Blog posts

Dr Evi Kalodiki wins best oral prize

Evi Kalodiki receiving her award and certificate from Professor Mark Whiteley, president and founder of The College of Phlebology.

Congratulations to Dr Evi Kalodiki (Josef Pflug Vascular Laboratory) who has won first prize as a result of an outstanding presentation entitled: The discord outcome analysis as a method of reporting clinical trials in superficial venous interventions.

In her presentation, Dr Kalodiki recommended that all clinical studies should report discord outcomes, which is when one assessment measure is not in agreement with another assessment measure. This is required to provide transparency and prevent the over-interpretation of success. Currently, outcomes are all reporting on individual methods of assessment, which does not give a clear picture of the overall effect of an intervention on that patient.

Dr Kalodiki picked up her prize at the 2nd International Veins Meeting, held at the College of Phlebology, on behalf of her team led by Christopher R Lattimer and her co-authors, Mustapha Azzam and George Geroulakos.

Rubbing shoulders with Nobel laureates

Congratulations to Giacomo Corleone, final year PhD student in Luca Magnani’s Lab, who has been selected to attend the 68th Nobel Laureate Meeting taking place in Germany this June. The meeting brings Nobel Laureates together in Lindau to meet the next generation of leading scientists, including undergraduates, PhD students and post-doc researchers from across the world. The meeting aims to foster the exchange among scientists of different generations, cultures, and disciplines. Giacomo shares below how he got involved and what he’s looking forward to. 

I’m really pleased to have the chance to attend this memorable meeting with over 600 selected scientists and the 46 Nobel Prize Laureates in Medicine and Physiology. I heard about this annual meeting several years ago and promised myself to apply when my experience was enough to have a chance to be selected. The selection process is based on motivation, CV and research experience and being a Marie Curie funded student helped give me an International/European profile to my application, I also received a lot of support from my PI, Luca and the whole group. 

I’m looking forward to attending extraordinary motivational talks, getting the opportunity to speak with the Nobel Laureates and possibly having the chance to give a short talk about my research in front of some of the Laureates, which would be a great achievement and a milestone in my career. Furthermore, I’m sure I’ll meet some super smart colleagues working in medicine and have the opportunity to discuss our research and aim to initiate some collaborations or joint publications. I truly believe that the Lindau Nobel laureate meeting will be the greatest chance to extend my scientific network.

Giacomo will be sharing his experiences after the event on the Faculty of Medicine blog so we look forward to hearing what he gets up to. 

EMcision Limited announces that it has been acquired by Boston Scientific Corporation

In 2001, Professor Nagy Habib formed a spin out company, EMcision Limited, from Imperial College London Innovations. The company was funded by a small DTI grant arranged by Innovations to develop medical devices powered with radiofrequency energy to provide additional treatment options for patients with liver and pancreatic cancer.

In 2005, with collaboration from the Department of Engineering at Imperial College London, the first device, the HabibTM 4X, was launched and approved for use by the FDA and was awarded a European CE mark. The HabibTM 4X is bipolar radiofrequency surgical tool that provides near bloodless resection during liver and pancreas surgery. The device provides a superior method of performing liver surgery because it leads to a decrease in blood loss, a decrease in blood transfusion requirement, a decrease in tumour recurrence and improved survival.1  The technique allows the patient to be recovered in the ward rather than ICU which is a cost and resource saving measure. Imperial College Healthcare Trust was an early adopter of the device and Professor Habib believes that the device is a major contributory factor to Imperial College Healthcare Trust providing the best 1 year, 5 year and 10 year survival in England for patients with liver and pancreatic cancer and that a higher percentage of patients in Trust have surgery as a  first treatment (the gold standard of HPB care) than other Trusts in England.

The device was subsequently acquired by Rita Medical (now AngioDynamics Inc) under an exclusive licence. 70,000 units have been sold worldwide. This income has provided the company the opportunity to develop other devices.

