:
    The ablation of reactive astrocytes in APP23 mice induces spatial memory decline & increases amyloid plaque load

Following the above oral presentations, Ms Katie Anders, from the Postdoc Development Centre, drew everyone’s attention to the  Postdoc Development Centre and the ongoing support and development opportunities it offers to postdocs. Dr Claire Turner, recently awarded a JRF, then joined Professor Barclay at the poster and oral presentation prize announcement as follows:

Prizes were given to all Post Docs who had been selected to give an oral presentation.

Post Docs with Dr Claire Turner

  • 1st prizes for posters were given to Ian Harrison, Katherine McCullough, Mark Reglinska and Korina Li
  • 2nd prizes for posters were given to Yuliya Nigmatullina and Catherine Ong

Prizes for posters

At the end of the afternoon, refreshments were served in the breakout space providing an opportunity for networking and poster viewing. Thanks go to everyone who supported this event. Special thanks to the Postdoc Development Centre for financially supporting the event. Plans are now underway to build on its strengths to ensure its continuing success on an annual basis.

Hayley Kendall
Education Research Manager
Department of Medicine

St Mary’s Library re-opens after refurbishment

Following six months of closure the St Mary’s Campus Library reopened on Monday 15 April as the Fleming Library. An official opening ceremony, hosted by Vice Dean and Director of Education in the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Jenny Higham, took place on Tuesday 14 May.

6m Euro funding for translational lung research

Professor Dame Julia Polak
Professor Dame Julia Polak

Almost 6 million Euros in EU funding has been secured by Professor Sakis Mantalaris (Department of Chemical Engineering) and Professor Dame Julia Polak (Honorary Fellow, Chemical Engineering  and Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Medicine), to support an international consortium of leading researchers within the EU, in conjunction with a German company, Novalung.

The group intends to create a wearable bio-artificial lung; AMBULUNG, for long term application in an outpatient setting. Their aims include miniaturisation of the existing device, cellularisation of the diffusion membrane with endothelial cells to reduce thrombus (blood clot) formation, and inclusion of peripheral lung cells to increase gas exchange.

Imperial College will receive a portion of the funding, which together with the generous support from the Rosetrees Trust, will unable to creation of a strong group of scientists doing both basic and translational research on lung regeneration.

Miss Sandra Lock
PA to Professor Dame Julia Polak
Department of Medicine

HELIX project kicks off

The HELIX project consortium (The Human Early-Life Exposome – novel tools for integrating early-life environmental exposures and child health across Europe), which officially began on 1st January 2013, have met for its official kickoff meeting at CREAL (Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology), Barcelona.  This EU FP7 project will exploit novel tools and methods, including omics and smartphone-based personal exposure monitoring, to characterise early-life exposure to a wide range of environmental hazards, and integrate these with data on major child health outcomes.

Researchers at Imperial, led by Dr Muireann Coen of the Department of Surgery and Cancer, will contribute to the metabolic profiling (metabonomics/metabolomics) in the project. This using high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometry (MS) analyses of biospecimens collected from multiple mother-child cohorts across Europe.

Further details can be found on the HELIX website.

Dr Toby Athersuch
Lecturer in Environmental Toxicology
School of Public Health

Blocking cells’ starvation response could help beat cancer

Degradation of intracellular material in autophagy is regulated by Armus. Armus (labelled in red) co-localises with LC3 (labelled in green) in autophagosomes destined to fuse and be degraded in lysosomes.

At home, we are all used to recycle different items, by separating them into distinct containers and sending to specialised places to be destroyed into raw materials.  Cells also do the same: they destroy unwanted material into small components that can then be recycled to obtain energy and building blocks for proteins and lipids.

A recent paper published in Developmental Cell by my group (The Braga Lab) in NHLI, investigates the mechanisms of degradation of intracellular material leading to cell survival in the absence of nutrients.

This process is called autophagy and is important in a number of pathologies, including neurodegenerative diseases (where misfolded proteins are cleared out) and survival of cancer cells inside tumours.  Stopping tumour cells from doing this would improve the effectiveness of treatments and the survival of cancer patients.   However, specific inhibitors of autophagy are still being developed that could be used in clinic.

Our lab has identified a novel regulator of autophagy named Armus.  Armus facilitates the delivery of unwanted material found in specialised packages (autophagosomes) for degradation in organelles called lysosomes.   Blocking Armus function considerably delays clearing out cellular components and autophagy progression.  Armus does so by interacting directly with LC3, a protein found at autophagosomes, which then localizes Armus at the right place and time.

Inhibiting autophagy has been shown to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy for lung and pancreatic tumours..  We found that if you stop Armus from working, the unwanted intracellular components don’t get broken down. Cells thus cannot obtain extra energy from recycling parts that helps their survival. This opens the door to developing novel drugs that targets Armus and helps conventional therapies kill cancer cells more efficiently.

Our research was funded by Cancer Research UK, the Association for International Cancer Research, the Wellcome Trust, the Brunei Government and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Dr Vania Braga
Reader in Cell-cell Adhesion Signaling, Molecular Medicine
National Heart and Lung Institute

iPad pilot launch event at the Faculty of Medicine

iPad

The Faculty of Medicine will be piloting a project issuing iPads to students in years 5 and 6 of the MBBS course at the beginning of the 2013/14 academic term.

