Author: Kathryn Johnson

Equality and Diversity Newsletter and disability resources now on Faculty website

Black girlsPlease note that there are now a list of disability resources available on the Faculty’s staff web page and you can find the September 14 Equality and Diversity Newsletter here.

The Equality and Diversity Unit will also be hosting a few events to celebrate Black History Month:

There will be a showing of Dark Girls on 15th October, a documentary looking into the biases and attitudes around skin colour based around real women and their experiences.


Improving Patient Safety: CPSSQ Annual Symposium 2014

Patient safety experts gathered for the Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality (CPSSQ) annual symposium last week. The symposium was organised by the National Institute for Health Research Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (NIHR Imperial PSTRC) on behalf of the CPSSQ.
The symposium, which is now in its second year, aims to provide an opportunity to showcase examples of current PSTRC and CPSSQ research and to stimulate debate and discussion between researchers, healthcare professionals, members of the public and anyone with an interest in the safety and quality of healthcare.Poster session 2

The event heard from a wide array of speakers from Imperial, including Paul Aylin, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and co-director of the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial, who spoke about the higher odds of death if admitted to hospital at the weekend. Matthew Harrison from the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s (IGHI) HELIX Centre talked about design and patient safety and why it was important whilst Dr Maria Ahmed-Drake, an Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial PSTRC, explained why the engagement of trainees in safety improvement was a key aspect in enhancing patient safety.

Dr Josephine OclooDr Josephine Ocloo, Project lead for Imperial College Health Partners and the Patient Safety Champion Network gave a touching, personal account of her experience of patient safety within the NHS following the death of her 17 year old daughter in 1996. Driven by her personal tragedy, Dr Ocloo campaigns to give a voice to those who feel they have been wronged by the medical profession and to make healthcare in Britain safer.

The event also debated on whether technology is the way forward for patient safety. The outcome was an even split on those for and against.

The keynote lecture was given by Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission since July 2013. Sir Mike has been asked to lead a new programme of inspection across acute hospitals, mental health services, community services and ambulance service both in the NHS and the private sector and his talk gave an opportunity to update the meeting on the progress of this important review to date. Sir Mike explained that for each inspection, the Care Quality Commission needs to address 5 key questions for each review on every aspect of patient safety – is it safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led?

“We’ve come a long way in the past 14 months and our new approach has proved to be more robust and credible that what we have done in the past” said Sir Mike. “However, there is still room for improvement. Consistency across NHS Trusts still remains a huge challenge and we need to overcome these challenges by recruiting good teams, training people properly and maintaining a consistent methodology across the board. It’s also important that staff within the Trusts have the ability to challenge decisions if necessary”.

Professor Bryony Dean FranklinProfessor Bryony Dean Franklin, the chair of the meeting and one of PSTRC Leads said: “We were delighted to hear from the wide variety of speakers at the event. I very much hope that the symposium will lead to new ideas for innovative interventions that we can develop and evaluate, as well as further opportunities for collaboration”.

Professor the Lord Ara Darzi, Director of the NIHR’s PSTRC and IGHI said “Clinicians need to be engaged and empowered in order to understand and implement new and innovative ways to help improve the health of patients. We must also listen to the needs and comments from patients in order to develop an all-rounded view of patient safety within the NHS, implementing new policies and procedures accordingly”.

The Symposium was funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC) at Imperial.

Jo Seed

LKCMedicine Guest Lecture by Prof Jeremy Nicholson

On September 30th 2014, Lee Kong Chian Medicine hosted Prof Jeremy K. Nicholson, Head of the Department of Surgery and Cancer, Director of MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre, to deliver a guest lecture entitled ‘The Challenges of Implementing Precision Medicine Approaches in A Changing World’ to the audience in Singapore.

In the lecture, Prof Nicholson highlighted the important interactions in gene and environment which could eventually determine the disease risks in individuals and the associated therapeutic interventions. He also pointed out that the urban lifestyle and environment dramatically changes disease pattern and the types of genetic complexity which may impact treatment efficacy.

