Month: October 2014

Tom West Analytical Fellowship Awarded

Congratulations to Dr Isabel Garcia Perez, Research Associate based within CSM, who has just been awarded a Tom West Analytical Fellowship from the Royal Society of Chemistry. The Fellowship has been established  to assist early career analytical chemists within 5 years of their first full-time junior academic appointment at a UK or Irish HEI to establish their own independent analytical science research identity.

Three Surgery and Cancer research students win prestigious funding

SantanderThe College recently provided a call for the Santander Mobility Award, which provides funding for students to undertake study/research in countries within the Santander network (Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, Spain, UK, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela).

There were 10 x £1000 awards available and with over 70 applications, the Department of Surgery and Cancer are pleased to announce that 3 of our research students received this award.

MEd Surgical Education alumnus wins Robert Jones Gold Medal

OrthopaedicsMEd Surgical Education alumnus Mr Andrew Wainwright has won the Robert Jones Gold Medal from the British Orthopaedic Association, after submitting an essay based on his MEd studies.

Andrew, a student at Imperial with the 2011 cohort studied for the MEd Surgical Education part-time, completed his degree with a dissertation entitled “A good pair of hands”, and graduated in 2013 with a Distinction. In the prize-winning essay he discussed the themes of competence, apprenticeship and craftsmanship in orthopaedic surgery today. By exploring the essence of what ‘having a good pair of hands’ means to surgeons, he proposed how this could improve the way that orthopaedic surgeons learn, teach, and assess surgical skills.

Women’s Leadership Lecture

Women's LeadershipProfessor Maggie Dallman, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships) Designate

requests the pleasure of your company at a special event:

Women’s Leadership in Entrepreneurial and STEMM cultures

Tuesday 4 November 2014
170 Queen’s Gate, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, SW7 2AZ

Speakers include: Nicky Morgan MP, Norma Jarboe OBE, Helena Morrissey CBE, and from Imperial College London Professor Alice Gast, President, and Professor James Stirling, Provost

RSVP: Naomi Anderson-Eyles, 020 7594 1934

Drinks reception from 16.00

The Mako Story – from Zero to $1.7bn in 9 years

There will be a Michael Uren Speaker on Wednesday October 29th at 5:00 PM in Pippard Lecture Theatre, Sherfield Building, South Kensington Campus.

The speaker will be Maurice Ferré, the Co-Founder of Mako and the talk will be titled “The Mako story – from Zero to $1.7bn in 9 years” 

Maurice R. Ferré MD is a serial entrepreneur in the medical technology sector.  His most recent success was MAKO Surgical Corp.  As Co-Founder, Chairman, CEO and President over a period of ten years (2003- 2013), MAKO became the world leader in robotic orthopaedic surgery. The World Economic Forum recognized MAKO as a Technology Innovator in 2003. MAKO was the first company to develop and commercialize 3D printed implants. The Company was ranked No.1 by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 in 2011. In December 2013, Stryker Corp acquired MAKO for $1.65B.

Prior to MAKO, Dr Ferré was Founder, CEO and President of Visualization Technology Inc. (1993-2002).  VTI became the world leader in image guided surgery for ENT, cranial and orthopaedic procedures. The Company was acquired by GE Healthcare in 2002.

In 2003 MF founded Mako surgical. The vision for was of a company delivering industrial quality control into the operating room for the index operation of  partial joint replacement. This field had already been identified, and was potentially a multiple of the total knee market.  To achieve the goal of industrialising the quality of joint replacement, three streams had to be developed: Intellectual property, excellent engineering, and a business model that could repay the investment in technology by a mixed model of equipment and implant sales.

In my talk I will discuss the strategy developed to deliver each of these aspects. The engineers had to design and build a robot that was robust enough to cope with the strongest orthopaedic surgeon without breaking, the financial engineers had to deliver a business model that was realistic. Our investors repaid our attention to both technical and commercial milestones by continued investment. The company raised over $350m from private investment and IPO in 2008. Mako was acquired for $1.65bn less than 10 years from founding the company with nothing more than an idea.

Drink reception to follow.

New test can help doctors choose best treatment for ovarian cancer

OvarianProfessor Tom Bourne, (Adjunct Professor in the Department) formed part of a team of researchers involved in a new test to help doctors diagnose ovarian tumours and choose the most appropriate treatment.

In a study published in the British Medical Journal, an international team led by Imperial College London and KU Leuven, Belgium describe a new test, called ADNEX, which can discriminate between benign and malignant tumours, and identify different types of malignant tumour, with a high level of accuracy.

