Month: June 2015

Exciting new wound care teaching competency

session picture 1 (2)Joanne Jones, Clinical Skills Tutor at St Mary’s has developed a new wound care competency to enhance the teaching of Imperial Medical Students and Simulation/Foundation training, using simulated purpose made ‘insitu wounds’.

As part of their curriculum, students are taught clinical skills such as cannulation/venepuncture/suturing, in the skills lab (using models). Wound care has never been taught as part of a clinical competency before so this new development provides an exciting opportunity for students to learn in a more engaging and realistic wayWound.


Third annual CPSSQ symposium

We are pleased to announce that Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS England, will provide the keynote address for our third annual symposium on 9 September 2015 from 2-6pm.

The symposium is organised by the National Institute for Health Research Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (NIHR Imperial PSTRC) on behalf of the Imperial Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality (CPSSQ) and the event will be held at the Imperial South Kensington Campus.

Other presentations will showcase some of the patient safety research conducted by the CPSSQ and the PSTRC and will discuss implications for practice. Further details will be circulated in due course.

Please register by emailing

Researchers develop new breath test to diagnose oesophageal and gastric cancer



Prof George Hanna is lead author of a study published today looking at a breath test that can help doctors diagnose the early signs of oesophageal and gastric cancer in minutes.

The test has produced encouraging results in a clinical study, and will now be tested in a larger trial involving three hospitals in London.

Read more

Support for staff via the Departmental Lifestyles page

lifestylesThe Surgery and Cancer Lifestyles page brings together information on the following areas:

Family Life

Athena SWAN

  • What it’s about, what we’re going to do and how we’re doing it


  • How to find a mentor or become a mentor in the Department

Staff development and support

  • Training and development opportunities
  • Flexible working information
  • Postdoc Development center

Congratulations for prestigious prize

iKnife_3014783bCongratulations to Edward St John, Clinical Research Fellow supervised by Prof Ara Darzi, Prof Zoltan Takats and Mr Daniel Leff who has won a prestigious prize from the British Journal of Surgery for best oral presentation at the Association of Breast Surgery (ABS) Conference 2015.

The presentation was entitled: Intra-operative Rapid Evaporative Ionisation Mass Spectrometry: A Future Intelligent Knife (iKnife) for Oncological Margin Control? The authors of the research were: St.John ER, Balog J, Muirhead LJ, Speller A, Jones EA, Shousha S, Ramakrishnan R, Darzi A, Takats Z, Leff DR.

Department’s first Athena SWAN Lecture

BannerThe Department’s first Athena SWAN Lecture will be delivered by Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons. Please put the date in your diary:

5.00 for 5.30 pm start on WEDNESDAY, 2ND DECEMBER 2015 – to be held at South Kensington

The Lecture will be followed by a Reception and more information will be sent out nearer the time regarding the title and confirmation of venue and to note, we will be arranging crèche facilities to facilitate those of you with childcare responsibilities to attend.

1000 mile cycle challenge to raise money for research into miscarriage

FernGenesis Research Trust Director of Marketing and Communications shares her experience of the 1000 mile cycle challenge she recently took part in, to raise money for the for the Genesis Research Trust. The charity is the largest UK-based collection of scientists and clinicians researching the causes and cures for conditions that affect the health of women and babies.

It all started following a conversation with our Patron Fern Britton, novelist and presenter, whose ambition was to cycle from John O’Groats to Lands End – yes, this way round, and they say it’s tougher. The ride would be themed around the number 57: Fern was born in 1957, she is 57 years old and would cycle approximately 57 miles per day. Our target would be to raise £57,000 for research into miscarriage.

The whole challenge would take 21 days, and after several months of planning a complex itinerary provided by our brilliant tour operator Classic Tours, the ride was launched in October 2014. To our amazement, around 80 riders joined us, 23 of whom cycled the whole way. Social Media started buzzing with excitement, nerves and encouragement from those supporting us.

Most days were damp and cold with huge downpours of rain and biting winds. It seemed like we were following the elements rather than leaving them. Our route took us through the breath-taking Highlands with its endless hills, including the famous 5 mile Rest and Be Thankful; the specular Lake District including the summit of Shap where we had to be rescued by our trusted ground team as the group was struggling to stay on their bikes battling against 48 mph winds; and finally the most difficult stage, from the beautiful, but unforgiving moorlands of Dartmoor to our destination – Land’s End.

