The Vascular Team had a very successful day at the Royal Society of Medicine Venous Forum Annual Meeting, which took place on the 11-12th July 2017. The meeting aims to promote healthcare in the field of venous disease, provide information for the public and healthcare professionals on the management of venous disease, encourage research into new technologies with the aim of improving care of patients with venous disease and to define and continually improve standards for the delivery of healthcare in the field of venous disease.
1st prize went to Roshan Bootun for: Randomised controlled trial of compression therapy following endothermal ablation (COMETA trial).
2nd prize went to Sarah Onida for: Metabolic phenotyping of chronic venous disease by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
The prize winners presented their work with two BSc students: Matthew Kia Tan and Lara Rose Manley.
Congratulations to Dr Harriet Kemp (Clinical Research Fellow) who this year was selected to attend the second North American Pain School, a fully funded partnership between the International Association for the Study of Pain and the Quebec Pain Research Network, which took place in Montebello Canada over 5 days this June.
The Pain School aims to bring together 30 selected graduate and post-doc pain researchers (basic and clinical research) from around the world to participate in a specialised lecture series, workshops and patient engagement activities, as well as perform in a series of debates.
There is a unique link with the Pain Research Forum which allows school attendees to learn about the importance of science communication by interviewing faculty and producing blog posts and twitter stories.
You can find out more about what Dr Kemp got up to at the Pain School via her Twitter @DrHarrietKemp.
Congratulations to Mr Oliver Boughton (Clinical Research Fellow and Specialist Registrar in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery) who won the prize for patient and public involvement in research at the Imperial Clinical Academic Trainees Annual Research Symposium earlier this month, after he co-founded the Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Research Group in the MSk Lab with Matthew Ryan.
The PPI research group works with members of the public with pre-operative and post-operative orthopaedic conditions, to help shape the future of orthopaedic research into more effective methods of surgery and care. The first PPI group took place in July 2016 and since then there have been two further meetings.
Mr Oliver Boughton speaks further on the importance of involving patients with his research:
The involvement helps our lab by focussing our research on that which benefits patients, either directly through improving surgical techniques and devices, or indirectly by researching the science behind how bones behave under loading and how our joints move.
Patients have very much enjoyed being shown the lab and the research going on and have asked us great questions. This led to one patient asking an important question that has not been answered yet sufficiently in the literature and I am currently writing a systematic review to answer this question and am inviting the patient to be a co-author on the paper.
Further funding has been secured for the London Movember Centre of Excellence in Prostate Cancer Research; a joint research programme between Imperial (Prof Charlotte Bevan), The Institute for Cancer Research (Prof Johann de Bono) and UCL (Prof Mark Emberton).
The Centre is funded by a 5-year grant and following a mid-term review, earlier this year has now received confirmation of a successful outcome to fund the final 2 years for the current programme.
Congratulations on the impressive progress achieved through the Centre of Excellence to date, we look forward to continue working with you over the coming years. Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research, Prostate Cancer UK
Mr St John said he was honoured to have won this prestigious prize and is passionate about innovations in surgery and hopes his research will contribute to the field of intraoperative margin assessment techniques for breast cancer patients. Through his work as a breast surgeon, he strives for advances that might lead to better outcomes for breast cancer patients.
Find out more about Mr St John’s research through his latest publication in the leading breast cancer journal Breast Cancer Research.
Mr Matthieu Komorowski, Clinical Research Fellow in Intensive Care and PhD student in Surgery and Cancer, spoke at the Euroanaesthesia Annual Conference about the unusual and challenging problem of how to perform emergency medical procedures during space missions.
You can find out more about this fascinating research through the following media coverage:
The President of Imperial has invited Professor Nadey Hakim to become a President’s Envoy, initially for the period 1st June 2017 until 31st May 2019.
This is in recognition of his considerable knowledge and valuable expertise used on behalf of the College and he will work with the President with the aim of enhancing Imperial’s approach to scientific discovery and application for the benefit of society.
The honorary role of President’s Envoy is in addition to Professor Hakim’s Adjunct Professorship with the Department.
The Women’s Health Research Centre facilitated a ‘Discover and Do’ table on the schools day of Imperial Festival, Friday May 5th. Showcasing the combined fields of clinical research and clinical midwifery practice, we offered Year 5 students several hands-on activities which they took on with inspiring enthusiasm. That May 5th also celebrated International Day of the Midwife was an added bonus.
The ‘Baby Bubbles’ activity at our stand invited students to explore the mysteries of the womb by using their so-called ‘midwife detective skills’ of sight and touch. Research Midwives Rachel Akers and Malko Adan facilitated gentle probing hands over miniature amniotic water balloon sacs each with a singleton, twin or triplet jelly baby pregnancy. Like a midwife using her core skill of abdominal palpation, students practised “seeing with their hands”. The amniotic sac water balloons provoked much intrigue and discussion as young midwives of the future discovered the excitement of a multiple pregnancy. Amazingly, despite the tactile appeal of the ‘baby bubbles’, we had only one rupture of membranes on the day!
Meanwhile at the other end of the table classmates paired off to have a go in the ‘Great Pipette Challenge’. Lab technicians Ramona Mannino and Maria Arianoglou challenged participants to a laboratory skills race transferring tiny volumes of different fluids to a beaker. Some of the girls decked in full lab coat, goggles and gloves mused about the possibility of their future careers in laboratory science. Our Lady of Victories Primary School won overall on the day and was sent a prize-winning lab coat for their class.