To read the full story on the Imperial news site, please click here.

Equality and Diversity Newsletter and disability resources now on Faculty website

Black girlsPlease note that there are now a list of disability resources available on the Faculty’s staff web page and you can find the September 14 Equality and Diversity Newsletter here.

The Equality and Diversity Unit will also be hosting a few events to celebrate Black History Month:

There will be a showing of Dark Girls on 15th October, a documentary looking into the biases and attitudes around skin colour based around real women and their experiences.


Improving Patient Safety: CPSSQ Annual Symposium 2014

Patient safety experts gathered for the Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality (CPSSQ) annual symposium last week. The symposium was organised by the National Institute for Health Research Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (NIHR Imperial PSTRC) on behalf of the CPSSQ.
The symposium, which is now in its second year, aims to provide an opportunity to showcase examples of current PSTRC and CPSSQ research and to stimulate debate and discussion between researchers, healthcare professionals, members of the public and anyone with an interest in the safety and quality of healthcare.Poster session 2

The event heard from a wide array of speakers from Imperial, including Paul Aylin, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and co-director of the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial, who spoke about the higher odds of death if admitted to hospital at the weekend. Matthew Harrison from the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s (IGHI) HELIX Centre talked about design and patient safety and why it was important whilst Dr Maria Ahmed-Drake, an Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial PSTRC, explained why the engagement of trainees in safety improvement was a key aspect in enhancing patient safety.

Dr Josephine OclooDr Josephine Ocloo, Project lead for Imperial College Health Partners and the Patient Safety Champion Network gave a touching, personal account of her experience of patient safety within the NHS following the death of her 17 year old daughter in 1996. Driven by her personal tragedy, Dr Ocloo campaigns to give a voice to those who feel they have been wronged by the medical profession and to make healthcare in Britain safer.

The event also debated on whether technology is the way forward for patient safety. The outcome was an even split on those for and against.

The keynote lecture was given by Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission since July 2013. Sir Mike has been asked to lead a new programme of inspection across acute hospitals, mental health services, community services and ambulance service both in the NHS and the private sector and his talk gave an opportunity to update the meeting on the progress of this important review to date. Sir Mike explained that for each inspection, the Care Quality Commission needs to address 5 key questions for each review on every aspect of patient safety – is it safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led?

“We’ve come a long way in the past 14 months and our new approach has proved to be more robust and credible that what we have done in the past” said Sir Mike. “However, there is still room for improvement. Consistency across NHS Trusts still remains a huge challenge and we need to overcome these challenges by recruiting good teams, training people properly and maintaining a consistent methodology across the board. It’s also important that staff within the Trusts have the ability to challenge decisions if necessary”.

Professor Bryony Dean FranklinProfessor Bryony Dean Franklin, the chair of the meeting and one of PSTRC Leads said: “We were delighted to hear from the wide variety of speakers at the event. I very much hope that the symposium will lead to new ideas for innovative interventions that we can develop and evaluate, as well as further opportunities for collaboration”.

Professor the Lord Ara Darzi, Director of the NIHR’s PSTRC and IGHI said “Clinicians need to be engaged and empowered in order to understand and implement new and innovative ways to help improve the health of patients. We must also listen to the needs and comments from patients in order to develop an all-rounded view of patient safety within the NHS, implementing new policies and procedures accordingly”.

The Symposium was funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC) at Imperial.

Jo Seed

LKCMedicine Guest Lecture by Prof Jeremy Nicholson

On September 30th 2014, Lee Kong Chian Medicine hosted Prof Jeremy K. Nicholson, Head of the Department of Surgery and Cancer, Director of MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre, to deliver a guest lecture entitled ‘The Challenges of Implementing Precision Medicine Approaches in A Changing World’ to the audience in Singapore.

In the lecture, Prof Nicholson highlighted the important interactions in gene and environment which could eventually determine the disease risks in individuals and the associated therapeutic interventions. He also pointed out that the urban lifestyle and environment dramatically changes disease pattern and the types of genetic complexity which may impact treatment efficacy.