Another medical problem that Professor Habib and the engineers wanted to tackle was palliation of patients with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is a miserable disease and accounts for nearly a million deaths annually worldwide with limited treatment options.2   While an early diagnosis improves the likelihood that a patient can meet the criteria for surgical removal of a tumour,3 currently only 40 percent of patients with cholangiocarcinoma and 20 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer are candidates for surgery at the time of presentation.4,5 

So, the HabibTM  EndoHPB, a bipolar radiofrequency endoscopic probe was developed. The probe is inserted at the same time as the patient has a biliary stent placed and radiofrequency energy is applied to palliate the tumour.  The device was pioneered by the Endoscopic Department at Hammersmith Hospital in a non-randomised clinical trial.  The results showed not only safety and ease of use of the device, but suggested that it improved survival. More recently a randomised controlled trial in patients with cholangiocarcinoma confirmed the Hammersmith’s findings that the EndoHPB does significantly improve survival.6

In March 2018, Boston Scientific acquired EMcision Limited to market the HabibTM EndoHPB more effectively.  Boston Scientific is a leading developer and marketer of medical devices with a worldwide salesforce and recognised the potential of the probe. This partnership will mean that the products developed at Imperial College London and first used at the Trust will be available to a much larger number of patients.

Animal Research Communications Workshops

This summer, Understanding Animal Research will be running five communications workshops. Each workshop focuses on a different area of communications: debating, media, public engagement, and online communications. These workshops will take place in London (The Francis Crick Institute) and Scotland (University of Stirling). There are 4 free places for Imperial staff. If you are interested in a free place, please contact societal_engagement@imperial.ac.uk by Monday 16 April 2018. Otherwise places will be charged at the non-member rate of £325 + VAT per person.

Vascular Surgery team head down under

Next week sees the UIP (International Union Of Phlebology) conference in Australia, a four yearly world congress devoted to phlebology (Venous disease).

The Section of Vascular Surgery at Imperial is well represented with Roshan Bootun, Sarah Onida, Joe Shalhoub, Francine Heatley, Rebecca Lawton, Layla Bolton Saghdaoui, Matthew Tan, Marina Kafeza, Lara Manley and Kris Milinis all travelling for presentations.

The Section has over 25 oral presentations to give during the conference, which is a fantastic effort!

In addition Sarah Onida and Tristan Lane, Lecturers appointed this year, have been nominated for the UIP Young Scientist Award, and Professor Alun Davies has been nominated for UIP Senior Scientist Award. Joe Shalhoub is presenting the results of the 2015-2017 UIP/Servier Research Fellowship awarded for the project “Metabonomic profiling for the identification of novel biomarkers in deep vein thrombosis”

We wish them the best of luck and a productive trip!

Follow the team at the UIP2018 Twitter Page and on Facebook.

Fellowship success

Huge congratulations to the following four members of the Department who have all been awarded a Fellowship:

Iros Barozzi has been awarded an Imperial College Research Fellowship (ICRF) for 3 years, starting in August 2018. He will be looking at “Large-scale, computational modelling of non-coding alterations in endocrine-therapy resistant breast cancer”. 

Claire Fletcher has been awarded an Astra Zeneca-Sponsored Imperial College Research Fellowship looking at the “Systematic Identification of Kinase Modulators of MicroRNA Biogenesis”.  This study will systematically investigate how miR production is controlled across multiple disease models to identify novel avenues for therapeutic intervention. The partnership with Astra Zeneca permits access to cutting-edge screening facilities to fuel project progress.

Evangelos Triantafyllou was recently awarded an Imperial College Research Fellowship (ICRF) for 4 years for his study entitled “The role of Mer Tyrosine Kinase expressing cells in the immunopathology of acute liver failure syndromes” under the mentorship and supervision of Dr Harry Antoniades (Reader in Hepatology, Division of Digestive Diseases, Imperial College London). The postdoctoral fellowship is based on the work he carried out during his MRC funded PhD studentship (as part of Dr Antoniades’ MRC Fellowship programme) at King’s College London and Birmingham universities. Evangelos will take up this post in October 2018.

