Professor Masao Takata has been appointed as ‘Designated Professor’ by Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo Japan, from 1-10-2015 to 31-3-2017.
This specially appointed honorary professorship is designed to advise the Rector on the university’s global/international and educational strategies, through meeting with the Rector and his top management board.
The role will also give research/educational sessions to graduate students and provide the opportunity to discuss potential research collaborations.
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.
They cover a range of topics including resilience and stress management, mental health, physical health, meditation, and more. Events and new resources will be added throughout the year so keep checking the pages and following updates via the LDC Twitter.
Toby Athersuch (Conference Organiser; Lecturer in S&C) write up of the event:
Over one hundred delegates attended the 3rd New Perspectives in DMPK conference at RSC Burlington House on 8-9 February 2016. The meeting was jointly organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector (RSC-BMCS), the Drug Metabolism Discussion Group (DMDG), the British Pharmacological Society (BPS), and the Drug Metabolism Group (DMG). The meeting was directly supported by several industrial exhibitors – Agilent Technologies, Biopharma Group, HiChrom, Hypha Discovery, Selcia, XenoGesis – and received additional promotion through Future Science Group / MedChemNet.com
Keynote speaker Charlotte Allerton (Pfizer Worldwide R&D) started proceedings by provided an excellent framework for discussion through her presentation “Evolution of DMPK sciences and drug design”, ahead of the main conference sessions – each based around a key theme linking aspects of DMPK and drug design. In the theme of “Understanding and exploiting endogenous drug targets”, contributions included those focused on understanding the role of transporters (Scott Summerfield, GSK), selective metabolism for improved targeting of therapies (Klaus Pors, University of Bradford), (Rowan Stringer, Novartis), and chemical aspects of using deutero-substituted compounds for tuned PK and metabolism properties, and compound reactivity for optimising covalent inhibitors (Nicola Colclough, AstraZeneca). Chemical reactivity was also discussed through the different lenses of being included by intention, requiring minimisation, and representing a safety risk – “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” (Philip MacFaul, RedX Pharma). Rick Schneider (Pfizer Worldwide R&D) concluded the session with a review of the strategies employed to reduce candidate attrition through the identification of reactive metabolite liabilities in the R&D pipeline
Subsequent sessions turned the focus to exploring the current state of in silico approaches across DMPK and medicinal chemistry drug design. Neil Berry (University of Liverpool) provided an excellent overview of available strategies, and illustrated real world impact that they have had in recent projects (anti-malarial therapy, chronic pain, and filariasis). The wider context for these – and other – tools was provided by Marcel Hop (Genentech), who described how computational methods can potentially inform the lead optimisation process, and help achieve an appropriate balance of the “5Rs” the right target / right patient / right tissue / right safety / right commercial potential. Other contributors to these sessions focused on in silico prediction of metabolism (Robert Glen, Imperial College London / University of Cambridge), and the support that PBPK / PDPK models can make in directly supporting stages in both drug design (Nicolas Frances, Roche) and the prediction of appropriate clinical treatment schedules that can both optimise dose/response profiles, and feed back to chemists to inform compound design for improved pharmacokinetics (Owen Jones, AstraZeneca).
The changing landscape in which DMPK operates was also illustrated by Owen Jones, who commented on the increased interactivity of DMPK scientists within the R&D activities. These comments echoed those by Richard Weaver (XenoGesis) who provided a perspective on how the changes in how R&D knowledge is obtained and used within large pharmaceutical companies have provided opportunities for CRO engagement across multiple research activities, but that continued efforts to highlight the centrality of DMPK are needed to ensure value and impact are demonstrated and appreciated within the wider R&D context.
Awards for best ‘flash’ presentation, was made to Fillipa Antunes (Albumedix) for her elevator pitch of her poster “New pre-clinical model for studying and optimizing the pharmacokinetics of albumin-linked drugs”. Poster prizes were awarded to Peter Bradshaw (ICL) and Amanda Race (University of Bradford), who each received recent DMPK book titles, kindly provided by RSC Publishing.
The Organising Committee wish to thank all those who made platform or poster presentations, exhibitors, and conference delegates for making the conference a success, prompting excellent debate, enabling networking, and fostering collaborative work and knowledge-sharing in this exciting research area.
