Blog posts

Call for Abstracts – Submission of abstracts and applications for the Simpson Smith Travelling Award is now open

We are delighted to invite you to London’s 8th Surgical Symposium on Wednesday 3rd of September 2014. Please click on the Surgical Symposium Poster for more details.

The programme for the day includes:

  • The 67th Simpson Smith Memorial Lecture: “Improving surgical outcomes in rectal cancer surgery: past, present and future” by Professor Per Nilsson, Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden
  • “The role of surgery after chemoradiation in oesophageal cancer” by Professor Christophe Mariette, University of Lille 2, France
  • “The use of bioimpedance for clinical applications” by Professor Richard Bayford, Middlesex University, United Kingdom
  • Plenary and Poster Sessions with prizes, a debate, and the announcement of the Simpson Smith Travel Award winner 2014

Call for abstracts:

We welcome submission of abstracts for the plenary, poster and audit poster sessions at this stage, full details of how to submit can be found on our website and the deadline is the 25th of July 2014.

Extension of deadline for applications for the Simpson Smith Travel Award:

Applicants are invited to apply for the Alex Simpson Smith Travelling Fellowships and the deadline has been extended to 25th of July 2014. These awards are offered to senior surgical trainees (ST3 or above), or to newly appointed consultants (within 5 years of appointment) in any branch of surgery.  The Fellowships are intended to allow candidates to visit centres of excellence abroad, in order to obtain further experience or training within their speciality, currently not available in the UK.

For further details of how to register for this event, book a place at the evening meal or apply for any of the sessions, please see our flyer which is attached, and visit our website

Kind regards

Surgical Symposium Organising Committee

Patient Safety Challenge Event

Patient Safety Challenge_NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC)  will be holding an event for the Patient Safety Challenge finalists on 18th June between 9:30am – 12pm. The successful applicants will be asked to pitch in front of a panel of judges and an audience of researchers.

Judging panel:
– Professor the Lord Ara Darzi, Professor of Surgery and NIHR Imperial PSTRC Director,
– Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, journalist and author
– Martin Bromiley, pilot and patient safety advocate
– Shona Maxwell, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Medical Directorate

The event will be held in Roger Banister LT, level 1, Medical School Building (St Mary’s Campus).

If you would like to attend please RSVP to: Renata Samulnik


NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC) is a partnership between Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. We bring together leading clinicians and researchers from a range of scientific fields that all seek to improve quality and safety. The Centre is one of only two of its kind in the UK and has 6 core research themes: use of information; design and technology; patients, carers and families; safe systems; teams, skills and safety, economics, evaluation and policy.

The Imperial Patient Safety Challenge is one way the Centre is supporting patients and staff in our hospitals who may have ideas of how to enhance safety and quality. With £300,000 of financial support available as well as strategic advice from staff in the Centre, we are providing the ingredients to turn great ideas into solutions that actually benefit our patients.

We received over 80 applications to the challenge. We have shortlisted 11 fantastic ideas that encompass apps, service improvement methodologies, point of care diagnostics and education and training. Teams will present their ideas to a panel including Professor Ara Darzi, the journalist and author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and pilot and patient safety advocate Martin Bromiley. Winners will be announced shortly after and all successful teams will be encouraged to work together in a real movement to improve patient safety and quality of care in our hospitals.

Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre is part of NIHR.


The “go-to” App for Imperial College Masters students …

Postgraduate Education Administrator Susan Clark recently teamed up with Amir Rana, Junior Software Engineer, for the pilot phase of an Imperial Mobile Initiative. A training session was held in May to teach Postgraduate Administrators how to build an App for their specific Masters’ programmes, using the College licensed software Ombiel.  The training provided an opportunity to learn and share the challenges and resolutions of applying different course structures to the App.

The story behind the initiative goes back to March 2013 when Susan wrote to IT, asking for an App that with the facility to push out essential course information to students and incorporate electronic student evaluations.  Saul Batzofin, Infrastructure Programme Manager, responded by providing training using Qualtrics, a recently acquired survey software.  Evaluations had already been customised for Surgery and Cancer courses by Dr Kirsten Dalrymple, Senior Research Fellow and Co-Course lead (MEd Surgical Education) and will shortly be accessible via the MEd App.  This summer will see Susan working on improvements to the existing surveys and Apps, getting them ready for the 2014 /15 cohort.   New students will have a 10 minute orientation in the use of the App in Module 1 of their respective Masters Programme, October 2014.

