The work describes the design, fabrication and validation of the first non-protein nucleating agent made specifically for robotic crystallisation experiments. This research builds upon prior demonstration of the suitability of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs; known as ‘smart materials’) for inducing protein crystal growth (PNAS 2011 108, 11081-11086). These semi-liquid MIPs are dispensed using commercially available robots and their application bypasses the concerns associated with seeding and solid heterogeneous nucleants. MIPs have been shown to be effective in both screening (greater number and variety of hits) and optimization (better crystals in MIP presence) trials. MIP-containing trials yielded crystallization conditions for proteins that had not produced useful crystals to date in screening (using commercial screens). No leads were obtained in the absence of MIPs or in the presence of traditional nucleants, meaning that without MIPs these important conditions would have been missed. Furthermore, better crystals could be obtained in the presence of MIPs at the optimization stage. Examples of these proteins include the human macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) and an antibody to CCR5 receptor complex since publication.
The research has paved the way to commercialization by Imperial Innovations – leading to a patented product that can be employed for the automated screening and optimization of any biomacromolecule. The application of these materials is simple and 20 nanolitres is sufficient for each trial, thus this will provide a potent tool for scientists in academia and industry.
I’ve committed myself to raising £1000 as part of the 1000/1000 Challenge (1000 people each raising £1000) for The Hunger Project in 2015 by taking on two tough challenges.
In April I’ll live on £5 for 5 days as part of The Hunger Project’s Live Below the Line campaign, and in August I’ve signed up to run/walk 100km (2.5 marathons) from London to Cambridge, which will take me hopefully far less than 24 hours of non-stop running/walking and just a little training!
Professor Kausik Ray joined Imperial College as Professor of Public Heath, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health in Feb 2015. A clinical cardiologist by training Professor Ray received his medical education (MB ChB, 1991) at the University of Birmingham, his MD (2004) from the University of Sheffield, a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School (2004-2005) an MPhil in epidemiology (2007) from the University of Cambridge and was Chair in Preventive Cardiology at St Georges University of London from 2010.
Professor Ray’s research interests focus on the prevention of cardiovascular disease using observational methods and intervention studies including large trials. Recently Professor Ray has established the first global registry of Familial Hypercholesterolaemia in conjunction with the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) called the FH studies collaboration (FHSC) and is PI for the TOGETHER study looking at cardiometabolic risk factors and clinical outcomes in approximately 250 000 people using electronic health records in London.
Globally a child is born every minute with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) the commonest autosomally dominant condition known to man with a prevalence of about 1:200- 1:250. This results in lifetime elevations in low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) resulting in premature morbidity and mortality from vascular disease. This condition can be treated by screening and early treatment with statins and other lipid lowering therapies. At the European Atherosclerosis Society Congress 2015 in Glasgow (http://eas.org), Professor Ray will launch the EAS FHSC, a global registry to harness information on the detection, management and clinical consequences of current practice on clinical outcomes. The mission statement is outlined below and for full details of the FHSC activities please see http://www.eas-society.org/fhsc.aspx
“The mission of the EAS FHSC is to empower the medical & global community to seek change in their respective countries or organizations regarding how FH is detected and managed, with a view to promoting early diagnosis and more effective treatment of this condition. Through international collaboration of stakeholders we aim to generate large scale robust data on how FH is detected, managed and the clinical consequences of current practice on outcomes.”
The Department of Primary Care and Public Health has launched a webpage dedicated to Primary Care Education Research. It includes useful resources to support all sorts of education research projects, from articles about methods and theory to practical guides to the process of education research. It has three main sections:
Recent primary care education publications and presentations
Guidance on the education research process
A bank of resources; articles, PowerPoints, and links to support people in their education research projects
On the afternoon of Wednesday 17 June we are hosting a half day conference Reciprocal Illumination- making patient and public involvement meaningful at St Mary’s Hospital.
The conference is for health professionals, scientists, patients and educators, both those already engaged in involving patients and the public in healthcare delivery, research and healthcare education, and those who would like to find out more.
We already have some speakers, including Prof Roger Kneebone, and are currently in the process of putting together the remainder of the programme. We would like to know if you would like to make a contribution to the conference yourself and, if so, in what area? If not, are there any specific topics you would like to have discussed?
The conference is jointly hosted by HENWL and Imperial College and is a free event – so please save the date and we will be in touch with further details in due course.
