Blog posts

Virtual learning in medicine

Dave Taylor, Programme Lead, Virtual Worlds and Medical Media, and Robin Winter, 3D Interactive Designer, recently won the “design our avatar” competition.

You both work in the Medical Media and Design Laboratory (MMDL) at St Mary’s, within the Department of Surgery and Cancer. What work goes on within your lab?

The lab provides consultancy and development services, and helps to support the Department’s research in use of virtual worlds for healthcare. Our applications range from hospital and service design planning, to major incident simulations for assessing communication and leadership skills. We work with other researchers in our Department, to make use of the latest research in behavioural science and the provision of information for patients in the NHS. Our most recent work focuses on the ability to walk through and test the design of a clinic and its services before it is even built. And we are beginning to work with specific patient communities, and researching more effective ways to help people lead healthier lives. There is an overview of some of our work in the Imperial Media library: http://www2.imperial.ac.uk/imedia/content/view/2084/new-media-and-healthcare-avatars-virtual-worlds-and-apps and in a BBC programme about our major incident simulations: http://www.rockhopper.tv/programmes/619/

Picture: a photo of the Virtual Imperial Surgical Innovation Centre, based on the Paterson Centre in South Wharf Road on a misty day.

How is Second Life contributing towards student learning?

(more…)

Twitter avatar competition winner

The Winning EntryThe Twitter avatar competition, launched back in December 2011, has now closed. The Faculty would like to thank all those who entered.

The entries were judged by Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor, Principal of the Faculty of Medicine, and Professor Jenny Higham, Deputy Principal of the Faculty of Medicine.

We are pleased to announce the winning entry (opposite) is from Dave Taylor and Robin Winter, from Medical Media and Design Laboratory (MMDL) in the Department of Surgery and Cancer, who will share the prize.

The avatar is a stylised version of the iconic image of Sir Alexander Fleming’s plate culture of the fungus Penicillium notatum; the design honours this discovery which was made whilst working at St. Mary’s (now one of the constituent medical campuses of the Faculty of Medicine).

The avatar can now be seen adorning our Twitter and Flickr pages.

We received a number of excellent entries from staff and students from around the Faculty which can be seen in the gallery below:

Faculty Fellowship Ceremony 2012

On Wednesday evening (18th of January) the Faculty of Medicine held its annual Fellowship Ceremony. Staff and students from across the Faculty gathered in the Lecture Theatre of the Sir Alexander Fleming Building to see Professor Robert Souhami CBE, Professor Averil Mansfield CBE and Dr Malcolm Skingle CBE receive Fellowships of the Faculty of Medicine – a recognition of their immense contributions to medicine and science.

Professor Souhami gave an excellent lecture entitled “The continuing legacy of the Radium Girls”. He talked about the legacy of girls in the 1920s who painted clock and watch dials with paint containing radium, licking the paintbrushes to get a sharp enough point and unfortunately swallowing the radium as they did so. At the time radium was seen as harmless, even medically beneficial. After a few years the women began to get ill with necrosis of the jaw, anaemia and later osteocarcinoma and cancer of the sinuses. It was some time before it was realised that the radium was responsible.

Their exposure also caused bone marrow failure and bone cancer at distant sites because the young women swallowed the radium paint which was partially absorbed by the gut and deposited like calcium in bones. The lecture provided a fascinating insight into the process of the medical discovery of this mechanism.The women’s exposure to radium and the illnesses they developed eventually changed US labour laws. The lecture was a fitting subject at such an occasion to underline the value of medical scientific discovery to improving people’s lives.

The evening was extremely enjoyable and it was fantastic to have the opportunity to honour three such outstanding individuals.

Dr Lyndsey Houseman
Executive Officer (Governance and Review)

Photos from the event

Photos taken by Neville Miles

L-Block visit

Members from the Faculty of Medicine visited the recently completed L-Block at the Hammersmith campus.