Jorum Posma has been awarded a 3 year Health Data Research UK (HDR-UK) Fellowship, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC). The project title is “Identification of Metabolic Phenotypes and Systemic Biochemical Reaction Networks Associated with Human Blood Pressure”, the supervisors on the project are Professor Paul Elliott (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health) and Professor Jeremy Nicholson.

Dr Jennifer Steel leaves legacy in the world of science and the Scottish Highlands

Dr Jennifer (Jenny) Steel, who died aged 56 on the 25th November 2017, was employed within the Divisions of IRDB and Cancer as a Research Officer.

Jenny was a superb histologist who was meticulous and insightful. She carried out numerous studies related to hormones and mouse physiology, the results of which underpinned many further studies related to reproduction and metabolic regulation, undertaken by numerous post-doctoral scientists and postgraduate students.

Jenny published in leading journals including Development, Endocrinology, Journal of Biological Chemistry and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jenny’s skills in immunohistochemistry facilitated many valuable collaborations both internal and external to the College, and will positively impact on evaluating stratification biomarkers for cancer, which are now incorporated into plans for clinical trials, which will improve the treatment of cancer patients.

Following Jenny’s ill-health retirement in January 2017, Jenny wrote and published a book entitled Histology, Immunohistochemistry and In Situ Hybridisation, Lab Protocols.

In addition, Jenny set up a grove of trees in the Scottish Highlands, to create homes for wildlife and forests for the future, with many friends and colleagues donating to her memorial grove.

Jenny is survived by her parents, a brother and sister and will be missed by her family, extended family and her many friends, both at Imperial and those who joined her in her passion for nature, wildlife and chorister activities.

Find out more about Jenny’s Trees for Life memorial grove.

Submit abstracts for upcoming bowel cancer conference

Bowel Cancer UK are holding their first Colorectal Cancer Research Conference on 24-25 April 2018 at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. The event will showcase a wealth of the latest research and bring together clinicians, scientists and healthcare professionals to debate and discuss the challenges and opportunities for bowel cancer.

Submit your abstract to be considered for either an oral or poster presentation by Wednesday 31 January. Selected abstracts will be published in the UK’s leading colorectal journal, Colorectal Disease. Don’t miss this opportunity to promote your research.

Find out more and register at bowelcanceruk.org.uk/research/colorectal-cancer-research-conference-2018/.

Prestigious Prostate Cancer Research Award

Congratulations to Professor Hashim Ahmed who has been awarded the Prostate Cancer Research Award from the European Association of Urology (EAU) for his paper on “Diagnostic accuracy of multi-parametric MRI and TRUS biopsy in prostate cancer (PROMIS): a paired validating confirmatory study”.

Professor Ahmed will receive his prize at the Opening Ceremony of the 33rd EAU Congress in Copenhagen on Friday 16 March 2018.

Maca”poo”n Catcher Scoops Top Prize at the Surgery Bake off

Congratulations to Natalia Kurek who won this years Surgery Bake off for her Maca”poo”n Catcher, which was inspired by the bowel screening kit designed to increase the uptake of bowel screening by the HELIX Centre, which featured plum and chocolate flavoured macaroons. This year’s theme for the final was “All things Ara Darzi” and Prof Darzi’s favourite poo catcher innovation was up against the “Ara Dartea” Armenian cake, inspired by Prof Darzi’s favourite green tea, which was made by Lenny Naar and Madeleine Maxwell from the HELIX Centre.

Further entries included pumpkin macaroons in the graveyard for the Halloween theme by Natalia Kurek and Persian love cakes by Lenny Naar, along with an apple and fig Venn diagram tart on the theme “Autumn”, made by an unprecedented collaboration by both Lenny and Madeleine, who chose to bake that round together rather than competing against each other.

