Month: May 2015

Prof Zoltan Takats talks to BBC about iKnife


Professor Zoltan Takats was on the BBC news last night speaking about the application of the iKnife in surgery. The news story follows a patient having brain surgery and looks at how the device could help neurosurgeons to identify cancerous brain tumours in real time. It is hoped that this application could allow tumours to be removed more precisely and reduce the risk of them coming back.

Click on the image above to watch the story.

Prof Atkin elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences

Congratulations to Professor Wendy Atkin who is one of five Imperial researchers recognised for their work in medical science by election to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

icimages (1)Wendy Atkin is Professor of Gastrointestinal Epidemiology in the Department. Her research focuses on identifying and testing methods for the early diagnosis of bowel cancer, pathways for the development of the disease, and surveillance of people at increased risk, with the ultimate aim of reducing bowel cancer incidence of and mortality. Her research provided the evidence for a new national bowel screening programme, which is currently being rolled out across England.

“I am delighted and honoured to be awarded this prestigious Fellowship. It is a tribute to the dedication and hard work of current and past colleagues, to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude. I look forward to joining other Fellows in furthering the goals of the Academy in nurturing and developing the next generation of medical scientists. It will also provide a fertile environment to develop future collaborations.”

STRATiGRAD PhD students win funding for symposium two years running

StratiFran Jackson and Nancy Georgakopoulou, two STRATiGRAD PhD students in CSM have been awarded funds by the Imperial College Graduate School through their Cohort Building Activity Funding Scheme to travel to Cork to attend a symposium.

The symposium is entitled ‘Mining Microbes for Mankind’; University College Cork/Imperial College London Joint Postgraduate Symposium and will be focussing on gut microbiome research using molecular biology and multi-omics technologies.

The event will be held at the end of September in Cork this year, and will be the second annual workshop and networking event between STRATiGRAD cohort Imperial College London (ICL) and microbiome researchers from University College Cork (UCC). 20 postgraduate students from each University will partake in the 3 day symposium which will involve lectures, student oral presentations, training workshops and round table discussions on the role of the microbiota in gastrointestinal health.

Both centres are interested in the interaction of the gut microbiome and host health, this networking event is to integrate knowledge and training between our centres. By interacting at a postgraduate level, it will promote awareness in students from both parties and open up the opportunity for future, and hopefully, lasting collaborations.

Phenomics & Phenomic Network Symposium a huge success

Symposium PhenomeThe Division of Computational and Systems Medicine (home to the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre) hosted a one-day symposium under the title of “Phenomics and Phenomic Networks” on the 30th April 2015 at the South Kensington Campus.

The event proved so popular that registration to attend had to close early and on the back of the symposiums phenomenal success and feedback from the attendees, it was decided that it would now become an annual event.

The purpose was to bring together like-minded individuals to facilitate deeper integration of phenomics into the wider ‘omics community, and develop a Phenomic Network in the UK, bringing together an audience in excess of 100 researchers from the UK and Europe with speakers such as Prof Dame Carol Robinson (University of Oxford), Prof Tony Whetton (University of Manchester), Dr Christoph Steinbeck (European Bioinformatics Institute), Prof Mark Viant (University of Birmingham), Dr Julian Griffin (University of Cambridge) and the Centre’s Director Prof Jeremy Nicholson (Imperial College London).

For updates on future events please follow the National Phenome Centre on Twitter or Facebook.

Meet our scholars

Two of our current masters students who won scholarships last year have been featured on the Imperial Dean’s Masters Scholarships Meet our scholars! page. 

Mei Ran Abellona U is currently doing an MRes in Biomedical research (Microbiome in health and disease stream) and after completing this she is considering staying on with the Department to pursue a PhD degree.

Emily Barnes is on the MRes in Cancer Biology and after finishing this is going to stay on with the Department and complete a 4 year year PhD in cancer research.

Annual Athena Lecture


Towards a Silent Aircraft


Professor Dame Ann Dowling
President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Cambridge

Date: Wednesday 17 June
Time: 12.30 Lunch reception with lecture to follow at 13.30
Venue: G34 Sir Alexander Fleming building, South Kensington Campus

to Amna Siddiq
Please forward this invitation to any colleagues who may be interested in attending.


In her lecture ‘Towards a Silent Aircraft’ Professor Dowling will describe her career fusing engineering research with industrial practice, and share insights into aircraft noise, which has been a recurring focus of her work. Although aircraft noise has reduced considerably since the introduction of high speed jet transport, it is still a major societal concern.

