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

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