 

Estates Operations Christmas Arrangements

College closes 23 December 2017, re-opening on 2 January 2018

Reduce your environmental impact

  • Turn down radiator thermostats, local air conditioning, switch off electrical equipment (PCs, printers, lab equipment)
  • Shut windows, curtains and blinds, switch off lighting

Housekeeping

To minimise the risk of floods and fires:

  • Remove waste (combustibles such as paper and card).
  • Unplug portable or temporary heaters and non-essential electrical equipment
  • Disconnect laboratory equipment from the water supply

Reception and Security Arrangements

Reception Desks will close at 4pm 22 December and re-open at normal time on 2 January.

Restricted access to College buildings 6pm Friday 22 December 2017 to 7am Tuesday 2 January 2018. 

Need to work on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day? Contact your Head of Department.

The Security Control Office will be staffed 24/7 – 020 7589 1000.

Maintenance, Cleaning and Waste Services

Standby engineers are on call in the event of emergency and can be contacted on 48000.

Hammersmith campus: A maintenance service will operate throughout the closure period on ext. 32418 and via the switchboard.  (For Burlington Danes call 48000.)

If you work in an NHS building please check with the NHS for local arrangements or speak to your Building Manager.

Inspiring the next generation of research midwives

Imperial College research midwives embraced the opportunity to showcase the varied career of midwifery to young people at the Creative Culture public engagement event held on the 17th November 2017, with the event providing the perfect opportunity to highlight the pathway for midwives into a varied career which can include clinical research.

Creative Quarter is an annual event which offers secondary school students the chance to explore different career paths in art, science, design, technology, music and drama.  This event showcases the rich tapestry of professions and disciplines that are featured within the Exhibition Road enclave of South Kensington.  During the event, 400 students ages 13- 18 attended demonstration lectures, took part in interactive exhibits and found out more about careers in science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) at Imperial.  Midwives from the Women’s Health Research Centre added to this offering by illustrating to students the wide range of creative opportunities available to midwives today.

As luck would have it, the event coincided with World Prematurity Day 2017, providing a perfect handle from which to discuss an area of research in which midwives are active.  Research Midwives Rachel Akers, Malko Adan and Alison Perry were on hand to talk about some of the current prematurity research at Imperial, as well as the wider research agenda in reproductive health and childbearing.

We considered prematurity with students in a global context and contemplated both reasons and remedies for prematurity. We had multiple bags of sugar on hand to help with conceptualizing disparities in baby sizes which made for some vibrant dialogue and theorizing.  One student shared with us that she, herself had been born premature, weighing only 1 kilogram at birth, she smiled with a bag of caster sugar in hand.

Additionally, we looked at the physiology and mechanics of birth with a torso, doll and placenta.  Students bounced away on birth balls at our table while nibbling on jelly babies self-served with a pair of laboratory tweezers.

We were charmed to learn that many of the students knew their own birth stories including a student who knew that she was born “in the caul”. We marvelled at the precociousness of some students who wondered about possible disadvantages of being born by caesarean section and others who considered the possible difficulties of being born in a low-income setting. Overall, we were astounded by the level of inquiry from the students and also delighted to facilitate the many questions of their teachers, too. Creative Quarter display tables were set up in the foyer of the Main Entrance hall on Exhibition Road, which meant we also had the opportunity to chat with some of our Imperial College colleagues and to settle some of their own burning questions around birth.

The day ended on a high as some students left with helium balloons (which were around the size of a 30-week uterus) and others left with pockets lined of jelly babies for the bus ride back to school.  Undoubtedly, all of the students left with the creativity, intrigue and possibility of the midwifery profession firmly in their minds.

Departmental Meeting: Part 1

Yesterday we held a very successful World Café meeting at Hammersmith Campus and are very grateful to all those who attended and to Jess Taylor for facilitating. This meeting is the first of two, with the second taking place on Wednesday 17 January in Baden Powell House, very close to the South Kensington Campus.

