The Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism held its 2018 Away Day on Friday 2 November at The Royal Society in London.
The event was hosted by the Head of Division, Professor Sir Steve Bloom, and featured talks and Q&A sessions on a range of subjects. It also provided a valuable opportunity from colleagues across the College to network and interact.
Developments and updates
The morning session commenced with an update from the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Jonathan Weber, who shared insights into his long-term vision for the Faculty in the context of the ongoing reorganisation project.
Siobhain Griffin (HR Manager) gave an overview of the Human Resources restructure currently being rolled out across the Faculty, which aims to deliver a more efficient service to staff by better consolidating areas of expertise.
Dr Vicky Salem (NIHR Clinical Lecturer and Athena SWAN lead for the Department of Medicine) rounded off the session with a presentation on equality and staff support within the College, highlighting the Department’s key successes in improving its workplace culture as a result of Athena SWAN and other wider initiatives.
The bigger picture
The next session looked beyond the Division and College to the broader scientific landscape and the importance of collaboration.
Dr Bryn Owen delivered a lively presentation on recent breakthroughs in science, and considered how these might impact and influence future research in diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism. Professor Kevin Murphy followed with a Q&A session on PhD career progression, providing hints and tips for those taking their first steps in academia.
Attendees also heard from Dr Malcolm Weir (Chief Executive, Heptares Therapeutics), who discussed the benefits of industry collaboration. He underlined the importance of sharing knowledge and common goals, noting that strategic alliances between universities and industry had an ever-increasing potential to enable a greater reach and impact across the healthcare spectrum.
Dr Alistair McDermott (Chief Executive Officer, ICON) also described the key benefits of collaborating with industry from a consultancy perspective. In addition to increasing corporate research income, he noted that working with external organisations could serve to better demonstrate the social and economic impact of research. Dr Jon Wilkinson (Senior Healthcare Licensing Executive, Imperial Innovations) added that engaging with IP and commercialisation could be a vital means of supporting further investment and development of a research concept.
Spotlight on early career researchers
The day concluded with a series of quickfire presentations from early career researchers within the Division, who shared insights into their latest findings with attendees.
Drs Ben Jones and Alejandra Tomas Catala gave individual presentations on their work into hacking the ‘traffic system’ that shuttles drugs in and out of cells, with the aim of making existing diabetes treatments more effective.
Dr Shivani Misra, recently named as one of London’s leading health influencers, won the audience’s vote for the best presentation with her talk on the MY DIABETES study, which investigates the question of ethnicity’s impact on diabetes presentation and type.
Focusing on type 2 diabetes, Dr Ines Cebola discussed uncovering new phenotypes that could be used as targets to prevent the development of the disease; Dr Chioma Izzi-Engbeaya then presented her investigation into using kisspeptin as a potential new treatment for the condition.