Despite the exhaustion and aching muscles, there was always laughter and plenty of smiles. The acts of kindness, encouragement and donations given along the way were simply overwhelming. Our laundry was taken care of by wonderful supporters meeting us at our hotels and returning early the next day, delicious Scottish tablet in Fort William; Rocky Roads and beautifully decorated cakes; teams of massage therapists; a team of cyclists chaperoning us en route; even a police escort into Weston-Super- Mare; dance music in Manchester on the A538 with sounds of supportive horns. What a treat it was when World Champion Silver medallist, Tony Gibb turned up at a service station in Abington to cheer us on and gave our bikes a once over. We were then joined by Chris Mancho an experienced cyclist and Director of our major sponsor Emma’s Diary patrolling and advising on cycling technique.

The challenge was a true test of endurance, but every pedal push meant that we could and would make a difference to those who suffer the tragedy of miscarriage. The enthusiasm, camaraderie and teamwork led by our wonderful Patron Fern Britton were enduring. Fern ensured that everyone stayed motivated and lifted our spirits with her engaging anecdotes and cheer. No one ever worried about feeling alone and the words ‘are you OK?’ were the mantra for the group.

Time passed by quickly and everyone was apprehensive about the last day. The event was working like a military operation and we all had our routine for 3 weeks, eat- cycle – eat – cycle – take pictures– eat – pack – sleep – etc. We were a family and would shortly have to say goodbye and go back to our normal lives. However, we cycled to the finish line together, just how we started – as a team. The feeling of success and achievement was immense and seeing Professor Winston greeting us at the finish line was just the icing on the cake. It was a truly unforgettable experience .

This was the first ever UK challenge for Genesis Research Trust and a true test of courage and determination particularly on the part of those who cycled the whole tour. The amount raised exceeded expectations – an estimated £150,000.

Thank you to Fern and all the riders, to the sponsors and those who donated and supported us along the way – together we are going to beat miscarriage.

Charity Representatives: Yvonne Konieczna and Nicolle Grace (staff at Imperial College London, Hammersmith Campus), to join a challenge or for more information about Genesis Research Trust click here or call 020 7584 2192

NIHR Clinical Research Network helps to recruit first global patient in surgical research study


The NIHR Clinical Research Network, which supports researchers and clinicians across Imperial College and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, have helped recruit the first global patient into a surgical study. The trial, which is being conducted by Mr Ahmed Ahmed (Clinical Senior Lecturer in Bariatric Surgery), will compare types of surgical stapler, to investigate whether a newer device will be more efficient and reduce complications for patients.

For more information on the Clinical Research Network, visit their website, follow them at @nihrcrn_nwldn or email

Departmental news round up

Professor Jeremy Nicholson:
• has been appointed a Visiting Professor at the University of New South Wales
• delivered a lecture: Systems medicine: facing personalised and public healthcare: challenges in a changing and dangerous world – Institute of Foundational Medicine, Austin Texas, 28 – 30 May

Professor Bob Brown and Dr. Luca Magnani are part of an ambitious European consortium working on breast cancer drug resistance and were awarded 2 EU funded PhD positions

Professor Vivette Glover is giving the Victor Horsley Lecture at the annual meeting of the BMA on “Prenatal mental health- how supporting the mother can have long term benefits for the child.”

Dr Hector Keun just took part in a panel debate on “How life affects your genes” (the exposome and epigenetics) at the Cheltenham Science Festival last Weds, together with Prof Frank Kelly (Kings) and chaired by Vivienne Parry (OBE, and MRC Board)

Dr Sadaf Ghaem-Maghami has been appointed as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

A Scientific Afternoon, chaired by Prof Phil Bennett, was held on 1st June to mark the retirement of Professor Malcolm Parker.

Dr Luca Magnani, JRF working with Prof Charles Coombes, was invited for a talk at the prestigious Gordon Conference “Hormone-Dependent Cancers”

Dr. Monica Faronato won the best poster award at the BSCB Spring Meeting in Warwick with her work on DMXL2 (paper published 2 weeks ago)

Scientists involved in Breast Cancer research met with breast cancer patients at an “open-house” event organised by Kelly Gleason. The event was a great success and provided scientists and patients with an opportunity to engage directly and further insight into translational research and patient benefit.

Ian Flindall’s abstract Structured cues or modafinil for fatigue amelioration in clinicians ? A double blind randomised controlled trial of critical clinical information recall in fatigued clinicians has been accepted for an oral presentation in the 2015 Scientific Forum program and has been selected for an Excellence in Research Award for the category of Education.

Dr Steve Brett had a successful publication of a project which involved a collaboration between the Faculties of Medicine, Engineering and industry.

Dame Mary Archer visited CSM and the new Data Visualisation Suite – 11th June 2015.

Professor Ara Darzi was invited to contribute a blog to the Royal College of Surgeons’ recently launched blog site.  His blog on ‘Surgery and the Future of the NHS’ went live on their website on the 1st June.