Prof Nicholson continued to elaborate about the importance of the understanding of human bio-complexity and gene-environment interactions. He further showed some data on how phenotype and metabolic complexity can be unravelled through advanced technology such as exploiting new spectroscopy system approaches as well as molecular pathology. Prof Nicholson envisages that the future healthcare can be better achieved by precision medicine through recording/collecting patients’ phenotyping at each intervention stage incorporating advanced medical technologies such as mass spectroscopies and NMR systems. He also took the opportunity to introduce the real time diagnostics tools developed in his lab i.e. i-Knife and i-Endoscope and their applications in aiding physicians/surgeons in making quick and accurate clinical decisions in emergency situation and also accessing the “prioritisation” of donor transplantation based on patients’ survivorship prediction.

The very stimulating and inspiring seminar was well received by researchers from NTU and A*STAR institutes and industry.

Postgraduate Symposium 2014

SymposiumThe postgraduate symposium occurred at Imperial College London on the 24-26th September 2014 between Imperial College London (ICL) and University College Cork students (UCC). The main aim of this symposium was to integrate knowledge and training between these two well renowned centres. UCC and ICL are both interested in the interaction of the gut microbiome and host health.

ICL STRATiGRAD cohort focuses on stratified and translational medicine with an interest in disease biomarker discovery using multi-omic technologies. This includes metabonomic and metagenomics that assist in characterising metabolic phenotyping and functional metagenomics; in order to understand the role of the gut microbiota in co-metabolism as well as contributing to certain diseases.

UCC APC has a worldwide reputation for excellence in host-microbe interaction and gut microbiota functionality. This group use molecular based techniques with significant expertise in developing animal models to research this. They also use sequencing technologies and bioinformatics to identify and characterise complex bacterial communities.

These groups have different research areas of excellence but use complementary technologies. By interacting at a postgraduate level, it would promote knowledge and awareness in students from both parties and open up the opportunity for future, and hopefully lasting, collaborations.

SpeakersDuring the symposium, we had lectures from researchers from ICL; we were extremely appreciative to have these speakers give a talk. Speakers included Prof Jeremy Nicholson, Prof Elaine Holmes, Dr. Julian Marchesi and Dr. Jia Li, both involved in the co-ordination of the Centre for Digestive and Gut Health and Dr Jonathan Swann, an associate professor at Reading University

Symposium 3

Science networking is an invaluable skill which by developing at a postgraduate level can have an impact on future research and careers. Furthermore, this event has encouraged independent discussion of research outside of the group. It has also promoted a peer support network so issues and problems can be discussed between students informally. Both research and personal skills have been developed through this event as well as assisting in information exchange. Email addresses were exchanged between all students so that this peer supported relationship can keep going into the future.

Nancy Georgakopoulou & Fran Jackson

Departmental Meeting Report

AS_RGB_Bronze-AwardThe Department held a well-attending Staff Meeting to discuss the 2014 Staff Survey and the successful Athena SWAN Bronze application on Wednesday 1st October.

  • Jeremy Nicholson presented slides about the Staff Survey
  • Information about Athena SWAN was presented by Sanjay Purkayastha and Kate Hardy.
  • Lesley Regan, Chair of the Academic Opportunities Committee and S&C Champion for the Staff Survey, summarised the work already undertaken and the work yet to do related to the Athena SWAN award. Reporting that the Department would launch its Mentoring Scheme in November

The meeting concluded with a Q&A session with a Panel chaired by Lesley and including Divisional Heads and Athena SWAN Champions.

  • In response to a question about how to increase the numbers of female Consultant/Clinical Senior Lecturer level surgeons, George Hanna stressed the need to nurture and support the 4 female Clinical Lecturers in Surgery
  • There was a discussion on Mentorship and it became clear that the policy on Academic Advisors for Lecturers and Clinical Senior Lecturers and Mentors for Post-Doctoral staff needed to be made clearer including the accountability of both Academic Advisors and Mentors – action will be taken on this and enhanced information provided via the Web page
  • There was discussion of levels of stress as Staff Survey report suggested there was concern about this across the Department – It had to be recognised that pressure to deliver in REF was unavoidable but every effort will be taken in future to ensure academic staff are well-prepared; there was a recognition that for clinical academics the pull between clinical responsibilities and academic development created tensions. It was agreed these matters should be raised with Divisional Heads and would be discussed with the Trust.

We would welcome any other comments – and have created a specific email address for you to use – – we will monitor this regularly and take issues to the Department’s Academic Opportunities Committee for further review. Lesley has indicated that she and the Committee would be happy to address concerns from research and support staff just as readily as from academic staff.

Please keep an eye on the website and S&C Blog for updates on the above and other Staff related matters.

Once again, many thanks to those who attended and for those of you not able to – please do take a minute to look at the various links.