We wish to congratulate Mr Christopher Lattimer, Honorary Consultant from the West London Vascular and Interventional Centre, for his lecture on discord outcomes on the anterior accessory saphenous vein 5-year results at the 15th Romanian Congress of Phlebology 2017 held in Timisoara. The photograph is of him receiving the certificate of excellence (right) from Professor Sorin Olariu (left), who is the head of the department at ”Victor Babeș” Timișoara, Romania. Mr Lattimer from the Josef Pflug Vascular Laboratory, Ealing Hospital & Imperial College, recommended in his presentation that the discord outcome analysis (DOA) should become part of the reporting standard of all randomised clinical trials on superficial venous intervention. Currently, only successful outcomes are reported in isolation which may give misleading information. Highlighting the discrepancies when one outcome is in disagreement with another outcome will provide transparency. This is an outcome currently lacking from all RCTs on superficial venous intervention.
Scientific conferences are an essential mechanism for the communication of scientific findings, career networking and collaboration. However, there is no formal training for conferences and opportunities to attend such meetings are often strictly limited due to their high cost.
Therefore, to help students within the Division of Infectious Diseases (DID) acquire conference experience, a PhD Student Away Day was organised with funding support from the supplies company Qiagen. The event took place on 30 November 2017 at LT2 Wolfson Education Centre, Hammersmith Campus.
In total 85 students attended the day, including participants from each Section within DID based on four campuses. To create the atmosphere of a student-led conference, the only academics present were Professor Charles Bangham (Head, DID), Principle Investigators who voted for the best presentation and poster, and co-organisers Dr Sophie Helaine and Dr Nathalie MacDermott. This helped to ensure that students were able to ask questions and lead discussions, which can sometimes be dominated by senior academics at national or international conferences. (more…)
The undergraduate School’s annual awards ceremony took place on Wednesday 15 November at Imperial’s Charing Cross campus.
In conjunction with the Medical Students’ Union, teaching staff of all levels and disciplines are recognised with a variety of awards, spanning both clinical and non-clinical teachers, personal tutors, teaching fellows and student support roles.
Students who nominate staff members are invited to speak about the recipient prior to each award’s presentation. This year, each noted in particular the care and attention given to individual students, and the emphasis put on the importance of learning, by the staff members recognised. (more…)
We have had two clinical lecturers appointed this year (including one NIHR funded) – Tristan Lane and Sarah Onida
We have had two new research fellows appointed to the department: Amar Abdullah and Lydia Hanna
Sarah Onida – Clinical Lecturer in Vascular Surgery
November 2017 – 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”
September 2017 – 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”
Held in Lyon in September, Janet’s lecture at the annual meeting focused on evidence-based vascular surgery. Janet will also be giving the British Journal of Surgery invited lecture at the annual meeting of the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland on 24 November in Manchester. (more…)
Since 2003, Imperial College School of Medicine, together with Imperial College School of Medicine Student’s Union, have held an annual awards programme recognising the valued contributions of clinical teachers and support staff in delivering its undergraduate medicine course.
Teaching was recognized with the following awards:
Dr Gareth Tudor-Williams, Reader and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases, has received a Distinguished Teacher Award in the Imperial College Teaching Excellence Awards for 2017. Dr Tudor-Williams is co-director for the Year 5 MBBS Paediatrics course and has a large educational role for both Imperial College School of Medicine undergraduates, the new medical school in Singapore (a joint venture between Imperial College and Nanyang Technical University) and an international role in postgraduate education particularly relating to HIV infection in children. His research interests include blood-borne virus infections in children especially HIV, HBV and HCV.
Miss Gita Lobo came third place in the oral presentations at the Royal Society of Medicine Venous Forum, Wimpole Street, 11-12 July 2017. The research was on evaluating the efficiency of the calf muscle pump using simultaneous duplex ultrasound over the popliteal vein and air-plethysmography (APG) around the calf.
During her prize-winning presentation, Gita confirmed previous work that the tip-toe ankle joint manoeuvre is suboptimal as a pump. She went on to demonstrate that body weight transfer or a walking step movement was much better at pumping. Significant correlations were observed in calf volume reduction (APG) versus blood volume ejection out of the calf (duplex). Bimodal velocity profiles were evaluated with ultrasound indicating the complexity of pumping and the involvement of different muscle groups. (more…)
Professor Irene Miguel-Aliaga, group head at the MRC LMS, has been elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). “This is a highlight of my career and I’m really pleased,” she said. In further EMBO-related success, Alessandro Mineo a postdoc in Miguel-Aliaga’s lab, has been awarded an EMBO Long Term Fellowship – to find out more about changes in the gut during pregnancy.