The links between the WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training at Imperial College London and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Iraq have been growing strong for some time. The connection has now been sealed with the Face-to-face meeting on Tuesday 2o January 2015. Representatives of the WHO Collaborating Centre (Director: Professor Salman Rawaf, Dr Sondus Hassounah and Ms Ela Augustyniak) had a privilege to meet Minister of Higher Education and Research, Iraq, His Excellency Professor Hussein Al-Shahristani in person over lunch at South Kensington Campus, Imperial College London, 58 Prince’s Gardens. His Excellency was accompanied by the Iraqi Cultural Attache Professor Musa Almosawe.
Professor Al-Shahristani is a graduate from Imperial College London Chemical Engineering, and we are delighted that the Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Professor Andrew Livingston joined the group alongside Mrs Clare Turner, representative of the International Office at Imperial College London.
It is not surprising that the discussion had a reminiscing part where HE concluded building of the Chemical Engineering Department was very much as he remembered it from 50 years ago, but obviously familiar faces are missing. Education remained at the core of the conversation; and although the development of the technologies seem to imply the inevitable turn towards online education sessions more and more, the party reached an agreement on the irreplaceability of the face-to-face interaction and its unquestionable value in the education process. “It is not the equations and theories we remember from our studies, it is the people and personalities and their impact”, was the commonly agreed conclusion. His Excellency is very keen to strengthen the links with WHO Collaborating Centre in supporting the development and strengthening Iraqi universities and in particular the new Medical University under development in Baghdad. He welcomed the training of many Iraqi academia over the last few years and he emphasised the importance of the continuation of such collaborative work between Iraq and I-C-L.
Dr Al-Shahristani was accopmapnied by Dr Mosa Almosawie, the Cultural Attaché: a well know academic and the immediate past president of University of Baghdad, the largest university in Iraq.
The 7th Advanced Academic Training Course for Medical and Health Professional
Imperial College London, through its WHO Collaborating Centre for Education and Training, ran its 7th Advanced Academic Training Course from 24 November until 19 December 2014. The course was established in 2011, following the collaboration between the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Research and Imperial College London. The aim of the Advanced Academic Training Course is to introduce the new methods of teaching and research to medical and health professionals who work in academia worldwide.
The course covers various aspects of skills-development disciplines, including communication skills, students’ assessment, Masters and PhDs examinations and small-group learning. Modern teaching and research skills development is achieved through interactive learning and hands-on experience through highly advanced skill labs, attending undergraduate students’ clinical teachings in primary care, community and hospital settings.
WHO CC at the RESCAP-MED 2nd Regional Symposium on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) – Beirut, Lebanon (3 -4 Dec 2014)
Our WHO CC volunteer for the period between July and September 2014, Dr Jara Valtueña (ImFine Research Group/ Department of Health and Human Performance-Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain), has been accepted to present a poster on the “Impact of the 2010 popular uprising: Ramification on morbidity, mortality and social determinants of health in four countries from the MENA region” at the RESCAP-MED 2nd Regional Symposium on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) entitled “Socio-political Challenges in the Mediterranean Region: Implications for NCD Prevention and Control” which took place in Beirut, Lebanon from the 3rd -4th December 2014 . This Symposium aims to bring together researchers and public health actors to present, document and debate prospects for action in NCD surveillance, management, control and prevention, within the context of recent geo-political developments in the region.
Her poster reflects the work she conducted with the research team at WHO CC, which she and the team are currently preparing for publication.
Dr Alex Chen, new PhD student, presenting at the UK parliament on unethical organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China. London, UK (25 Nov 2014)
On Tuesday, 25 November, Dr Julian Huppert MP hosted a forum in UK Parliament addressing unethical organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China and how this pertains to residents in the UK. Guest speakers included David Matas and Hon. David Kilgour who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for their investigative work on organ harvesting in China; award-winning research journalist, Ethan Gutmann, who’s book on this topic “The Slaughter” was published in September; and Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting EU representative, and our most recent PhD student, Dr. Alex Chen.
Dr Chen presented on unethical organ harvesting from Chinese prisoners, and discussed the global responses from the international community in terms of legislation and the far sounding-impact on organ transplantation around the world.
Medical and Health Research course
From 8 to 19 December 2014, the WHO Collaborating Centre hosted its first Health and Medical Research course for health professionals. For two weeks, 20 participants attended lectures by key researchers from the Department of Primary Care and Public Health on topics ranging from qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to setting international and national priorities for health and medical research. Participants were extremely pleased with the high quality of the course and the sessions and expressed their intention to implement what they have learnt in their own research institutes.
