Blog posts

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.”

Helping shape the future of Clinical Informatics

Professor Brendan Delaney, Chair in Medical Informatics and Decision Making has been elected as one of the 100 Founding Fellows of the new Faculty of Clinical Informatics and will work with a team of qualified clinicians who transform health and care through their specialist knowledge and use of data, information, knowledge and information technology.

The Faculty of Clinical Informatics is being established as the professional membership body for all clinical informaticians across the UK, with the aims of establishing clinical informatics as a recognised profession, developing professional standards, supporting revalidation, providing training and accreditation for individuals and courses, and supporting recruitment and careers in clinical informatics.

Find out more about the Faculty of Clinical Informatics.

Double success for PhD students

Two PhD students had success at the recent International Society for the Study of Trophoblastic Diseases (ISSTD) World Congress Meeting, which took place in Amsterdam this September.

PhD student Marina Georgiou won the Oral Science prize for the Best Junior Investigator, for her work to identify a potential new treatment for patients with drug-resistant gestational trophoblastic neoplasia.

Obstetrician trainee Linda Ibeto, who is doing a PhD jointly with Life Sciences and Surgery and Cancer won the Best Scientific Poster Award for her work on glycosylation changes in hCG and how this links to malignant progression compared to normal placental tissue.

Just how did John Keats’s medical training influence his poetry?

National Portrait Gallery London

A recently published paper by Emeritus Professor Sean Hughes looks at the influence John Keats’s brief medical career had on his poetry. The article is based on the Keats Lecture that Professor Hughes gave at the Apothecaries Hall earlier this year, which is jointly sponsored by Kings College, the Apothecaries and the Royal College of Surgeons.

John Keats’s short medical career has been well documented, but what did medicine actually mean to him as a career, why did he abandon it, and what influence did it have on his life and – more importantly – his work? This article focuses on Keats’s time at Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals, looking at the surgeons he worked under and considering both why he chose not to pursue a career in medicine and why it is that this poet, above all others, resonates so with the medical profession.

Professor Hughes recently received the President’s Medal from the British Orthopaedic Research Society for outstanding contribution to the field of British orthopedic research, which was held at Imperial on 4th September 2017.

Read How did John Keats’s Medical Training Influence his Poetry?

Best Junior Investigator Award

Congratulations to PhD student Marina Georgiou who won the award for best junior investigator oral presentation in translational/basic research at the 19th World Congress of Gestational Trophoblastic Diseases Conference in Amsterdam from the 21-24 September, after winning a travel bursary award to attend.

Marina’s PhD research focuses on identifying the molecular dominants of development and chemoresistance in Gestational Trophoblastic Disease, under the supervision of Professor Michael Seckl and Dr Olivier Pardo. The title of Maria’s winning oral presentation was Cyclin dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) as a potential new therapeutic target in drug-resistant gestational trophoblastic neoplasia.