A hat trick of success for cancer researcher
It has been one success after another for PhD student Holly Newton of the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (MRC LMS) recently. First, Newton won a travel grant to attend a conference in Japan. Once there she won the poster competition. On returning home she presented her poster at the LMS retreat, and again scooped the institute’s “Rosa Beddington” poster prize. (more…)
On1 January 2017 MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) became the new name of the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre. This is the start of a new chapter of investment in the LMS. After 20 years of outstanding science, we’re building our reputation for excellence in biomedical research. With a mission to build strong links between science and medicine, the LMS will continue to work in close partnership with Imperial College London at its Hammersmith Hospital campus.
New year’s honour list for LMS director
Amanda Fisher, Director of the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, has been made a Dame in the New Year’s Honours List for 2017. (more…)
This event took place on Wednesday 16 November at the Drewe Lecture Theatre and was a chance for all our valued NHS teachers to be recognised for all the hard work they put into teaching our medical students. Primary Care was represented by Dr Beena Gohil, who won a Teaching Excellence Award.
Also featured was the inaugural lecture of Professor Mark Nelson, Lead of HIV services at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital – “Patient Zero to PrEP: HIV past, present and future”. (more…)
The College has been awarded £5M from Wellcome for the next five years, continuing the Institute Strategic Support Fund which has been instrumental in supporting biomedical research across the College over the past 5 years. The scheme has previously funded numerous internal funding streams targeting the enhancement of multidisciplinary research, the support of early career researchers, strategic initiatives enhancing support for priority themes and public engagement activities. Through strategic allocation of £7.5M funding since 2011/2012, the scheme has supported more than 380 investigators through 185 awards across the College and in turn leveraged a further £53M in follow-on funding.
In 2016/2017, the ISSF scheme will support Clinical Research Careers through Global Health Fellowships and Clinician Researchers schemes and non-clinical researchers through Faculty Fellowships. The scheme will also support key initiatives to promote collaboration and will ensure the College is supporting an inclusive research environment. All opportunities for funding will be advertised on the internal funding opportunities webpage.
Dr Sarah Wagstaffe Head of Research Strategy Faculty of Medicine
Gala dinner celebrations after the congress. Left to right. Professor Giuseppe Andreozzi (Padova), Dr Evi Kalodiki (Imperial College London), Dr Christopher Lattimer (Imperial College London)Preview Changes & Dr Sergio Gianesini (University of Ferrara).
The three prize winners at the international inaugural Phlebosophy congress 23-24 September 2016 were Dr Roberto Parisi (San Giovanni e Paolo Hospital, Venice), Christopher Lattimer and Sergio Gianesini. Each received a brass paperweight inspired by the ancient Athenian tetradrachm, 5th century BC. The meeting was held at the Centro culturale Don Orione Artigianelli in Venice with Dimitrios Kontothanassis (Istituto Flebologico Italiano, Ferrara) as president who awarded the prizes.
During his lecture, Christopher Lattimer PhD proposed a theory as to why some patients present late in the course of their venous disease. “Patients without pain do not have the signals required to undergo anti-gravitational activities like compression or elevation or to seek help. It is these patients who do not experience pain on dependency which are the ones that progress to venous ulceration.”
The start of June saw the Department of Medicine hold its annual Teaching Awards Ceremony. Awards were given to over 20 members of academic staff for their outstanding contribution to teaching and supervision, nominated by current students. Those honoured included teaching fellow & Short Course Director Wayne Mitchell for his support on a number of courses including MSc Molecular Medicine and MSc Molecular Biology and Pathology of Viruses and. On nominating Wayne one student noted “Wayne has guided and helped me so much throughout my course. He has certainly gone above and beyond what was expected of him”.
Course Director for MSc Immunology Sophie Rutschmann was awarded the Department’s top award for contribution to postgraduate teaching. On nominating Sophie one student noted “I feel she has a genuine, heartfelt interest in the MSc she coordinates, and that gives an extraordinary positive spirit to the course. The time and thought she has invested into us is greatly appreciated. I am very grateful for her dedication and determination to teach us well.”
Course Administrator Fiona Bibby also received a Head of Department award for her support to the MRes Clinical Research programme.