Professor Dowling will discuss what generates noise in modern civil aircraft and ways in which noise is being reduced in the development of next-generation aircraft. She will consider whether a radical re-think of aircraft configuration, integrating many technologies into the design, could in the long term result in substantial noise reductions combined with a reduced fuel burn.


Professor Dame Ann Dowling is President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cambridge, where she was Head of the Department of Engineering from 2009 to 2014 and ran the University Gas Turbine Partnership with Rolls-Royce from 2001 to 2014. She has served on a number industry and government advisory committees and is currently a non-executive director of BP plc, a non-executive member of the Board of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology.

Professor Dowling’s research focuses on efficient, low emission combustion for aero and industrial gas turbines and low noise vehicles, especially aircraft and cars.


Headache Research Lab Win Research Excellence Award

Congratulations to the headache research group, led by Dr Anna Andreou, who have been awarded the Headache Research Excellence Tournament Award for their research on non-paralytic botulinum agents in migraine during the International Headache Congress. The research has been presented by the PhD student Jose Torres Perez.

Dr Anna Andreou is the PI of the Headache Research Lab within the Section of Anaesthetics, Pain Medicine and Intensive Care. Current research interests of the lab include investigating the involvement of cortical and subcortical pathways in primary headaches, how potential therapeutics and neuromodulation approaches may interfere with such networks, identify biomarkers of migraine and improve and develop new disease models.

CSM update

Professor Jeremy Nicholson

  • Gave a lecture on Metabolic phenotyping in stratified medicine and public healthcare at the Swedish metabolomics centre and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala Sweden, 23 – 24 April 2015
  • Gave the keynote speech at the 2015 Beijing Fragrant Hill Conference on International Phenome Research, Beijing, China 4-6 May 2015
  • Hosted a symposium on PHENOMICS AND PHENOME NETWORKS, Imperial College London, 30 April 2015

Professor Elaine Holmes

  • Has been honoured with the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Interdisciplinary Award for 2015
  • Gave a plenary lecture at the 2015 SECIM Workshop in Gainesville, Florida, 11-14 May 2015

Professor Naomi Chayen

  • Gave a lecture entitled ‘Design and Application of Nanoporous Materials for Protein Crystallization at The London Centre of Nanotechnology on 20 April 2015

News from The Centre for Health Policy

IGHI logoPublications/media coverage:

  • ‘The uses of smartphones and tablet devices in surgery: A systematic review of the literature’ published in SURGERY: Mobasheri M, Johnston M, Syed U, King D, Darzi A.

What Is Obesity? Metabolic Signatures Offer New Comprehensive View

obesity-metabolites1Professor Jeremy Nicholson and his team’s latest science translational medicine paper looking into obesity hit the press last week. The paper entitled What Is Obesity? Metabolic Signatures Offer New Comprehensive View is now the paper of the week in the National Institute of Health directors blog, which was published today.

Prof Holmes wins Interdisciplinary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry

Holmes-120_tcm18-245962Congratulations to Professor Elaine Holmes who has been awarded the 2015 Interdisciplinary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry for outstanding contributions to metabolic phenotyping and systems biology, leading to novel biomarkers and mechanistic insights into toxicity and disease.

The award comes with a prize of £5000, a medal which will be presented at the RSC Prizes Presentation evening in November in Manchester, as well as a lectureship to deliver lecturers at numerous UK universities.

Get involved with the Athena SWAN Staff Culture Survey

SurveyThe Department is preparing its application for an Athena SWAN Silver Award after successfully receiving the Bronze in September 2014.

We’ve put together a survey which aims to understand how male and female staff experience the working environment and to identify areas where improvements may be needed, to ensure equality of opportunity.

The survey is designed for ALL staff in the Department to take, including academic staff (clinical and non-clinical), all admin, support staff and technical support staff, fellows, postdoctoral staff and PhD/MD(Res) students and we would very much appreciate your participation.

The Survey consists of multiple choice questions and should take you approximately 10 minutes to complete. Your participation in this survey will play a huge role in our Silver application, which in turn assists us in making improvements within the Department, benefiting everyone who works in Surgery and Cancer.

Link to survey

We would be very grateful if you would take the time to complete the survey by FRIDAY, 29th MAY and we look forward to working with you, through Focus Groups (to be held in early June) and wider discussions to review the outcomes and consider appropriate ways forward.