The main learning and teaching activities planned to be delivered on iPads are:

  • All the course learning materials will be accessed via Blackboard Learn.
  • Students on placements will be able to readily and easily access learning materials and their own notes, and be able to add reflections, etc.
  • Some sign-off forms (DOPS) will be available electronically on the iPads allowing clinical teachers to assess students and submit the DOPS to the Faculty Education Office electronically, keeping a record on the students’ iPads.
  • Students will be able to participate during lectures using virtual clickers hosted on their iPads.
  • Students will access interactive iBooks in the area of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.
  • Students will be able to receive updates from different sites directly on their iPads providing a direct communication channel with clinical sites.

The iPad pilot launch event took place on 15 May 2013 .

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

Update from the WHO Collaborating Centre

MedHealth Cairo 2013 conference

Professor Salman Rawaf and Marion Chaix both recently attended the Medhealth Cairo 2013 Conference to support the healthcare sector in the Middle East. It featured workshops and lectures on various topics from leadership to quality, safety risk management & IT.

The Arab Hospitals Federation hosted the event, gathering 9 Ministers of Health on the AHF panel and discussing the “Investment in the adolescent health is the future of healthcare”. It was held simultaneously with the Arab Health Ministers Council. With participants from 16 different countries, 25 local and regional respected speakers, key decision makers and policy makers  sharing expertise and experience with the attendees, the conference was a success allowing some of the biggest buyers and users to share experiences.

The conference included workshops and interactive panel discussion in addition to keynote speeches delivered by regional and international experts. Professor Salman Rawaf delivered two workshops on situational leadership and on hospital management which were highly successful.

During Medhealth Cairo 2013, the Arab Hospitals Federation has granted awards to several personalities who have contributed in developing the healthcare sector and implemented efficient strategies aiming to raise awareness and provide the Arab citizens with high quality healthcare services.

A closing ceremony followed.

Imperial College London and WHOCC welcomes King Saud University (KSU) delegation visit, 21-22 March 2013

On the 21-22 March, the WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training at Imperial College London had the pleasure of hosting His Excellency Dr. Badran Al-Omar, the King Saud University (KSU) Rector and his accompanying senior delegation: Prof. Dr. Ahmed Bin Salem AlAmeri – Rector for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research; Dr. Abdurrehman Al-Moammar – Vice Rector for Health Specializations; Prof. Dr. Moaddi M. Almethhib – Dean of College of Business Administration; Prof. Dr. Khalid Ibrahem Alhumaizi – Dean of College of Engineering; Prof. Dr. Suleiman Alshammari – Deputy Chairman of Scientific Council of Family Medicine, Examination Committee and Health Education Center as well as Consultant of Family and Community Medicine; and Dr. Mezyad M. Alterkawi – Director of International Relations and Twinning Program at KSU, CEO of Riyadh Technology Incubation Centre as well as Associate Professor, College of Architecture and Planning.

British Federation of Women Graduates

The British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG) holds a ‘Research Presentations Day’ each year where women postgraduate students are invited to give short presentations of their research work.  Doctoral Researcher, Elizabeth Dubois, from the Department of Primary Care and Public Health, was one of eight women selected to present on her PhD thesis “Health Checks in Primary Care: Steps to Improve Population Health”.

Society for Academic Primary Care

Elizabeth was also chosen to present a poster of her PhD thesis to this year’s 42nd Annual Conference Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC) to be held at the University of Nottingham, July 2013.   The SAPC, a medical teaching society, supports high quality primary care research studies undertaken in the UK.

Advanced Iraqi  Academia Training programme

Dr Elizabeth Muir with delegates

On the 22 April 2013 the WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, welcomed a group of senior academics from across Iraq to Imperial College London.

Ranging from medicine, pharmacy, nursing and veterinary science, 14 university staff were invited, in conjunction with the Iraqi Cultural Attaché and Ministry of Higher Education for Science and Research (MoHERS), to undertake an intensive four-week training programme.  The aim of the programme was to strengthen current skills and teaching methods at an international level.  The important visit also establishes opportunity for greater collaboration between MoHERS Iraq and Imperial College.

Sourced in a rich history of medical education, Iraq was once described by the UN and the World Bank as having “first class medical facilities including well-established public health services, hospitals, primary care facilities and ample production and supply of medicine and medical equipment” (2003).  Medical education in turn, was well developed with 12 established medical schools.  Today there are now 20.

With planned visits to NICE, the BMJ/BMA, the Faculty of Public Health, PBL Learning, the Centre for Clinical Practice, St George’s Hospital and Chelsea Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, this specially tailored training programme was designed to meet their needs and offered the visiting academics a useful insight into standards of good practice to share with academic colleagues back home in Iraq.

The 1st Arab World Conference on Public Health “Towards Excellence in Public Health: Opportunities and Challenges in the Arab World”, 4-6 April 2013 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Doctoral Researcher, Elizabeth Dubois, and Research Assistant, Dr Sondus Hassounah from the Department of Primary Care and Public Health, WHO Collaborating Centre were chosen to present their posters at the 1st Arab World Conference on Public Health held in Dubai this past April. Their topics were: ‘Health Checks in Primary Care: Steps to Improve Population Health’ and ‘Challenges & Solutions: The Case of Egypt’s Health System Performance’ respectively.

 

This update was prepared by Ela Augustyniak, WHO Collaborating Centre.