It was a great opportunity to celebrate our teaching staff and for current students to show their appreciation.
Celeste Miles Course Administrator Department of Medicine
Dr Beth Holder, a researcher in Imperial’s Department of Medicine, struck Bronze at a competition in the House of Commons, for the excellence of her biological/biomedical research, walking away with a £1,000 prize.
Beth presented her biology research to dozens of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of the poster competition SET for Britain, on Monday 7 March.
Her research, which focuses on communication between the mother’s immune system and the placenta during pregnancy, was judged against 59 other shortlisted researchers’ work and came out as one of the three winners.
“It may surprise people that, despite it’s vital role in pregnancy at giving everyone the best start in life, the placenta is considered the least understood organ in the human body. My work aims to understand how the mother’s immune system communicates with the placenta and baby during pregnancy using microscopic ‘parcels’ called exosomes that send messages between cells in the human body. This communication between mother and placenta may be particularly important in cases when the mother’s immune system is altered, such as inflammation, infection or allergy. I was delighted to have this fantastic opportunity to communicate my research at SET for BRITAIN, and thrilled to win the bronze award. I hope that I raised the profile of placental research, and highlighted the importance of funding further research in this area.”
SET for Britain aims to help politicians understand more about the UK’s thriving science and engineering base and rewards some of the strongest scientific and engineering research being undertaken in the UK.
Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair of the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee, sponsors of the Bronze Award for Biological and Biomedical Sciences, said: “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.
“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”
Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Biology, said: “Scientists and politicians both have major roles in addressing some of society’s biggest challenges, from climate change to food security. SET for Britain is a rare opportunity for politicians to meet some of our most promising early career scientists and understand their work.
“It is important that MPs make policy decisions informed by evidence, and a greater mutual understanding between MPs and scientists will improve this. The Government needs to ensure the UK continues to lead the world in biological research where we have enormous strength”.
Prof. Richard Vaughan-Jones, President of The Physiological Society, said “The UK has an excellent biomedical research base for which physiology provides fundamental understanding and direction. SET for Britain provides a unique opportunity for parliamentarians to engage with the scientific research that government funds and recognise the skills of our scientists training and working in the UK. The Physiological Society is extremely pleased to continue its longstanding support for this event.”
The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee runs the event in collaboration with the Council for Mathematical Sciences, the Institute of Physics, The Physiological Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Society of Biology, with financial support from Essar, the Clay Mathematics Institute, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), the Institute of Biomedical Science, the Bank of England and the Society of Chemical Industry.
On Wednesday 3 February the Department of Medicine hosted Young Scientist Day 2016. This annual event, designed to benefit both PhD students and Postdocs, saw a full programme of activities which included a PhD poster competition, a Departmental ‘3-minute thesis’ competition, guest speakers and a networking drinks event for all attendees.
The event was hugely popular and welcomed a large number of research students and a handful of MRes and MSc students who joined in the day’s events.
The morning was dedicated to poster presentations where research students from all five divisions had the opportunity to display their recent work to their colleagues and the judges who circulated throughout the morning.
The standard of posters was very high and after careful deliberation the three winners selected were:
First Prize: Vera Pader, (Microbiology) ‘Characterisation of a cryptic daptomycin-resistance mechanism in Staphylococcus aureus’
Second Prize: Alan Liu, (Clinical Neuroscience) ‘Clarifying the human brain’
Third Prize: Miles Priestman, (Microbiology) ‘Drug-Tolerance in Mycobacteria’
The afternoon was dedicated to the Department’s ‘3-Minute Thesis’ competition which saw one PhD student from each Section Cohort present their thesis research to a judging panel in only three minutes. The challenge included twelve students from different divisions who communicated their research to the judges and answered questions from the audience.
After a series of entertaining presentations, the prizes were awarded to Iris Scherwitzl for her presentation ‘The role of Mucosal- Associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells during dengue infection’ and Leor Roseman who spoke about ‘Reconstructing eyes-closed psychedelic imagery’.
Both Iris and Leor will progress to the College’s ‘3-Minute Thesis’ competition hosted by the Graduate School and we wish them the best of luck.
We also enjoyed two entertaining talks from Postdoc Laura Nellums and Research Fellow Bryn Owen who provided some useful and good-humoured advice about life after a PhD and their experiences in further research, both of which included international career paths. PhD students had the opportunity to ask Laura and Bryn questions about their respective careers in research before the evening was rounded off by a networking drinks session which provided a more relaxed setting for students, judges and speakers to socialise and muse over the day’s activities.