Prof Nicholson continued to elaborate about the importance of the understanding of human bio-complexity and gene-environment interactions. He further showed some data on how phenotype and metabolic complexity can be unravelled through advanced technology such as exploiting new spectroscopy system approaches as well as molecular pathology. Prof Nicholson envisages that the future healthcare can be better achieved by precision medicine through recording/collecting patients’ phenotyping at each intervention stage incorporating advanced medical technologies such as mass spectroscopies and NMR systems. He also took the opportunity to introduce the real time diagnostics tools developed in his lab i.e. i-Knife and i-Endoscope and their applications in aiding physicians/surgeons in making quick and accurate clinical decisions in emergency situation and also accessing the “prioritisation” of donor transplantation based on patients’ survivorship prediction.

The very stimulating and inspiring seminar was well received by researchers from NTU and A*STAR institutes and industry.

Postgraduate Symposium 2014

SymposiumThe postgraduate symposium occurred at Imperial College London on the 24-26th September 2014 between Imperial College London (ICL) and University College Cork students (UCC). The main aim of this symposium was to integrate knowledge and training between these two well renowned centres. UCC and ICL are both interested in the interaction of the gut microbiome and host health.

ICL STRATiGRAD cohort focuses on stratified and translational medicine with an interest in disease biomarker discovery using multi-omic technologies. This includes metabonomic and metagenomics that assist in characterising metabolic phenotyping and functional metagenomics; in order to understand the role of the gut microbiota in co-metabolism as well as contributing to certain diseases.

UCC APC has a worldwide reputation for excellence in host-microbe interaction and gut microbiota functionality. This group use molecular based techniques with significant expertise in developing animal models to research this. They also use sequencing technologies and bioinformatics to identify and characterise complex bacterial communities.

These groups have different research areas of excellence but use complementary technologies. By interacting at a postgraduate level, it would promote knowledge and awareness in students from both parties and open up the opportunity for future, and hopefully lasting, collaborations.

SpeakersDuring the symposium, we had lectures from researchers from ICL; we were extremely appreciative to have these speakers give a talk. Speakers included Prof Jeremy Nicholson, Prof Elaine Holmes, Dr. Julian Marchesi and Dr. Jia Li, both involved in the co-ordination of the Centre for Digestive and Gut Health and Dr Jonathan Swann, an associate professor at Reading University

Symposium 3

Science networking is an invaluable skill which by developing at a postgraduate level can have an impact on future research and careers. Furthermore, this event has encouraged independent discussion of research outside of the group. It has also promoted a peer support network so issues and problems can be discussed between students informally. Both research and personal skills have been developed through this event as well as assisting in information exchange. Email addresses were exchanged between all students so that this peer supported relationship can keep going into the future.

Nancy Georgakopoulou & Fran Jackson

Departmental Meeting Report

AS_RGB_Bronze-AwardThe Department held a well-attending Staff Meeting to discuss the 2014 Staff Survey and the successful Athena SWAN Bronze application on Wednesday 1st October.

  • Jeremy Nicholson presented slides about the Staff Survey
  • Information about Athena SWAN was presented by Sanjay Purkayastha and Kate Hardy.
  • Lesley Regan, Chair of the Academic Opportunities Committee and S&C Champion for the Staff Survey, summarised the work already undertaken and the work yet to do related to the Athena SWAN award. Reporting that the Department would launch its Mentoring Scheme in November

The meeting concluded with a Q&A session with a Panel chaired by Lesley and including Divisional Heads and Athena SWAN Champions.