The new building will be a flagship facility for Imperial’s Academic Health Science Centre, integrating patient centred research with translational science activity.

Researchers in the new facilities will carry out clinical trials of new treatments and help to advance understanding of a wide range of health problems, such as heart and circulatory disease – the UKs biggest killer.

The building is due to be occupied in Q1 2012.

Photos from the visit

FoM Education – a look back at 2011

Education is a core area of our mission.  I would like to personally thank all who have contributed to any part of this agenda at either Faculty or College level.  The first of these is development of our action programme for continually improving the Student Experience.  You will have seen the messages from the Rector on this subject, and I would like to thank you for the contributions you have made to developing the Faculty’s approach  – a draft action programme has now gone forward for discussion at College level, and there will be further communication on this ongoing programme in the New Year.

Nationally, discussion is gathering pace among the UK medical schools, and with the GMC, on building stronger curricula for training the nation’s doctors through sharing of knowledge and best practice.  The Medical Schools Council Assessment Alliance [MSC-AA] was set up to look at establishing common elements of assessment practice at a national level – where sharing of knowledge and material amongst the schools is anticipated to drive up clinical quality [not that we have had a personal concern in this regard!].  One example of our input into this agenda is in the area of prescribing – research has highlighted the need for improvement in prescribing skills amongst Foundation trainees, and Imperial experience in developing learning and examination programmes in this area is helping to inform development of a national Prescribing Skills Assessment.  Other MSC-AA developments to which Imperial is contributing include a shared question bank for elements of final exams and new processes for recruitment into Foundation Year training programmes, using Situational Judgement Tests.

In terms of prizes these included, the Rector’s Award for Excellence in Supporting the Student Experience given to Dr Emma Watson, Ms Jo Williams, Ms Julia Cork and Mr Chris Harris and Dr Kevin Murphy and Professor Helen Ward received the Rector’s Award in Excellence for Teaching. This year we introduced new Awards to recognise the vital contributions made by our Personal Tutors.  Nominations were made by the students, and we were delighted to see these inaugural awards go to Dr Samia Girgis from the Department of Medicine, and Miss Elizabeth Owen, Consultant in O&G at the West Middlesex University Hospital.  We were immensely proud of Dr Matko Marlais and Dr Nishma Manek who were awarded the Gold Medal and Betuel Prizes for the best performances in Finals across all the London Medical Schools.

This year sees Dr Nicola J Rogers take up the College post of Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions; many of you will know Nicky from her extensive teaching role, and for her leadership of postgraduate education.  We have been delighted also to retain Mr Chris Harris within the Faculty; he moved from his post within the Department of Medicine to take up the role of Quality and Enhancement Manager within the Faculty Education Office.

Of course, our curricula are designed not just to create great doctors, but also outstanding scientists.  This year has seen successful implementation of the final year of the Pharmacology and Translational Medicine Science BSc. We also successfully piloted the awarding of extra ECTS[1] to pharmacology students for approved extramural activities. A new programme for the BSc in Biomedical Science has also been developed, to be led solely by the Faculty of Medicine. The programme, which was revised and re-sequenced to harness strengths from across the Faculty, has been approved by Senate with effect from 2012.

In postgraduate development – we have made significant progress working with the NWThames Foundation School to continue to develop our academic programme which provides a quality grounding in core clinical competencies, complemented by strengthened focus on academic development.  The programme brings the cohort together as a peer group during their programme and enables them to gain experience in academic activity through project work and research/education skills training.  The ultimate objective is to provide trainees with a strong academic skill-set with which to apply for Academic Clinical Fellowships and other schemes, seeding the clinical academic community of the future.

On the postgraduate research side, I am delighted to welcome Dr Laki Buluwela (Department of Surgery and Cancer) into his new role as Faculty Lead for Doctoral Degrees.  This new role will focus on ensuring a quality postgraduate research environment, maintaining an overview of all FoM doctoral provision.  With the increased focus across Research Councils [RC] on doctoral training in key strategic areas, this will be a key post in ensuring Imperial presents its strong case for continuing to attract RC doctoral funding. Read more about Laki’s ambition for the role in his own blog entry.