Young Scientist Day 2016 would not have been possible without the generous support of the Graduate School, who provided funding for refreshments and prizes in support of the day’s cohort building activities. We also express our thanks to Dr Kevin Murphy, and to a number of other academics and Postdocs, who gave up their time to act as judges for the poster and presentation sessions.
We look forward to making Young Scientist Day 2017 even bigger and better.
Zainab Al Shareef, a PhD student in the Wnt team of the Prostate Cancer Group in the Division of Cancer, has been awarded a prestigious Distinguished Scholarship Award in the category of Innovative Ideas by the Ministry of Interior, Abu Dhabi/United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is the first year for these awards, which were created to honour Emirati scholarship students from government and private agencies from around the world.
Zainab was presented with the award by General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior. The ceremony, held in the presence of Her Excellency Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, President of the Federal National Council, took place at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Abu Dhabi on January 6th. Zainab’s proposal was to establish a Tumour Bank in the UAE with the dual aims of tackling the genetic causes of cancer that are most prevalent in this region and improving the academic and financial sectors through establishment of a postgraduate research plan that integrates with the global biotechnology market. Zainab was previously honoured by the UAE embassy in London for high academic achievement.
Dr Claire Fletcher, of the Androgen Signalling Laboratory, Division of Cancer, has been awarded a prestigious Young Investigator Award by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of the USA. The stated aim of the PCF in creating these awards, which are very rarely awarded outside of the US, is “to identify a cohort of future research leaders who will keep the field of prostate cancer research vibrant with new ideas.”
Claire will be using the award to pursue her innovative translational research programme at Imperial College, mentored both by Professor Charlotte Bevan in her host laboratory and also by Prof Johann de Bono at the Institute of Cancer Research, cementing and developing the collaboration between the 2 laboratories and indeed institutes. Her work focuses on identification of microRNA drivers of therapy resistance in prostate cancer, with the aim of both increasing therapy options and also of providing biomarkers to enable effective patient stratification.
“I am thrilled to have received a Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award. This grant will allow me to vastly accelerate our promising research into the mechanisms through which prostate cancers continually evolve to develop resistance to even the most effective drugs – an area which remains poorly understood.
In the future, this knowledge will help us to develop more effective therapeutics and tailor treatments to individual patients.” – Dr Claire Fletcher.
Systematic Identification of MicroRNA Drivers of Resistance to Novel Therapeutics in Advanced Prostate Cancer – Exploitation as Stratification Biomarkers and Drug Targets
Prostate cancer (PC) is the most prevalent malignancy of Western males, affecting 1 in 8 men in their lifetime. Relapse on first-line anti-androgen treatment occurs almost invariably, leading to advanced ‘castration-resistant PC (CRPC), metastasis and patient death. Next-generation therapeutics that target the androgen receptor (AR) or alternative oncogenic signalling pathways, alongside taxane-based chemotherapeutics, demonstrate efficacy in the CRPC setting. However, only 50% of men respond to taxane-based chemotherapy, and acquired resistance to novel AR-targetting agents is emerging due to intra-tumoral androgen production or AR amplification. This necessitates urgent identification of new therapeutics and drug targets for CRPC, and discovery of resistance-predicting biomarkers.
MiRs are small 18-22nt RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression. They can function as ‘oncomiRs’ or tumour suppressors and show altered expression in CRPC. They are readily detectable in bodily fluids from patients, demonstrating considerable biomarker potential, and represent ideal therapeutics due to their small size, high stability and low toxicity. I have previously demonstrated that miRs dramatically alter AR activity, growth and metastatic potential in CRPC and that levels of putative oncomiRs are altered by novel CRPC drug treatment. Further, miRs are associated with chemotherapy resistance.
This project will use small RNA sequencing and functional assays to identify miRs that play fundamental roles in development of resistance to mechanistically-distinct novel CRPC agents in clinically-relevant CRPC models, and will generate miR biomarker ‘signature’ arrays that can predict resistance to such therapeutics. This will inform clinical management of PC and avoid the considerable morbidity and toxicity of agents that may not benefit a given patient. Development of therapies targeting resistance-promoting miRs may provide an additional treatment option for CRPC patients, increasing disease survival.