  • In response to a question about how to increase the numbers of female Consultant/Clinical Senior Lecturer level surgeons, George Hanna stressed the need to nurture and support the 4 female Clinical Lecturers in Surgery
  • There was a discussion on Mentorship and it became clear that the policy on Academic Advisors for Lecturers and Clinical Senior Lecturers and Mentors for Post-Doctoral staff needed to be made clearer including the accountability of both Academic Advisors and Mentors – action will be taken on this and enhanced information provided via the Web page
  • There was discussion of levels of stress as Staff Survey report suggested there was concern about this across the Department – It had to be recognised that pressure to deliver in REF was unavoidable but every effort will be taken in future to ensure academic staff are well-prepared; there was a recognition that for clinical academics the pull between clinical responsibilities and academic development created tensions. It was agreed these matters should be raised with Divisional Heads and would be discussed with the Trust.

We would welcome any other comments – and have created a specific email address for you to use – – we will monitor this regularly and take issues to the Department’s Academic Opportunities Committee for further review. Lesley has indicated that she and the Committee would be happy to address concerns from research and support staff just as readily as from academic staff.

Please keep an eye on the website and S&C Blog for updates on the above and other Staff related matters.

Once again, many thanks to those who attended and for those of you not able to – please do take a minute to look at the various links.


Professor Nicholson and Professor Holmes listed in the world’s most influential scientific minds of 2014

WorldProfessor Jeremy Nicholson and Professor Elaine Holmes have been listed in the Pharmacology and Toxicology section of a report on The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014, which highlights some of the standout researchers of the last decade.

Highly Cited Researchers presents more than 3,000 authors in 21 main fields of science and the social sciences. These researchers earned the distinction by writing the greatest numbers of reports officially designated by Essential Science Indicators as Highly Cited Papers—ranking among the top 1% most cited for their subject field and year of publication—between 2002 and 2012. Thus, the listings of Highly Cited Researchers feature authors whose published work in their specialty areas has consistently been judged by peers to be of particular significance and utility.

Androgens conference a huge success

6623938Imperial College hosted a three day Androgens 2014 conference entitled “Precision Medicines Targeting Androgens in Health and Disease” on 17-19th September 2014.

The conference, which was organised by Prof Charlotte Bevan and Prof Simak Ali (Cancer), was opened by the President of Imperial College, Prof Alice Gast. The conference included speakers from USA, Australia and Europe and covered sessions on androgens in reproductive health and disease, androgens in development and aging, androgens in cancer biology particularly prostate cancer and therapeutic targeting of androgen signalling.

Speakers from Imperial College included Prof Charlotte Bevan (Cancer) and Prof Stephen Franks (IRDB). The keynote address on the opening day was given by Prof Malcolm Parker (IRDB).

Poster Prizes: (with thanks to Faculty of 1000, Astellas and Janssen for sponsoring the awards)

• Himisha Beltran
• Félicie Cottard
• Flavia Fioretti
• Ailsa Sita-Lumsden
• Lien Spans

Prostate Cancer UK Travel Bursaries: (for PhD Students presenting at Androgens 2014)

• Matti Annala
• Mahsa Azizyan
• Rosie Bryan
• Félicie Cottard
• James Grey
• Victoria Harle
• Dominic Jones
• Matias Knuuttila
• Aaron Leiblich
• J.M. Moll
• Amy Monaghan
• Kasturi Rao
• Ioannis Simitsidellis

Dr Tom Hopkins wins prestigious Sylvia Lawler Prize

Congratulations to Dr Tom Hopkins (Clinical Research Fellow in Cancer) who was last night awarded the Sylvia Lawler Prize for his Oncology research by the Royal Society of Medicine. The prize is very prestigious and the competition fierce so well done to Dr Hopkins for his achievement.

The Sylvia Lawler meeting is the prestigious annual prize meeting for the Royal Society of Medicine oncology section and provides a forum for clinicians and scientists in training to present their research.

Success with Athena SWAN!

AS_RGB_Bronze-AwardGood news!  The Department has been successful in achieving its Bronze Athena SWAN award, which has been achieved through the hard work and dedication of our Academic Opportunities Committee led by Prof Lesley Regan.