As for the future, Surgery and Cancer have a new MSc Masters programme pending, a move to a modularised structure that fits well with the surgical trainees career pathway.  This year’s collaboration and initiative has paved the way for the use of the App for this new Programme, with the potential to go beyond administrative technology into Mobile learning.


Annual Athena Lecture: Passion, parasites and people

newseventsimagesNext week will be the Imperial Annual Athena SWAN lecture, which this year is given by Professor Deborah Smith OBE, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, University of York

Surgery and Cancer recently submitted their Bronze application at the end of April and are awaiting the result of this some time in the Autumn. Expect to hear more on this in the coming months as we begin to implement our action plan.

Dr Paul Strutton wins President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

StruttonCongratulations to Dr Paul Strutton (Senior Lecturer in Neurophysiology) who this week received news that he was winner of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching 2014.

The award celebrates and acknowledges staff who are considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the enhancement of teaching, who consistently gain excellent feedback from their students. Presentations will take place in due course.

Well done Dr Strutton!

Surgery and Cancer secures 3 Master’s Scolarships

Surgery and Cancer has managed to secure 3 of the 14 Master’s Scholarships, with winners coming from almost every division:

  • Awarded the Dean’s Master’s Scholarship for HEU students (Fees + £17.5K stipend):
    Louise Kenny (Med Surgical Education)
  • Awarded the Faculty of Medicine Master’s Scholarship (for HEU & OS: £17.5K to use flexibly for fees or living expenses):
    Home/EU: Emily Barnes (Cancer Biology)
    Overseas: Mei Ran Abellona U (Biomedical Research)

Dr Charlotte Bevan to host Androgens 2014 conference

C BevanDr Charlotte Bevan is hosting an Androgens 2014 conference: “Precision Medicines Targeting Androgens in Health & Disease 17th – 19th September. 

The opening address will be given by the new President of Imperial College, Professor Alice Gast.

Registration is now open – for further details please visit the website:

Prof Lam and his research group scoop “Research Team of the Year” Award

research-team-of-the-yearProfessor Eric Lam and his research group have scooped Breast Cancer Campaign’s sought-after ‘Research Team of the Year’ award for their pioneering study into why women with breast cancer can become resistant to chemotherapy treatment. Laura Bella and Pasarat Khongkow, pictured here with Prof Lam form part of the lab which is made up from 15 females.

With Breast Cancer Campaign funding, made possible by support from Asda’s Tickled Pink campaign, Professor Eric Lam and his team were crowned winners for their pioneering research, which aims to discover what reactions happen within individual cancer cells to make tumours stop responding to chemotherapy.

Professor Eric Lam and his team were announced as the winners at Breast Cancer Campaign’s awards ceremony on Tuesday 6 May at the House of Lords.

Read more news on the Division of Cancer in their May update.