The Department of Surgery and Cancer is delighted that Michael Uren has been knighted in the Queens New Year’s honours list 2016. Michael received the honour in recognition of his philanthropic activities. Over the last 8 years, The Michael Uren Foundation has given an astonishing £100m to good causes, across a wide range of topics, many of them unheralded. His Foundation has been a staunch supporter of the MSk lab for almost a decade, but recently changed the course of Imperial by pledging £40m to support the creation of the Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Hub at White City Campus. This 12 story building will allow Imperial to grow the next generation of engineers, scientists and medics in a purpose built environment where the lower floors house clinical intervention space, allowing devices to be designed, developed and trialed on site.
Sir Michael is a familiar face to many in the Department, and particularly in the MSk lab, having visited on several occasions to see the work his generous donations have supported. The Foundation’s gifts have played a vital role in helping us develop new areas of work, purchase cutting-edge equipment and build and sustain a talented, cross-disciplinary team of researchers. The flexibility afforded by these gifts has also been exceptionally important in allowing us to direct philanthropic resources into priority areas where corporate and research funding is not currently available. We look forward to welcoming Sir Michael on his next visit.
The award ceremony was held at the Hilton Bonnet Creek Hotel on 15th November 2015 where Dr Armen Roupenian presented the certificate to me with a monetary prize.
The work explained how the calf muscle pump works in augmenting the venous return and the contribution of the GEKO device in achieving this target. Suggestions were made as to how the device could be improved to maximise efficiency in the prevention of DVT.
Mr Chris Lattimer Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer
Department of Surgery and Cancer
The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) paid tribute to some of the country’s leading medical researchers at its prestigious SAMRC Scientific Merit Awards in Cape Town. The esteemed President’s Award as well as the Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards were presented to scientists whose work has had a monumental impact on health science in South Africa.
Professor Wilkinson, Senior Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in the Department of Medicine, received the Gold Award on 29 October. His work has focused on clinical and immunological aspects of tuberculosis – particularly in the context of HIV infection.
The Faculty Education Office has again achieved the national standard ‘Putting the Customer First’ in recognition of its outstanding customer service culture and delivery.
Established in 2004, Customer First is an independent organisation that aims to improve service delivery to customers by ensuring that institutions are assessed, developed and supported to a quality standard.
The FEO first achieved the Customer First standard in 2012, which comprises 30 principles of excellent service. Customer service champions at each campus promote awareness and good practice at a local level and also supported the arrangements for the assessment.
Examples of the FEO’s efforts to continually improve the student experience include a completely modernised student reception at the South Kensington campus, providing a more welcoming environment, the introduction of iPads across programmes and a new curriculum map for the medicine programme which is about to launch to students.
“A huge thank you to all staff who have been involved in meeting the Customer First standard once again,” said Chris Harris, Quality and Educational Development Manager in the FEO who led the original and re-accreditation. “This is a fantastic reflection of the team’s hard work and commitment.”
“I am absolutely delighted with the outcome,” adds Susan English, Director of Education Management and executive sponsor of the project. “The assessor was very positive and recognised the wide-ranging improvements we have introduced since our previous assessment and our on-going trajectory of innovation.
“It is really gratifying to have external recognition for the FEO’s focus on improving the student experience.”
Ben Campion Communications Manager Imperial College School of Medicine
Four members of Prof Steven Marston’s group in the Myocardial Function section of NHLI attended the Alternative Motor and Muscle Club (AMMC) conference hosted by the University of Kent, Canterbury on 10th and 11th September. The AMMC is a special meeting exclusively for PhD students and postdocs that encourages full participation from the delegates and drives stimulating discussions and networking opportunities in an informal setting with no PI present. Such a unique blend of science and fun in a relaxed atmosphere is a great advertisement for muscle and motor protein research biology and the scientific world itself. It has been running for 30 years and provides an excellent template for student and postdoc networking.
We are happy to announce that the Imperial College researchers won all three poster presentation prizes. The awards went to:
1- “Investigation of obscurin and titin mutations and haploinsufficiency in hearts of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy” – presented by Dr Natalia Smoktunowicz
2- “Characterisation of sudden death pathologies in the E99K actin mouse model of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy” – presented by Tom Owen
3- “Primary effects of HCM mutations in humans and cats” – presented by Dr Andrew Messer
We are also pleased to announce that the next AMMC meeting will be hosted by our group at Imperial College London, full details to follow.
Dr Natalia Smoktunowicz Postdoctoral Research Associate National Heart and Lung Institute