If you attended and have further feedback that would help guide future events, please send it to the conference coordinator:
Laura Bella – Research Postgraduate student working in the Division of Cancer has submitted an image which has been shortlisted in Imperial’s Art of Research competition, aimed to find images which celebrate the diversity of scientific research at Imperial.
Laura’s image illustrates the research she is doing on cancer spread, showing a zebra fish embryo which has been implanted with a tumor, shown in red. The small red dots spread around the embryo’s body are cells which were able to escape to form new cancers.
L’Oreal is offering a fellowship aimed at early career female postdocs with less than 10 years postdoctoral experience (discounting career breaks) who do not hold a permanent academic post. Applications and more information can be found at https://www.womeninscience.co.uk/apply
Professor Jeremy Nicholson is giving the annual London Clinic Lecture 2016 entitled Developing new systems medicine technologies and approaches to meet healthcare challenges in a changing world at the Royal on Tuesday 16th February at 5.45pm Society of Medicine, London.
Students enrolled on one of Imperials evening classes entitled Introduction to Science (ItS) course visited the main analytical facility at South Kensington last week to hear how and why researchers in Computational Systems Medicine use high-resolution spectroscopic techniques in their research. The Introduction to Science course is one of the many evening classes run at Imperial by the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication, and attracts a range of non-specialist adult learners with a keen interest in science.
Lecturer Dr Toby Athersuch gave the class a short tutorial on the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and chromatography, and how these can be used to interrogate complex biofluids and understand their composition. Along with CSM PhD students Liza Selley and Torben Kimhofer, the enthusiastic visitors were given a flavour for how these analytical platforms are used in our basic scientific research, as well as some clinical and epidemiological applications.
The discussions touched on several key areas including approaches for structural elucidation of unknown compounds, current applications for real-time monitoring in surgery, and the challenge of analysing the megavariate dataset they generate. Course Leader, Dr David Stokes said that feedback on the evening had been very positive:
“The visit was great, the class was really inspired and a lot of the rest of the class was spent talking through what we’d seen …. we all really enjoyed it (myself included!). It was the best visit yet!”
Congratulations to Professor Jeremy Nicholson who has been named a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher on the official 2015 list.
Thomson Reuters recognises and supports excellence in the scholarly community, analysing citation data over an 11-year period using Thomson Reuters Web of ScienceTM and InCitesTM to identify some of the best and brightest scientific minds.
Prof Nicholson was selected as a Highly Cited Researcher due to the number of citations his work has received from fellow researchers, which have identified his contributions as being among the most valuable and significant in the field of Pharmacology & Toxicology.
The Department of Surgery and Cancer hosted their first Athena SWAN Lecture on the 2nd December 2015 with guest speaker Ms Clare Marx, first female President of the Royal College of Surgeons.
Ms Marx gave an inspirational lecture entitled All changed, changed utterly, providing a fascinating insight into the history of women in surgery and her career journey as a surgeon, as the first female trauma and orthopaedic surgeon trainee in London in 1981, then the first female surgeon in East Anglia in 1993. She also spoke of the work the Royal College of Surgeons is doing with addressing the lack of female surgeons nationally, including the development of a new curriculum which will impact on both undergraduate and postgraduate training.
The lecture attracted a diverse audience, including junior doctors, 6th form students as well as Imperial staff and members of the public, which resulted in a lively debate following on from topics raised in the lecture and provided a fantastic platform for the junior medics and students to ask questions relevant to their concerns.
Ms Marx highlighted the need for leadership from the top and the need for mentoring and support if we are to enhance gender equality of women in surgery and across the board. This reinforced the importance of all the work the Department is doing with Athena SWAN initiatives to support our staff.
The lecture has now enabled the Department to forge links with the Royal College of Surgeons, which will be hugely beneficial with developing our plans to encourage and support women to pursue surgery as a career.
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.
On Friday 22 January the Learning and Development Centre is hosting a registration session for technicians who are interested in pursuing the RSciTech. This will be an informal networking and workshop session open to all technicians at the College, with members of professional bodies on hand to answer questions.
For further information and to book a place, please contact Jenny Davies, Learning and Development Administrator.