Update from WHO CC Fellows
In the last few months, WHO CC welcomed three new fellows: Dr Saad Al Saad, Dr Zahea Alnoumasi, and Dr Thamer AlOhali, all from Saudi Arabia. We trust their time with the Centre will be fruitful and satisfying , and will broaden their career perspectives fort he future.
One of the numerous impacts of the Ebola Crisis in West Africa is the damage that it has caused to already fragile agricultural economies. Restrictions on public gatherings and the closure of international borders have forced numerous agricultural markets to shut up shop. The impact that this has had on smallholder farmer livelihoods has been catastrophic.
However in light of the welcome news that the Ebola epidemic is slowing down, the Partnership for Child Development’s Samrat Singh looks at what innovative steps governments and their development partners can take to enable these shattered agricultural markets to bounce back from the Ebola crisis. Samrat’s article, written in collaboration with long time Defra adviser Helen Roberts, looks at how government-led programmes such as Home Grown School Feeding can provide stable markets for local smallholder farmers which can in turn support struggling agricultural economies.
IGHI’s New Non-Communicable Disease Forum The Institute of Global Health Innovation’s new NCD Forum provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary discussions of NCDs in low-and-middle-income countries. The first one will take place on 19th February.
PCD recently published its Annual Report 2013 – 14 outlining its ongoing successes in supporting governments to build the enabling environment to advance inclusive, scaled and sustainable school health and nutrition programmes. These programmes are improving the development, education and well-being of school-aged children worldwide. The report also highlights work in supporting government-led Home Grown School Feeding interventions by strengthening the links between school feeding programmes and the local smallholder farmers who supply them.
PCD co-hosts 4th Asian School Health and Nutrition Training Course
From 8 – 16 December PCD co-hosted the 4th Asia School Health and Nutrition (SHN) training course which brought together 37 participants from government, academia and civil society representing 12 countries in the region. During the course, lectures were delivered by international experts on SHN topics including deworming, WASH, school feeding and the inclusion of children with disabilities. To enhance interaction, participants also visited three local schools to learn from the Thai experience and developed country specific SHN action plans.
ERC Starting Grant awarded to Jean-Baptiste Vannier– Jean-Baptiste Vannier was awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant of €1.5 million for five years. He was selected from 3,273 applicants (9 % success rate). ERC Starting Grants support up-and-coming scientists who are about to establish a new research team and start conducting independent research. Jean-Baptiste, who joined the CSC in the autumn from CRUK, will investigate the role of telomeres in DNA replication. When telomeres fail to fold into these structures, the genome becomes unstable, which is a hallmark of every cancer.
Synergy: Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant awarded to CSC and Imperial College Researchers – Vahid Shahrezaei from the Mathematics department at Imperial College and Sam Marguerat from the CSC’s Quantitative Gene Expression Group will be leading the £250,173 award to investigate noise in gene expression using single cells. The collaboration will unite Marguerat’s experimental skills with Shahrezaei’s theoretical knowledge in order to gain insight into the process of stochastic gene expression and protein noise, which describes the fluctuating number of molecules inside cells that causes seemingly identical cells to behave differently.
Link between COX-2 inhibitors and cardiovascular risk explained– Research news article on why COX-2 inhibitors, a class of widely prescribed anti-inflammatories, may lead to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes (published in Circulation by James Leiper/Jane Mitchell, Imperial/NHLI; reference: Blerina Ahmetaj-Shala, Nicholas S. Kirkby et al. ‘Evidence That Links Loss Of Cyclo-oxygenase-1 2 With Increased Asymmetric Dimethylarginine: Novel Explanation of Cardiovascular Side Effects Associated With Anti-inflammatory Drugs.’ Circulation, 9 December 2014. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.011591).
Institute of Clinical Science
Faculty of Medicine
The Senior Management Team has now moved to Charing Cross. We are located on the first floor of the Reynold’s Building, so please do come and visit us if you are over there. We will obviously still spending a fair amount of time at South Kensington. The majority of the FEO are remaining in their current offices in SAF.
I am also pleased to inform you of two new appointments:
Dr Jo Harris has been appointed Deputy Head of the Undergraduate School. She is a General Practitioner and an Educator. She is currently studying for a doctorate (EdD ) in education at the Institute of Education and her research interest is in assessment of professionalism of medical students. Jo is currently Director of Curriculum and Assessment, and will continue in that role.
Dr Carolyn Gabriel has taken up the role of Head of Careers Development. I am sure most of you already know Carolyn, who has been very involved in education for a number of years, and was previously one of our Vertical Theme Heads. She can be reached on Carolyn.Gabriel@imperial.nhs.uk. I hope you will support her in developing careers as a theme throughout our undergraduate course.