We now need to work on implementing the aspirations identified in the Bronze application and Prof Jeremy Nicholson looks forward to discussing this further with you at next week’s Departmental Staff meeting on Wednesday the 1st October from 15:30.

To read the Surgery & Cancer application and find out more, please visit the Surgery & Cancer’s Athena SWAN webpage.


Departmental Staff Meeting Wednesday 1st October

Professor Jeremy Nicholson and Professor Lesley Regan invite all staff to attend the Surgery and Cancer Departmental Staff meeting

WEDNESDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2014 from 15:30 , Room 122 Sir Alexander Fleming Building

Main areas for discussion:Program

  • 2014 Staff Survey
  • Application for a Bronze Athena SWAN Award


15:30 – Tea

16:00 – Intro & Presentations

16:40 – Panel Discussion

17:00 – Wine Reception


We very much hope you will be able to attend – Please RSVP to Kathryn


CSM news

Professor Jeremy Nicholson

  • lectured (together with Prof Zoltan Takats) at Queen’s University Toronto as visiting scientists 10 August 2014
  • gave a plenary lecture at the Federation of European Physiological Societies (FEPS) in Budapest 28 August 2014
  • gave a keynote lecture ‘”Big Data for Personalized Medicine” at the Imperial College-Huawei Workshop on Big Data, Imperial College London 17 Sept 2014
  • gave a lecture on ‘Meeting the analytical challenges of systems medicine and molecular phenotyping’ at the 30th International Symposium of Chromatography, Salzburg Austria 14-18 August 2014
  • gave a lecture on ‘Systems Biology’ at the official opening of Waters Corporation Lab in Wimslow, Manchester where the George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, attended the demonstration of the iKnife

Professor Elaine Holmes

  • gave a plenary lecture at the Metabomeeting 2014, Royal Institution, London. 10-12 September 2014
  • gave a lecture and review of the core NIH facilities at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota, USA. 8 Sept 2014

Professor Zoltan Takats

  • gave the keynote lecture at the 20th International Mass Spectrometry Conference in Geneva. 24-29 August 2014. This was also attended by a few of the CSM post-docs and students
  • gave the opening plenary lecture ‘Direct Mass Spectrometric Characterization of Fluids, Cells and Tissues – The Benefits and the Price of Real-Time Analysis’ at the Mass Spectrometry Application to the Clinical Lab, Salzburg, Austria. 2 Sept 2014

Professor Naomi Chayen and Dr Lata Govada

  • gave an outreach lecture with live demo of crystals growing under a microscope at a conference for 140 executives from companies and organisations (e.g. Expedia, BT, Ministry of Defence) (the conference was called ITT Vanguard – European Next).

Dr Tim Ebbels

  • has been re-elected to the Board of Directors of the Metabolomics Society for a further 2 year term starting October 2014

London Health Commission bus hits the streets of London today

Darzi bus montage

After the London Health Commission global city comparison reveals obesity crisis in the capital the new London Health commission bus was out on the streets today with Prof Darzi and London Mayor Boris Johnson, giving interviews on what they’re planning to do about it.

The London Health Commission, led by Professor the Lord Ara Darzi is an independent review of health and health services in the capital. In addition to speaking to over 15,000 Londoners and working with experts from a range of fields to help understand the current state of health in London, the Commission, undertook a global comparison of 10 major world cities. London’s health was compared with Sydney, Toronto, Paris, Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Madrid and São Paolo. more


George Osborne trials the iKnife

Osbourne iKnife

George Osborne last week attended the opening of the new Waters lab facility in Wilmslow, which will now be home to the largest site globally committed to the support and development of mass spectrometry systems.

Walters Corporation secured a deal with Imperial in July to acquire the technology behind the surgical “iKnife” developed within Surgery and Cancers CSM and this new site in Wilmslow will play host to the continued development of the iKnife and its future applications more.