Finally, many thanks to all who have given their time to help with the development of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in Singapore.  This has been an intensive year and required every ounce of the leadership shown by Prof Martyn Partridge, ably assisted by Dr Naomi Low-Beer.  Senate considered a suite of paperwork setting out the plans for establishment of a joint Imperial/NTU MBBS with effect from August 2013 at its meeting last week, and I am delighted to say this has been approved.  Of course, there is plenty more to do before the first cohort arrives in 2013, but approval from Senate is a major step along the path, and a great way to close the year!  We are now at the stage of recruiting to key posts within the new School, and are pleased to announce that Prof Mike Ferenczi has taken up the post of Assistant Dean and Head of Years 1 & 2, from August 2012.  Also, Dr Katie Wynne is taking over from Dr Tanya Tierney as Head of Graduate Entry Year 1 following Tanya’s appointment as Assistant Dean, Head of Simulated Patients Programme and Communications Training and Head of Welfare.  For those that wish to follow progress there is a newsletter: http://www1.imperial.ac.uk/resources/99C81850-548E-4900-A6D8-1012392B4DEE/theleekongchianschoolofmedicinenewsletterissue4.pdf

Many thanks to all and warm wishes for an enjoyable Christmas break.

Professor Jenny Higham
Deputy Principal, Faculty of Medicine


[1] European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System

Competition: Design the FoMImperial Twitter avatar and win £50 amazon voucher

Our current avatar - the Twitter default

The Faculty of Medicine can now be found on Twitter @FoMImperial – and we want to stand out!

So, we are launching a competition for you to design the ‘avatar‘ for the Faculty. The avatar should be iconic and standout bearing in mind that there are currently around 175million twitter users. The winner will receive a £50 amazon voucher!

The avatar of our Twitter page should be recognisable and representative of the world-leading teaching and research carried out by the Faculty of Medicine here at Imperial College London.

What you need to do:

  • Design a new twitter avatar for the Faculty of Medicine which should:
    • be a maximum of 250 pixels by 250 pixels
    • be a maximum size of 700k
    • be in JPG, GIF, PNG format
    • be iconic and representative
    • stand out
    • be with or without text
    • not include the letters ‘IC’ for Imperial College
    • not be stolen (i.e. taken from another Twitter users’ page)

Examples of other Twitter avatars:

Entry:

Important:

  • You must have copyright for any images used and any proof of ownership should be provided
  • Images obtained via the Digital Image library can be used freely (https://imageslib.cc.ic.ac.uk/BMS/index.cfm)
  • No images depicting graphic medical procedures should be used
  • This avatar will also to be used as the Faculty of Medicine Flickr avatar
  • We have the right to suggest changes, within reason,  and the original files should be provided if you are successful in winning
  • You can only enter once
  • This competition is open to all staff and students from the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London – Any entries outside of the faculty will not be considered.
  • The entries will be judged by representatives from across the Faculty
  • The winner will be contacted by e-mail, and the winning entry will be formally announced via Twitter and the Faculty of Medicine website
  • The Faculty reserves the right to choose an alternative image should no appropriate avatar be identified by the review panel from entries received.

GOOD LUCK!

 

Tips:

  • Save this blank template as a starting point (Right click and choose “Save As…”)
  • You could use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to design the avatar
  • Alternatively, you could use free image editing software: Gimp

New FoM Lead for Doctoral Degrees – Dr Laki Buluwela

Laki BuluwelaDr Lakjaya (Laki) Buluwela is a Reader in Cancer Biology in the Department of Surgery and Cancer. He has been appointed to the new role of FoM Lead for Doctoral Degrees.

You’ve recently been appointed FoM Lead for Doctoral Degrees – what will this new role involve?