Miss Susan English Director of Education Management and Programme Director Faculty Education Office (Medicine)
Dr Maruthappu serves as Senior Fellow to Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, where he recently contributed to the Five Year Forward View, and in January, with Sir Bruce Keogh, launched the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA), a programme aiming to identify twenty tried and tested innovations from across the world and scale them in the NHS to improve patient care.
Outside of clinical practice he has a background in health systems research, policy and entrepreneurship, having published over 60 peer-reviewed articles, receiving over 50 awards and honours, advising organisations ranging from startups to the WHO, and serving as a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard University.
Dr Maruthappu said “It was exciting to be included in the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Working in North West Thames has exposed me to a broad range of opportunities, both inside and outside of clinical practice, that I’m sure led to my nomination”.
Philipa Shallard Foundation School/Undergraduate Services Manager Faculty of Medicine
Professor Neena Modi has been elected President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, taking up the role on 29 April 2015.
Neena is currently Professor of Neonatal Medicine at Imperial College London and also has clinical duties as a Honorary Consultant in Neonatal Medicine at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust where she is the senior consultant in a team providing neonatal care for a tertiary referral medical and surgical perinatal service for north-west London. She is also Chair of the BMJ Ethics Committee, leads a neonatal research group and has published many original research papers. Whilst Vice President for Research at the RCPCH, Professor Modi was the lead author on the RCPCH’s Turning the Tide report highlighting the need to strengthen child health research in the UK.
Commenting on her appointment, Professor Modi said:
“I’m profoundly honoured by the confidence my paediatric colleagues have shown in me. I in turn am confident that with the wealth of expertise they represent, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health will be a powerful force in the UK and will advocate tirelessly to improve the health and wellbeing of all children.”
Welcoming the appointment, RCPCH President Dr Hilary Cass said:
“Neena is a passionate advocate for child heath, and her experience as a clinician and leading researcher will be invaluable in her role as RCPCH President. I look forward to seeing the College continue to provide high quality education and training for paediatricians, expand its membership offer and lead the way in affecting policy change for the benefit of children and young people’s health.”
Professor Modi will take up the role following the Annual General Meeting on 29 April 2015 and serve three years as President. Until then she will sit on the College’s Council and Executive Committee along with Dr Hilary Cass, as President Elect.
The School of Medicine Awards for NHS Teachers evening took place on Tuesday 25 November. The annual ceremony recognises the enormous contribution of NHS staff to the education of undergraduates and postgraduates in the Faculty of Medicine. Fifteen members of staff received awards, which were presented by Professor Dermot Kelleher, Vice President (Health) and Dean of the Faculty Medicine. Many of the students who nominated the winners attended to describe their teachers’ impact on their education at Imperial. The ICSM Students’ Union Light Opera Society also performed for guests.
This year, two new awards were created: the Supporting the Student Experience award (for NHS staff in non-teaching roles), which was presented to Darren Pirson, Medical Education Manager at Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Foundation Trust. The Distinguished Teacher award, only open to previous teaching award winners, was introduced to recognise a sustained, outstanding contribution to education. The inaugural Award was given to Dr Naila Kamal of London North West Healthcare NHS Trust. Dr Kamal gave a presentation on her experiences of teaching our students.
Closing the event, Professor Jenny Higham, Vice Dean (Education and Institutional Affairs) congratulated all the award winners, describing them as an inspiration to the next generation of doctors.
The 2014 Faculty Teaching Forum took place at the Charing Cross campus on Thursday 27 November, with the theme of Resilience with Compassion. The aim of the Forum is to bring together the wide community of teachers from across the Faculty and partner NHS providers for an afternoon focused on undergraduate medical education. The plenary lecture was given by Dr Tom Evens, a former Imperial student, who shared his insights of resilience and compassion from his experiences both as an Olympic rowing coach and Air Ambulance Doctor. The afternoon also comprised of an expert panel debate, a series of workshops and a number of short update presentations from staff in the Faculty.
One of the organisers for the Forum, Dr Jo Harris, Director of Curriculum and Assessment in the School of Medicine and Deputy Director of Primary Care Education, thanked all those who had attended and contributed to the event and highlighted the important opportunity to network, share ideas and reflect on practice.