Surgery and Cancer news round up

  • Professor Jeremy Nicholson, delivered the Robert Stowell lecture: The Challenge of Implementing Systems Medicine Paradigms in a Changing World, at the University of California Davis Health System, Sacramento, California – 14 April 2014.
  • Professor Elaine Holmes, was Visiting Scholar at the University of Purdue, Indianapolis – 1–2 May 2014.
  • Lord Darzi was introduced as an Honorary Fellow to the American Surgical Association meeting in Boston – 10th April 2014. He also presented a lecture at the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust Inaugural Symposium on Patient Safety in Acute Cardiac Care entitled ‘Improving safety, effectiveness and the patient experience” – 24th April 2014.
  • Scott Armstrong’s prize winning Max Perutz essay titled  “Saving the brain from itself” was published in the MRC Network Winter Bulletin.  (Supervisor – Dr Robert Dickinson – Anaesthetics).
  • Dr Daqing Ma, Reader in Anaesthetics, has been elected a Fellow of Royal College of Anaesthetics.
  • Dr Carsten Bantel, NIHR CSL in Anaesthetics, has been invited to become a founding member and Assistant Editor of the new Journal of Observational Pain Medicine.
  • Professor Lesley Regan gave the opening plenary lecture for the Presidential Program (the Samuel A. Cosgrove Memorial Lecture) on ‘Human Rights and Women’s Health in the 21st Century’ at the 62nd Annual Clinical Meeting of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 26-30 April 2014, Chicago. As well as giving two lectures on ‘Key Issues in Women’s Health’ and ‘Management of Fibroids’ at the 23rd European Congress of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 7-10 May 2014, in Glasgow.
  • Dr Diana Romero attended the EMBO/ EMBL Symposium on Tumour Microenvironment and Signalling in Heidelberg where she gave a short oral presentation entitled ‘Dkk-3 and TGF-b/Smad signalling in normal prostate epithelial and prostate cancer cells’. Dr Romero also received a Non-Student Travel Award from the British Association of Cancer Research to attend this symposium.
  • Dr Kim Jonas, Postdoctoral Researcher working with Professor Ilpo Huhtaniemi and Dr Aylin Hanyaloglu, won the Clinical Endocrinology Trust’s prize for best Basic Science abstract at the British Endocrine Societies annual meeting and also received a highly commended oral communication prize. At the same meeting, Silvia Sposini, PhD student, won the poster prize for Reproduction Both Kim Jonas and Silvia Sposini were selected for oral communications at the Keystone conference- G Protein-Coupled Receptors: Structural Dynamics and Functional Implications, Snowbird, USA. Kim Jonas was awarded a Reproductive Science Prize and has also been selected for a prize oral communication at the up-coming International Congress of Endocrinology, Chicago, USA (June 2014).

Dr Jia Li from CSM visits Brazil

JiaDr. Jia Li has recently returned from a three-week visit to Brazil in the Department of Chemistry, the Federal University of Alagoas, Maceió, (Maceió is a medium size city on the north east coast of Brazil). Jia was accompanied by Prof. Geoff Hawkes (a visiting researcher in the Department), and their visit was funded by the Brazilian national research organisations CNPq/CAPES under their Science without Frontiers programme.

The funding award is to enable a crop protection project which seeks to identify changes induced in the metabolome of sugar cane subjected to herbivorous attack by the parasitic larvae diatraea saccharalis. This parasite is responsible for significant loss of sugar production in Brazil (and indeed it is a global problem).

The methodology is to use nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, coupled with multivariate statistical analytical methods to determine changes in metabolite levels in extracts from the plant, before and after the herbivory. The metabolic response by the sugar cane may then direct GM, with the aim to produce cane species more resistant to the parasite.Jia Brazil visit

Jia spent her time in Maceió teaching postgraduate students about the relevant multivariate statistics, and how to use the software available for the analysis. She also found time to present a faculty seminar on her own research at IC (Metabonomics in clinical research), and to meet with the university Principal, Prof. Eurico Lôbo, who is very keen to promote the Science without Frontiers programme, and to hear first hand of progress on the sugar cane project.

Geoff’s input was to work with the postgraduate students to optimise the collection of the experimental NMR data. Like Jia he also presented a faculty seminar describing progress on a parallel project (working with Jia at IC) using NMR to search for therapeutic compounds in extracts from plants used in traditional S. African Zulu medicine.

At the same time that Jia and Geoff were in Brazil, Prof. Elaine Holmes was in Lima, Peru as a key member of the organisation for the first meeting of the Latin American Metabolic Profiling Society (LAMPS). This international meeting attracted more than 100 participants, mostly from Central and South America. Geoff Hawkes was able to travel the breadth of the continent to give an oral presentation on progress on the sugar cane project.

By Prof Geoff Hawkes
Visiting Researcher

Surgery and Cancer at the Imperial Festival

Montage 650Surgery and Cancer were showcasing their research at the Imperial College Festival on the 9th and 10th of May with members of CSM promoting the Centre for Digestive and Gut Health, Prof Kneebone and his team with the Pop up Surgery, Dr Zoltan Takats and his team with the iKnifeDr Robert Dickinson explaining about Neuroprotection, Dr Kirsty Flower discussing genes, as well as representatives from the HELIX Centre and MSk Lab showing what the’re up to.