It is a fascinating and challenging role and I am thrilled to have been given this appointment. One of the main aims associated with the position is to ensure that we provide a quality postgraduate student experience with a particular focus on the postgraduate research environment.

I will also have an overview of all FoM Doctoral provision and act as Faculty representative on various College committees, including Graduate School committees such as the Graduate School Management Committee.

What are some of the key activities you are planning for the coming year?

I start straight away by organising and chairing the selection of prospective PhD students to be supported from the Faculty’s MRC Doctoral Training Award. This is a key event and I will be working hard to recruit more of the exceptional research talent this program has supported over the years.

I also recognise that our postgraduate research students suffer as a community, as they are dispersed over several campuses, and aim to address this by setting up a virtual, web-driven campus to support our students. This is already looking very promising and we aim to beta-test this new resource early in the new year.

What most excites you about the role?

I am really excited about the various challenges this role raises. In particular, I am looking forward to trying out and developing some new ideas to enhance the postgraduate student experience. Luckily, I have been given access to some excellent support, so things are moving rapidly….watch this space !

What is your background, and what do you enjoy most about working at Imperial?

I am a Reader in Cancer Medicine in the Department of Oncology at the Hammersmith Campus, where my research is focused on gene expression in breast and prostate cancer. Over the years I have supervised a considerable number of young research scientists and Clinical Research Fellows as PhD students  and many of these have gone on to pursue successful scientific careers in medicine, academia and industry.

Also, while working at Imperial, I have taken an active role in postgraduate research student matters by serving on several Postgraduate Education Committees and have most recently been Deputy Director of Postgraduate Studies for Surgery & Cancer.

Imperial is clearly a fantastic, World class institution which provides a dynamic and rewarding research and education environment to work in. I am particularly enthused by the exceptional talent of the PhD students we have and hope to help by providing resources that will aid our students to reach even greater heights.

Key facts:

Survey on Professional Web Pages (PWPs)

A review is underway of Professional Web Pages (PWPs), which are used on the College website to offer contact details and information about the activities of staff such as publications and awards. To guide a redesign of PWPs, staff are invited to participate in a survey to help identify the content and features which are particularly important for current and future users of these online profiles. The survey should take about five minutes to complete, and all those who complete the survey will be entered into a draw to win a £100 Amazon voucher.

Visit to the Francis Crick institute

My colleagues and I took a trip to the site of the Francis Crick institute (18 November). Currently it is a very large hole in the ground next to King’s cross station. But, with a bit of imagination – and a trip round the visitor’s centre – you can picture what will be the world-leading biomedical research institute when it opens in 2015. We learnt more about the ambitious project and the innovative community projects associated with the development.

The Institute will be a unique partnership with a unique vision. The College and its partners – the MRC, Cancer Research UK, Wellcome Trust, UCL and King’s College London, will combine knowledge, expertise and resources to further our understanding  of the causes of disease and accelerate discoveries into the clinic. The Institute is an exciting opportunity for the UK; not only providing scientific breakthroughs but also boosting the UK economy.

If you want to take a trip to the site, you can arrange this at http://www2.imperial.ac.uk/blog/announcements/2011/10/28/visits-to-the-francis-crick-institute/

Dr Sarah Perkins
Research Strategy Manager

Photos from the visit


Professor Jenny Higham wins Mentor of the Year award at Women of the Future Awards 2011

Professor Jenny Higham (Deputy Principal and Director of Education) was awarded the ‘Mentor of the Year’ award at the Women of the Future Awards, held at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square on Wednesday 16 November.

Held in association with Shell, the glittering awards ceremony and dinner were attended by HRH The Princess Royal, HRH Princess Badiya bint El Hassan, Cherie Blair and wife of the Deputy Prime Minister, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, amongst other well known faces.

REF Mock Exercise: Symplectic Elements

Symplectic Elements – what is it?:

This is the publications and activities database used by Imperial College London which will also be used for generating publication reports for the mock REF exercise.