Surgery and Cancer at the Imperial Festival

Festival 15

Surgery and Cancer were doing their bit at the Imperial College Festival this weekend and getting involved with everything going on.

The Institute of Global Health Innovation were there with a stand called “Taking mental health into your own Dancehands” which featured the Psychiatrist’s Couch of the Future and an over sized chair. Computational Systems medicine had a stand on “What’s in your pee” looking at how urine can help doctors find out how well your body is working.

The Combination Dance Co were there to raise awareness about Cancer research UK with their dancing cell components all across the campus over the weekend. Members of the Cancer team were hosting a stand called Tackling tough tumours looking at why some tumours become resistant to treatment and how scientists tackle this growing problem, with their very own #cellfie station to see a cancer up close.

Prof Gerry Thomas gave a lecture entitled “Doctors, what do you want to do with my genes” and was later spotted at the talkeoke table taking part in discussions on “What do you think about nuclear energy?”

Prof Roger Kneebone gave a talk with Prof Aaron Williamon on “Solving stage fright in virtual reality“.

Festival 1Lata Govada, Sean Kassen, Ahmad Bin Razmi and Naomi Chayen had a stand entitled ‘Making Complexity Crystal Clear’, highlighting the importance of protein crystals and their role in the facilitation of drug design. With the aid of the mRNA codon chart on display, the visitors were able to synthesise amino acids, the building blocks of proteins from sweeties. People of all ages and walks of life enthusiastically participated in ‘kebabing’ the 3 different coloured sweets (the nucleotide triplets) on cocktail sticks, after which they were allowed to take them away to eat.

Armed with the information of how proteins are made they then moved on to the second part of the booth to set up protein crystallization experiments with real protein and watched the crystals grow under the microscope. The young and old alike were pleased to see the crystal formation from their experiments. A surprised adult visitor stated, ‘I have a fair understanding of mineral crystals and their importance but had no clue that Protein Crystals contained such a wealth of information!’ On the other hand a young 9 year old visitor who aspires to be a doctor exclaimed ‘Wow, now I understand why we use the phrase Crystal Clear! ‘

To see more from the Festival check out #impfest or the College news story.

Mentoring update

MentoringThe Surgery and Cancer mentor scheme is now underway and we are organising a lunchtime session for active mentors to come and talk with each other about mentoring and any challenges they are experiencing. The objective of this session is to support the growing community of mentors across the FoM and to encourage, strengthen and share good practice across the schemes.

The session will take place at Hammersmith on Wednesday the 8th of July from 12:30 – 14:00.

Lunch will be provided so if you would like to attend please contact Kathryn Johnson

Remember if you would like to learn more about the Surgery and Cancer mentor scheme, sign up to become or get a mentor then please see the mentoring pages or sign up to attend one of the up coming workshops detailed below:

  • Wednesday 20th May    10 – 1        St Mary’s
  • Thursday 9th July           1-4           South Kensington

Dancers join the fight to beat Cancer at Imperial Festival


Imperial Festival, Saturday 9 and 10 May 2015

Saturday 9 May at 3pm
Sunday 10 May, 12.30pm & 2pm
Imperial College, Exhibition Road • London SW7 2AZ

Combination Dance Company presents REcode, a dance work explaining cutting edge medical research into cancer treatment. Created with support from Imperial College London, the dancers transform molecular biology into entertaining dance, whilst also reflecting the experiences of those who have been treated. The scientific content is based upon, and was developed with support from Professor Michael Seckl and Ana Costa-Pereira at Imperial College London and their team of leading researchers.

Whilst conveying complex science simply through movement, REcode reflects upon the importance of ongoing improvements in different types of cancer treatment and prognosis to those affected and the hope they each hold.

REcode is choreographed by Artistic Director, Anne-Marie Smalldon with a cast of outstanding dancers trained at British conservatoires including London Contemporary Dance School and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance plus two artists from Team ProRank the UK’S leading martial arts performance team bringing a unique combination of martial arts, dance and weaponry.

Combination Dance Company is committed to contributing to public health agendas through dance, offering performances and dance activities that aim to inspire and encourage participation. In 2008 Combination Dance were recognised by the Mayor of London with a health award for their outstanding partnership with the Richmond-upon-Thames local authority and their commitment to improving public health.

REcode is being presented at other public events in the summer including a free event at The National Physical Laboratory in Teddington on July 17. This project has been supported by Arts Council England through Grants for The Arts.


Further performances and information can be found at



Twitter                       @CombinationDC                   #REcodedance            #impfest