Chris Harris Quality and Educational Development Manager Imperial College School of Medicine
The Faculty is delighted to report the success of our application to MRC for the 3rd round of Confidence in Concept (CiC) funding; our largest CiC award to date (£800k). This award will be used in conjunction with funds from NIHR Imperial BRC, Imperial Innovations, Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund as well as support from NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research and Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation NHS Trust to create a fund in excess of £1.2M to provide 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 2015 ICiC Call for Proposals will be issued in January with two launch events showcasing ICiC-funded research, and further information on the scheme and other College translational funding opportunities. The South Kensington event will take place on 19th January and will focus on links with engineering and physical sciences. The second event at Hammersmith, taking place on 30th January, will include opportunities to attend Corporate Partnership surgeries with a variety of commercial partners. Register for these events at email@example.com. Further details will be regarding the surgeries will be released by the Corporate Partnerships team (Vjera Magdalenic-Moussavi) by the end of the year.
During the 20+ years that Imperial Consultants (ICON) has been facilitating commercial consultancy projects for Imperial’s researchers, we have seen staff expertise make a real difference to the world in many ways. Contributing to the development of revolutionary new drugs and maximising patient care standards through innovative staff training techniques are just the tip of the iceberg.
With the rise of the impact agenda as a way to monitor the value of research, demonstrating research impact is now an essential element of any successful research career. The scope for FoM researchers to do this by acting as consultants to external organisations is expanding as the global quest for improvement and innovation in medicine and healthcare rolls on. The boundaries between academia and the outside world are becoming increasingly blurred and the need for academic, research-generated knowledge to address the latest challenges in the medical field is on the rise.
Undertaking consultancy often allows you to demonstrate the benefit that your expertise conveys to industry and society in a relatively short space of time, and it can provide real-world examples to give context to your teaching. Add the fact that it can spark new ideas for research and brings in a bit of extra income and you’d be right in thinking that it is a constructive route to explore….or resurrect if you’ve not undertaken a project in a while.
Introducing the FoM team at ICON
ICON is here to help you throughout the process. Our dedicated business development staff – Andreas Ballis and Louise Chisholm – can advise you on the consultancy market and pricing in your area of expertise. They specialise in building relationships with external organisations to develop consultancy opportunities for you. Our Head of Contracts – Azra Awan – can assist you in negotiating Terms and Conditions with the client to minimise your risk in undertaking the work. Finally, our project administration staff – Alfred Li, Elena Martynenko and Monica Villafana Cerna – are here to handle invoicing and payment and ensure that your project runs smoothly, allowing you to concentrate on the task in hand. For more information on our service, please download our Quick Guide to ICON’s Service (PDF file 295 KB).
If you would like to find out more about consultancy or have an opportunity that you would like to discuss, please visit the ICON website or contact Andreas Ballis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Louise Chisholm (email@example.com)
Marketing and Communications Officer Imperial Consultants (ICON)
SCI has been selected to receive donations this year from MaxMind, an industry-leading provider of IP intelligence and online fraud detection tools, based in Waltham, Massachusetts. SCI was selected on the strength of the Givewell recommendation (www.givewell.org ).
The donations will be used to expand SCI’s coverage of treatments for school aged children against schistosomiasis and intestinal worms in rural areas of Africa. By supporting these treatments, MaxMind will be bringing improved health and education to millions of vulnerable children.
PCD Receives Grant for Global Health & Development
PCD has been recently awarded by Grand Challenges Explorations an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a project focused on improving market information among stakeholders of Kenya’s school feeding programme. The programme is a government-led intervention which procures food used in school meals locally from smallholder farmers and has been described as a ‘win-win’ for both children and farmers alike; with well-fed children more likely to attend and stay in school and farmers more secured of a livelihood. Specifically, the project will develop a software platform using everyday items such as mobile phones, to improve the tendering process between the programme’s stakeholders, namely, the schools (buyers), traders (buyers and sellers) and farmer groups (sellers).
School-Based Deworming: A Clear Role for the European Commission
Periodic drug treatment for children in schools – known as school-based deworming – represents a highly strategic approach to tackling soil-transmitted helminths (STH) and schistosomiasis. Integrated programmes that deliver deworming, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health education and other key interventions lead to even greater long-term impact.
A new paper called ‘School-Based Deworming’ (PDF download 2.8mb), from Imperial College London’s Partnership for Child Development argues that the European Commission (EC) is on the margins of the growing global movement against NTDs and with its financial resources, technical capacity and global network, the EC can and should be at the forefront of efforts to tackle the diseases, in particular schistosomiasis and STH. In order to rise to this task, the EC requires a clear policy direction, and must ensure that the control and elimination of schistosomiasis and STH are integrated into its education, nutrition and WASH strategies and programmes.
