Author: Kathryn Johnson

For she’s a jolly good fellow


Huge congratulations go to Aimee di Marco (Clinical Lecturer in the Divison of Surgery) who won the Gold Medal for the best overall candidate in the examinations for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Aimee received her award at the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, in Liverpool last week and is pictured above with her 5-month-old, who she was 6 months pregnant with at the time of sitting her viva and clinical. So I think we can all agree this is a very impressive achievement!

Outstanding Contribution to Anaesthesiology

Professor Daqing Ma, Professor of Anaesthesia and BOC Chair, has been granted an Outstanding Contribution Award for his great contribution to the world of anaesthesiology development.

Professor Ma received the award during a joint ceremony between the International Chinese Academy of Anesthesiology (Philadelphia, USA) and the Chinese Association of Anesthesiologists (Beijing, China), which was held in Kunming, China, on the 14th of April 2018.

Professor Nadey Hakim advises on diabetes and gains honour in Belgrade

Professor Nadey Hakim has been appointed as Ambassador to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Diabetes. This role will enable the group to keep informed of developments in the area of diabetes and recognises the importance that cardiovascular issues have on diabetes.

Professor Hakim has also been awarded the title of Honorary Visiting Professor of the Faculty of Medicine of Belgrade. You can read more about this role and Prof Hakim’s various other talents, one of which is sculpture!

Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Roger Greenhalgh has been awarded the first International Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society of Vascular Surgery (SVS) International Relations Committee, in light of his contributions that have made lasting impacts on vascular surgery both in the United Kingdom and globally.

This new award has been designed by the SVS to honour living legends in vascular surgery. Most regional Vascular Societies around the globe, including the European Society for Vascular Surgery were asked to participate in the process by submitting names of individuals they thought were candidates for this award. Many excellent candidates were submitted and after careful review, the IRC and the executive board of the SVS made a unanimous decision to grant Professor Greenhalgh this award in recognition of his tremendous accomplishments and contributions to their specialty.

Professor Greenhalgh will be presented with his award at the Vascular Annual Meeting, taking place in Boston on the 23 June 2018.

Scholar in training award

Congratulations to Clinical Research Fellow, Liam Poynter who has been awarded a Scholar-In-Training Award from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), for his abstract entitled “Modulation of cellular phospholipids correlates with tumor regression grade and radio resistance in rectal cancer”.

Liam presented his research at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, which took place last in Chicago on the 14 April 2018.

Provost’s Award for Excellence in Health and Safety

Steffe Klier and Larry Koomson receiving the award from Imperial Provost James Stirling

Congratulations to Julia Anderson and the Safety Improvement Team at St Mary’s campus, who have just received a Provost’s Award nomination for Excellence in Health and Safety, in recognition of their work towards an integrated approach to Health & Safety management across the St Mary’s campus.

The award recognises the sustained contribution to the improvement in safe working, initiated and led by Julia and supported by the laboratory-facing academic and research members of the former Division of Digestive Diseases in the Department of Surgery and Cancer.

This nomination reflects the exceptional level of commitment and enthusiasm with which the Divisional team delivered the improvement required. One year later, the College Safety Auditor, Julia Cotton has stated that it’s been extremely encouraging to see the changes in the Division, and for staff to have commented on the improvements directly to her.

The Safety Improvement Team comprises of Prof Mark Thursz, Prof Julian Marchesi, Dr Julie McDonald, Dr Wafa Khamri, Ms Steffi Klier and Mr Larry Koomson. This team was supported and encouraged by Neil Chapman and Roger White, and was assisted by the College Building Managers Anna McDadd and Sue Francis.

Prestigious Toxicology Award

Congratulations to Professor Nigel Gooderham who has been awarded the honour of the Bo Holmstedt Memorial Lecture from EUROTOX, the Federation of European Toxicologists and European Societies of Toxicology.

The Bo Holmstedt Memorial Lecture is presented every year to recognise scientists who have made outstanding research contributions to the science of drug or chemical toxicology, with particular emphasis given to recent research contributions in this field. When asked, Professor Gooderham commented that he was staggered and extremely honoured to receive this recognition.

Professor  Gooderham will give his lecture at the EUROTOX annual congress in Brussels this September, where he will be presented with his certificate and prize. He will then go on to present this lecture at the Society of Toxicology’s annual meeting, being held in Baltimore in March 2019.

Honorary Fellowship to Royal College of Physicians

Professor Jeremy Nicholson has been elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London), in recognition of his contributions to the field of medicine.

The Royal College of Physicians of London was founded in 1518 by Henry VIII and oversees the training and professional standards of Physicians in England and across the globe. The highest accolade the Royal College can give is the Honorary Fellowship, which is given to distinguished individuals who have made very important contributions to medical science and the development of the profession.

Professor Nicholson will attend a ceremony later in the year as part of the Royal College of Physician’s 500 year anniversary.

International Prize for Vascular Laboratory

Dr Kalodiki receiving the AVF handbook prize from Dr Glenn Jacobowitz (Recorder) having also received her certificate from Dr Marc Passman (President).

At the 30th annual American Venous Forum meeting Dr Evi Kalodiki from the Josef Pflug Vascular Laboratory, Ealing Hospital, received the prize for best poster presentation.

Dr Kalodiki is an honorary consultant in vascular surgery at Ealing Hospital and is affiliated with Imperial College, the West London Vascular and Interventional Centre and the Thrombosis & Haemostasis research laboratory, Loyola University Chicago, USA.

In her presentation, Dr Kalodiki discussed the hot topic of an antidote to dabigatran which is a new oral anticoagulant. This is important because such an antidote (idarucizumab) may be required in an emergency setting, like haemorrhage, when rapid reversal of anti-coagulation is required. Idarucizumab acts by binding to the benzamidine group of dabigatran, thereby inhibiting its anti-thrombin activity.

This is of clinical importance because simultaneous administration of idarucizumab may compromise the pharmacodynamic profile of benzamidine derived drugs such the anti-psychotics, anti-fungals, anti-malarials and other compounds.

Poster Prize at the Nuclear Receptors Conference in Mexico

Ylenia on the left with her certificate, along with the conference organisers Karen Knudsen, Charlotte Bevan and Wayne Tilley and two fellow poster winners.

Ylenia Perone was awarded a student grant from Fusion Conferences Limited to attend the Nuclear Receptors Conference New Roles for Nuclear Receptors in Development, Health and Disease, which took place in Mexico this February.

This meeting brought together many of the leading figures in nuclear receptor research from across the globe, to discuss emerging roles and their implications for health and disease. Luca Magnani was one of the speakers, talking about the role of epigenetic in breast cancer progression.

At the meeting, Ylenia received a Poster Award for the poster she presented on: “SREBP1 drives cell-autonomous cytoskeletal changes by KRT80 remodeling during ERα breast cancer progression”.

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.