The nine and ten year old students additionally had the opportunity to explore a life-sized pregnancy torso and the uterine environment with Research Midwife Tina Prendeville. One precocious student queried, “…Miss, you mentioned that the umbilical cord transfers nutrients from the mother to the baby. Does that mean the mother isn’t left with enough?” We were floored by their knowledge and delighted by their unabashed enthusiasm. Finally, before each group moved to the next stand, pupils were invited to use further fine motor skills tasked with grabbing a single jelly bean from a large pot using only a pair of lab tweezers. No small task without fingers! One dexterous tweezer-handler declared it was “…his lucky day!” There’s no doubt it was a great day for us too!
Current STRATiGRAD PhD student Sam Cooper was on the winning team at this weekend’s Pistoia Alliance deep learning hackathon, which aimed to put together deep/machine learning researchers with scientists working in the pharmaceutical industry to promote collaborations between the fields.
At the event, a series of challenges and datasets were put forward by companies in the Pistoia Alliance. Teams were then tasked with developing innovative machine learning solutions to these challenges. Sam speaks below about his experience.
What problem were you trying to solve?
We worked on a challenge put forward by Janssen in which we had to predict the activity of a drug across 7 different biological assays given its activity in thousands of other assays. However, drugs were very rarely active and as such the data was very sparse. Such data represents a real challenge to machine learning algorithms.
What was your winning solution?
To solve this challenge we developed a neural network using functions specifically designed for very sparse data, which enabled us to predict the results of the assay more accurately than everyone else. This was helped by the fact we specially configured a cloud computing server provided by Microsoft Azure for the event to train the network using graphics cards, which can train neural networks thousands of times faster rate than the processors used on standard servers and desktop computers.
What do you plan to do with the prize money?
Have a nice relaxing weekend away that doesn’t involve programming!
Find out more about the work of Dr Veronique Azuara and Rute Tomaz in an interview following their latest paper to be published in Development last week – Jmjd2c facilitates the assembly of essential enhancer-protein complexes at the onset of embryonic stem cell differentiation.
Congratulations to Jack Leese (UG student BSc Surgery and Anaesthesia) who has been awarded the Young Investigator Prize at the Winter Meeting of the Anatomical Society for his presentation of the research conducted as part of his BSc Surgery and Anaesthesia project (supervised by Professor Ceri Davies).
The prize is awarded for research conducted as an undergraduate or a PhD student and must be presented within 1 year of graduation. His talk was entitled An Investigation of the anatomy of the Infrapatellar Fat Pad: a cadaveric study.
Congratulations to Dr Catherine Van Der Straeten (Senior Clinical Scientist in Translational Musculoskeletal Science and Technology) who has become the new Deputy Chair of the METADAC Big Data Initiative. The METADAC is a multi-agency multi-study, designed to establish an independent mechanism for the efficient and effective governance of access to biosamples and health-related data from several leading UK cohort studies. Launched in June 2015, the METADAC also seeks to provide a scalable mechanism to enable additional cohorts to be included in the future, thus relieving the need for each to produce structures, policies and guidelines at considerable additional expense.
The Deputy Chair of the METADAC is a voting member of the Committee, with additional responsibilities. Dr Van Der Straeten will bring bio-medical expertise to complement the current Chair’s social scientific background and has a strong history in the field of genetic and medical research in longitudinal studies. As part of her former job, Dr Van Der Straeten was the Medical Director of the Biobank at Ghent University Hospital, and has an extensive track record in clinical research.
Dr Van Der Straeten has also been appointed as the Surgery Subspecialty (Orthopaedics) Lead for Northwest London as part of the NIHR CRN. Thorough both positions she aims to use her influence and expertise to make a difference and help create new opportunities for the Department.
Congratulations to Professor Daqing Ma (Professor of Anaesthesia), who received an Outstanding Award from the Chinese Society of Anaesthesiology and Chinese Journal of Anesthesiology, Beijing, China, in December 2016, for his special contribution to the development and excellent achievement in Anesthesiology.
On November 29th, Imperial inaugurated the International Phenome Centre Network (IPCN), at the WISH conference in Doha. Building on the best-practices established at the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre, the IPCN will promote global harmonisation in the field of metabolic phenotyping, and using the data sets generated, conduct research to inform global public health policies and the development of new therapies.
Dame Sally Davies, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer stated:
Phenomic research really is one of the next medical frontiers which can advance our understanding of a whole raft of diseases and conditions. The way we treat autism, cancers, mental health, stroke, obesity, metabolic diseases and type 2 diabetes could all be revolutionised by research in this area. It is also really good for work to cross international boundaries to find ways of tackling the biggest global public health challenges facing us today faster.
Congratulations to Professor Ian Wilson who was awarded the Martin Medal, from the Chromatographic Society which recognises scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of separation science. Professor Wilson received the medal from Dr Tony Edge of the Chromatographic Society in the closing ceremony of the 31st International Symposium on Chromatography (ISC), which was held from the 28th August to the 1st of September 2016, at the University of Cork, Ireland.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1952 was awarded jointly to Archer John Porter Martin and Richard Laurence Millington Synge “for their invention of partition chromatography”. In 1978 Prof Martin gave permission for the Chromatographic Society (Society currently celebrating its 60th Anniversary Year) to associate his name with the Martin Medal.
Members of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Ovarian Cancer including Sharon Hodgson MP (Chair) and Mark Durkan MP visited the Imperial Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre (OCARC) last week, together with representatives from Ovarian Cancer Action, to learn about some of the ovarian research being carried out at Imperial. After some good discussion around ovarian cancer screening, genetic testing and strategies for early detection and diagnosis, the group had a tour of the OCARC labs and discussion with some of the scientists.