The Faculty of Medicine has drawn together the College’s range of information resources on equality, diversity and disability issues into one easy-to-access webpage at http://www1.imperial.ac.uk/medicine/staff/
As part of Disability Awareness Month which is taking place throughout November and December, the Equality & Diversity team has organised a number of events. Full information is available from the webpage at http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/equality/events
Campus Operations Officer
Faculty of Medicine
Following on from last year’s hugely popular pilot event, this year saw the return of the NHLI Bring Your Child to Work Day which is part of the department’s Athena SWAN initiative. Nearly 70 children along with their parents across all five NHLI campuses attended the fun-filled day of science-related activities and a Halloween tea party on the 30th of October. Like last year, tens of volunteers across the department got together to deliver an event that not only included exciting activities for the kids but also gave parents a chance to network with other parents in the department.
Children at the Hammersmith campus were put straight to work, doing quizzes and data analysis, whereas at the Brompton campus kids became CSI investigators trying to find out who had kidnapped Monty the Macrophage. The CSI themed activities included comparing fingerprint evidence, separating ink from different pens on chromatography paper, and extracting DNA from a kiwifruit. Other highlights included dissecting a sheep’s heart in the Reach Out Lab, the excellent face painter at the Halloween party (a big hit among the kids!), and Provost James Stirling’s visit.
NHLI would like to thank all attendees and volunteers, and we are already much looking forward to next year’s event!
Apart from being medical and surgical procedures, they are nowadays important topics of interest in biomedical modelling and simulation research. Earlier this year I had a paper accepted at the 6th International Symposium on Biomedical Simulation (ISBMS) and a month ago, in October, I went to Strasbourg to present it. I was looking forward to hearing some Alsatian being spoken, although given my basic French skills I didn’t actually notice a difference. ISBMS was organised by the SiMMS group at Imperial College London and by the SHACRA team at INRIA. The event was hosted at IRCAD (Research Institute against Digestive Cancer) in a high-tech room that resemble those at the UN where important topics are also discussed. I found the symposium a great opportunity to discuss new approaches and challenges in the area among experts in the field.
Researchers presented results about physics-based modelling of both soft tissue (organs, vasculature, skin, muscles) and bone structures related to training systems and haptics (enabling the sense of touch in virtual systems), vascular modelling, deformation during image acquisition, surgical planning, and analysis, characterisation and validation studies. I presented a haptics and deformation modelling approach to simulating Digital Rectal Examinations (DRE) using patient-specific models captured via MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). The results from this paper will allow junior doctors to gain the necessary skills to perform DRE more efficiently compared to existing teaching methods.
Keynote speakers included Prof Mathias Brieu (Biomechanical Lab, Ecole Centrale Lille) who signalled the importance of modelling patient-specific data and the need for parameters that allow modelling differences in patients. Francisco Chinesta (Ecole Centrale Nantes) and Elias Cueto (I3A, Zaragoza) presented a computational vademecum (where all solutions are pre-computed) to model organ deformation by the parameterisation and further decomposition of relevant variables that are present during simulation.
I was captivated by the tranquillity of the city and it was interesting to learn how Strasbourg, now home to the European Parliament and Council of Europe, has been inhabited for 600,000 years. The city was occupied by the Romans (Argentoratum, 12BC) and was controlled later on by Alemanni, Huns and Franks (Strazburg, 5th century). The revolution of 1332 heralded 300 years of Strasbourg as a republic, before it was annexed by Louis XIV of France (1681), by the German Empire (1871) and finally by France (1919) following the Treaty of Versailles. Strasbourg Cathedral, III river and the area called Petite-France were beautiful, and this beauty extends to the city’s cuisine…Choucroute, Tarte FlambéeAlsacienne and La Terrine de Canard were exquisite.
From New York to Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, the UK premiere event Bette Davis On The Edge is a solo performance, written and performed by Christine St. John.
“It’s half past four in the morning of October 31st 1962, and motion picture legend Bette Davis is waiting anxiously for the reviews of ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane’. If the picture is a success, it will hail the desperately needed comeback for the star’s fading career. If not, it will provide a sad and embarrassing epitaph.”
“As she waits, she reflects on her entire career, from the ‘Talkies’ to the present day. Her story is the entire history of the American Motion Picture industry.”
Student Challenges 2014
Only a few days left to enter Student Challenges 2014 for your chance to win funding towards your global health project or innovative idea – closing date 28th November.