Accessing:

You can find it at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/symplecticelements/ – you can login with your usual College login information.

This system automatically searches the PubMed and Web Of Science online publications directories based on your unique search settings. The automated searches take place at around 1:00am each morning and you will be automatically emailed once any publications have been found for you.

Your responsibility:

You MUST review any pending publications: decline those that are not yours and approve the ones that are. If you do not do this, the publications WILL NOT be returned in the reports being generated for the REF preparation process.

Finding and amending your Search Settings:

Once logged in, click My ElementsPublications Search Settings.

You MUST include the exact name variants under which you publish. If you have a common name, you might want to include some address or keyword information. Any changes made to the search settings must be saved for them to take effect during the next automated search (around 1:00am the following day).

Adding Publications via their ID

You can explicitly add the online ID for a publication if it is not returned in automated searches. This can be added through the search settings and choosing which online publication directory the ID relates to. Make sure you click the + icon to add the ID to the list to be searched.

** Important issues to note when changing search settings: **

If you add keywords where there were previously none, the search will become much more restrictive and this may prevent some of your papers being found. If you want to use additional logic terms to control the keyword search (AND, NOT etc), switch to ‘advanced view’ within Search Settings – Keywords. Alternatively, removing keywords and addresses will make your searches a lot more broad resulting in you receiving a large number of publications which may not be yours.

Online user guides:

Full information about using the system, amending search settings, importing, exporting and troubleshooting can be found online at http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/symplectic/userguide (login required).

Enquiries:

Lyndsey Pallant, new Faculty REF Coordinator

The first of a series of blog entries for the ‘Faculty of Medicine blog’ focusing on staff around the Faculty:

You are the new REF Coordinator for the Faculty. What does this role involve?

As the faculty’s REF coordinator I support the faculty’s preparations for the upcoming REF submission. Amongst other things, I lead on data collection, analysis and scenario modelling. I will support the faculty’s REF committee and ultimately manage the processes required to make a successful submission that reflects the strengths and capabilities of the faculty.

What are you enjoying about working at Imperial?

Imperial is a great place to work and the South Kensington campus is surrounded by some of the best museums in the country, so there is no shortage of things to do during lunch or after work. I’ve so far been to visit a few of the other campuses and been warmly welcomed by the staff at each location. I had the opportunity to take part in a very successful REF event for the Department of Medicine over at the Hammersmith campus and got to meet some of the academics I will be working with over the next two years. I’m sure I will undoubtedly get to know most members of the faculty over the next few months, as well as my way around London!

What is your background?

The hustle and bustle of London is a stark difference to North Wales where I lived for the last 10 years. I previously worked for Bangor University until my husband and I relocated to Kent. I’m looking forward to getting to know the area and settling into my position here at Imperial.

Key facts:

Santa run 2011

Alexandra Williams, Dr Shamini Gnani, Dr Adrian Raby and Stephen Platt (all from Department of Primary Care and Public Health) are looking for fellow faculty staff to join their team for the Santa Run on 3 December.

Three of the members recently competed in the Run to the Beat half marathon challenge to raise money for charity; the Teenage Cancer Trust and the NSPCC. So far over £1500 has been raised for the two charities.

Javier Gallego – Portraits

Javier Gallego, School of Public Health, has an exhibition in the Blyth Gallery at the South Kensington Campus.

Javier is a graduate in Film and Photographic Arts and studied Professional Photography Practice at The London College of Printing. His film and video work has been screened at film festivals in Europe, Canada, the USA and across the UK.

His photography has been shown at The National Portrait Gallery as part of the annual Photographic Portrait Award and in publications including The Evening Standard and Time Out.

In his current exhibition Javier uses digital manipulation to explore the aesthetics of the body and identity in portrait photography.

Show Dates

  • Exhibition runs from: 9 – 18 November 2011
  • Open: Mon – Sun 9 am – 9 pm
  • Admission: Free

More information on Javier’s work