IGHI news round up

  • IGHI logoLord Darzi and the IGHI hosted a visit by senior Burmese health policy advisors to provide them with an opportunity to capture new ideas and priorities in healthcare policy, as well as international expertise as they expand and develop Burma’s future healthcare agenda.
  • Led by Lord Darzi, the IGHI hosted a visit by the Kuwaiti Assistant Undersecretary of State for Health to follow up on Kuwait’s renewed commitment to progress their interest in a Simulation Centre collaboration with Imperial.
  • The IGHI hosted a visit by Ambassador Tania Dussey-Cavassini, Vice-Director General of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and Swiss Ambassador for Global Health, who was accompanied by Ms Manuela Ocana, Scientific Advisor, Biosafety and Human Genetics. Ambassador Dussey-Cavassini has a special interest in the IGHI’s work and requested a visit to discuss the Institute’s current priorities as well as its longer term strategic work plan.
  • The first Sowerby Interpretive Review ‘Nothing about me without me’ by Erik Mayer and Sagar Jilkar has been accepted and published in the ‘Journal of Medical Internet Research’ (JMIR).
  • Effectiveness of interventions to improve patient handover in surgery: A systematic review [Epub ahead of print] on 18 May 2015 in Surgery pii: S0039-6060(15)00211-1. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2015.02.017. by Pucher PH, Johnston MJ, Aggarwal R, Arora S, Darzi A
  • Raising the Alarm: A Cross-Sectional Study Exploring the Factors Affecting Patients’ Willingness to Escalate Care on Surgical Wards [Epub ahead of print] on 27 May 2015 in World J Surg. 2015 by Johnston MJ, Davis RE, Arora S, King D, Reissis Y, Darzi A.
  • Professor David Meltzer – Director of the Center for Health and the Social Sciences, and Chair of the Committee on Clinical and Translational Science at The University of Chicago presented the second session in LHSN’s Safer Care Accelerator webinar series on 21st May. He discussed the rationale for and design of the Comprehensive Care Physician model – a program designed to improve care coordination by having physicians provide both inpatient and outpatient care to patients at high risk of hospitalization. He also reported on the progress of the study of the model, supported by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Eight LHSN organisations were in attendance.
  • Colin Bicknell gave invited lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine Presidents’ Day titled ‘Error evaluation in Surgery’ 4 June 2015.Gianluca Fontana represented the Centre for Health Policy in a meeting with a governmental delegation from the state of Rajasthan in India on 19th May at the UK India Business Council.
  • LHSN’s 15 member organisations began work on the Patient Safety Information Scorecard – a project designed to provide a comparative view of what information is used for patient safety and how effectively this information is used across healthcare systems. Two member systems completed the initial scorecard questionnaire, with others aiming to do so by the end of June.

Mentoring update

MentoringThe Surgery and Cancer mentoring scheme is now well underway but we still need to get more mentors signed up across all specialties and at all levels. If you would be interested in becoming a mentor the following training workshops are available:

  • Thursday 9th July – 1-4 – South Kensington
  • Tuesday 11th August – 10-1 – Hammersmith

For more information and to book on please see the Surgery and Cancer mentoring webpages. You will also find details there on getting yourself a mentor.


Clinical research fellow wins again

Congratulations to Sarah Onida (Clinical Research Fellow in Vascular Surgery) who after winning the first prize at the 6th Venous Symposium in April has now won the Pump Priming Grant at the Royal Society of Medicine Venous Forum Annual Spring Meeting.

The prize gives a grant of £5000 to allow a researcher to get preliminary data to support research in venous disease/phlebology. It is an annual award granted by the Royal Society of Medicine to a single trainee each year and is open to vascular trainee specialists under 40 years of age. The results of the research must then be presented at the next RSM annual spring meeting.

PhD students win travel award funding

Three STRATiGRAD PhD students have been awarded with travel funding, allowing them to attend and take part in various conferences to share their work.

Luisa Doria has been awarded a travel grant from the Imperial College Trust General Fund. She will be using this grant to attend the 11th Annual International Conference of the Metabolomics Society, after being accepted for a long oral presentation, entitled: “A systems biology approach for the classification of ovarian cancer specimens by desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry” in the session provisionally titled “Systems biology of cancer metabolism”. The title of the paper will be: A systems biology approach for the classification of ovarian cancer specimens by desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry.

Jocelyn  Tillner has been awarded three travel grants from the ASMS, British Society for Mass Spectrometry and Imperial College Trust General Fund. Jocelyn will be attending the Annual conference of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry in St Louis, Missouri, to present a poster on “Cross-platform applicability of DESI-MSI – effect of ion source setups and atmospheric pressure interfaces on performance and information recovery”.

Nazanin Zounemat Kermani has also been awarded grants to attend talks for both the Metabolomics and ASMS 2015 conferences.