We very much look forward to seeing many other staff on 17th January to continue the conversations – building on the key issues raised yesterday:

  • Recognition of roles and achievements – academic and other;
  • Appreciation and respect from colleagues and leaders- across all roles and, importantly, between professional services and academic staff (saying ‘thank you’ came up more than once);
  • Feeling their roles are of worth and valued, and that they are valued as people; collegiate behaviour;
  • A stronger sense of community, within the department, between sites and with IC more widely;
  • Better quality of communication; how, when and why things get communicated clarity of process, accountability and transparency;
  • Visibility and accessibility (approachability) of leaders

Updates and Achievements from the Section of Vascular Surgery

Updates

  • 2 clinical lecturers appointed this year (one NIHR funded) – Tristan Lane and Sarah Onida
  • 2 new research fellows appointed – Amar Abdullah and Lydia Hanna
  • We now have monthly cross-site research meetings with research staff based at Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s Hospital

Achievements

Sarah Onida – Clinical Lecturer in Vascular Surgery

  • Second prize at the American College of Phlebology for the following oral presentation: “Clinical Scoring, Disease Specific Quality of life and Duplex Features in Chronic Venous Disease”
  • First prize at the VI International Interuniversity Meeting for the following oral presentation: “The relationship between disease-specific clinical and quality of life scores in chronic venous disease”
  • EIT Health Doctoral Transition Fellowship 2017 (€10,000)

Matt Tan – BSc student

  • Second prize at the VI International Interuniversity Meeting for the following oral presentation: “Thrombophilia in non-thrombotic chronic venous disease of the lower limb”

Joseph Shalhoub Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer in Vascular Surgery

  • Recipient of the Gold Medal for the highest mark in the Fellow of the European Board of Vascular Surgery (FEBVS) examinations in Lyon, France, September 2017. The award was presented at the European Society for Vascular Surgery 31st Annual Meeting.

Roshan Bootun – Research postgraduatee

  • First Prize at the European Venous forum for the presentation of COMETA study.

Achievements from the Divisions of Cancer and Reproductive and Developmental Biology

Dr Wei Cui recently received a Blue Flame award from Addgene (a non-profit company who distribute plasmids within scientific communities), as a result of one of her plasmids being distributed to over 100 laboratories worldwide.


Dr Vessela Vassileva

  • ESMO Award to attend the Colorectal Cancer Preceptorship in Barcelona
  • CRUK Imperial Centre Development Fund
  • Industrial collaboration with Molecular Templates
  • Poster presentation at the Precision Medicine and Cancer Models Meeting at Royal Society of Medicine
  • NCRI Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research Working Group – designing and developing a capability map highlighting information on pre-clinical tumour models and radiotherapy facilities across the UK in collaboration with CRUK
  • Contributed to Guest Editorial Review in the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Pharmaco-imaging Group Newsletter and also used the opportunity to highlight the Imperial CRUK centre in the Newsletter
  • Cancer Research UK activity for the Creative Quarter Exhibition – Conversation C

Dr Kathrin Heinzmann

  • European Association of Nuclear Medicine Congress 2017 – Best Paper Award
  • Poster presentation at the Precision Medicine and Cancer Models Meeting at Royal Society of Medicine
  • Review Article in Nature Reviews Biomedical Engineering – Multiplexed Imaging for Diagnosis and Therapy
  • Cancer Research UK activity for the Creative Quarter Exhibition – Conversation C

Outstanding Achievement in Medicine

Professor Francesca Cordeiro with her GG2 Outstanding Achievement in Medicine Award.

Huge congratulations to Professor Francesca Cordeiro (Professor of Ophthalmology) who won the GG2 Outstanding Achievement in Medicine Award, at the 2017 GG2 Leadership Awards, hosted and attended by the great and the good, including the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. These awards provide a unique platform to celebrate a multicultural Britain, recognising talent, while offering organisations a better understanding, reach and penetration into the black, Asian and ethnic communities, with its year-long programme of activities.

Professor Cordeiro received the following accolade when receiving her award:

“Professor Cordeiro is an outstanding individual who is one of the finest clinicians working in Britain today. A professor at one of the country’s top teaching hospitals, she has an exceptional record of cutting-edge research, which has pushed the barriers of medicine ever further. An innovator with an extraordinary gift of skill and knowledge, she is one of the world’s leading authorities in her medical field.”