Month: February 2016

Prof Nicholson gives Royal Society of Medicine Lecture

Prof Nicholson with President of the Royal Society of Medicine Mr Babulal Sethia
Prof Nicholson with President of the Royal Society of Medicine Mr Babulal Sethia

Prof Jeremy Nicholson last week gave the 2016 London Clinic Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine, entitled: Developing new systems medicine technologies and approaches to meet healthcare challenges in a changing world.

Professor Nicholson’s lecture spoke about some of the major challenges in personalised medicine and public health, looking at how developing new clinically actionable technologies can both help guide new choices in personalised acute medicine and surgery and inform future healthcare policy in the changing face of human disease.

Prof Takata takes on new advisory role

Masao TakataProfessor Masao Takata has been appointed as ‘Designated Professor’ by Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo Japan, from 1-10-2015 to 31-3-2017.

This specially appointed honorary professorship is designed to advise the Rector on the university’s global/international and educational strategies, through meeting with the Rector and his top management board.

The role will also give research/educational sessions to graduate students and provide the opportunity to discuss potential research collaborations.

Distinguished Scholarship Award

Left, Zainab with Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi and the Minister of the Interior; Right, Zainab at the podium.
Left, Zainab with Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi and the Minister of the Interior; Right, Zainab at the podium.

Zainab Al Shareef, a PhD student in the Wnt team of the Prostate Cancer Group in the Division of Cancer, has been awarded a prestigious Distinguished Scholarship Award in the category of Innovative Ideas by the Ministry of Interior, Abu Dhabi/United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is the first year for these awards, which were created to honour Emirati scholarship students from government and private agencies from around the world. Zainab was presented with the award by General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior.

The ceremony, held in the presence of Her Excellency Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, President of the Federal National Council, took place at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Abu Dhabi on January 6th. Zainab’s proposal was to establish a Tumour Bank in the UAE with the dual aims of tackling the genetic causes of cancer that are most prevalent in this region and improving the academic and financial sectors through establishment of a postgraduate research plan that integrates with the global biotechnology market. Zainab was previously honoured by the UAE embassy in London for high academic achievement.

New staff health and wellbeing pages for all staff

The new Health and Wellbeing web pages bring together the support, training and development that is offered for staff, from across the College.

They cover a range of topics including resilience and stress management, mental health, physical health, meditation, and more. Events and new resources will be added throughout the year so keep checking the pages and following updates via the LDC Twitter.

The Impact of Drug Design Conference

Prizewinners’ presentation with organiser and DMDG Chairman Peter Kilford
Prizewinners’ presentation with conference organiser and DMDG Chairman Peter Kilford (L-R) Pete Bradshaw (Best Student Poster Prize), Amanda Race (Best Poster Prize), Peter Kilford (Organising Committee), Filipa Atunes (Best “Flash” Presentation)

Toby Athersuch (Conference Organiser; Lecturer in S&C) write up of the event:

Over one hundred delegates attended the 3rd New Perspectives in DMPK conference at RSC Burlington House on 8-9 February 2016. The meeting was jointly organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector (RSC-BMCS), the Drug Metabolism Discussion Group (DMDG), the British Pharmacological Society (BPS), and the Drug Metabolism Group (DMG). The meeting was directly supported by several industrial exhibitors – Agilent Technologies, Biopharma Group, HiChrom, Hypha Discovery, Selcia, XenoGesis – and received additional promotion through Future Science Group /

Keynote speaker Charlotte Allerton (Pfizer Worldwide R&D) started proceedings by provided an excellent framework for discussion through her presentation “Evolution of DMPK sciences and drug design”, ahead of the main conference sessions – each based around a key theme linking aspects of DMPK and drug design.  In the theme of “Understanding and exploiting endogenous drug targets”, contributions included those focused on understanding the role of transporters (Scott Summerfield, GSK), selective metabolism for improved targeting of therapies (Klaus Pors, University of Bradford), (Rowan Stringer, Novartis), and chemical aspects of using deutero-substituted compounds for tuned PK and metabolism properties, and compound reactivity for optimising covalent inhibitors (Nicola Colclough, AstraZeneca). Chemical reactivity was also discussed through the different lenses of being included by intention, requiring minimisation, and representing a safety risk – “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” (Philip MacFaul, RedX Pharma). Rick Schneider (Pfizer Worldwide R&D) concluded the session with a review of the strategies employed to reduce candidate attrition through the identification of reactive metabolite liabilities in the R&D pipeline

Subsequent sessions turned the focus to exploring the current state of in silico approaches across DMPK and medicinal chemistry drug design. Neil Berry (University of Liverpool) provided an excellent overview of available strategies, and illustrated real world impact that they have had in recent projects (anti-malarial therapy, chronic pain, and filariasis). The wider context for these – and other – tools was provided by Marcel Hop (Genentech), who described how computational methods can potentially inform the lead optimisation process, and help achieve an appropriate balance of the “5Rs” the right target / right patient / right tissue / right safety / right commercial potential.  Other contributors to these sessions focused on in silico prediction of metabolism (Robert Glen, Imperial College London / University of Cambridge), and the support that PBPK / PDPK models can make in directly supporting stages in both drug design (Nicolas Frances, Roche) and the prediction of appropriate clinical treatment schedules that can both optimise dose/response profiles, and feed back to chemists to inform compound design for improved pharmacokinetics (Owen Jones, AstraZeneca).

The changing landscape in which DMPK operates was also illustrated by Owen Jones, who commented on the increased interactivity of DMPK scientists within the R&D activities. These comments echoed those by Richard Weaver (XenoGesis) who provided a perspective on how the changes in how R&D knowledge is obtained and used within large pharmaceutical companies have provided opportunities for CRO engagement across multiple research activities, but that continued efforts to highlight the centrality of DMPK are needed to ensure value and impact are demonstrated and appreciated within the wider R&D context.

Awards for best ‘flash’ presentation, was made to Fillipa Antunes (Albumedix) for her elevator pitch of her poster “New pre-clinical model for studying and optimizing the pharmacokinetics of albumin-linked drugs”. Poster prizes were awarded to Peter Bradshaw (ICL) and Amanda Race (University of Bradford), who each received recent DMPK book titles, kindly provided by RSC Publishing.

The Organising Committee wish to thank all those who made platform or poster presentations, exhibitors, and conference delegates for making the conference a success, prompting excellent debate, enabling networking, and fostering collaborative work and knowledge-sharing in this exciting research area.

If you attended and have further feedback that would help guide future events, please send it to the conference coordinator:

For more information on the New Perspectives in DMPK series, please visit the website:

Surgery and Cancer Postgraduate student shortlisted

icimagesLaura Bella – Research Postgraduate student working in the Division of Cancer has submitted an image which has been shortlisted in Imperial’s Art of Research competition, aimed to find images which celebrate the diversity of scientific research at Imperial.

Laura’s image illustrates the research she is doing on cancer spread, showing a zebra fish embryo which has been implanted with a tumor, shown in red. The small red dots spread around the embryo’s body are cells which were able to escape to form new cancers.

A selection of entries will be displayed at an exhibition in the College Main Entrance from Monday 15- Friday 19 February. The winners will be announced on the final day of the exhibition.


School of Public Health Athena SWAN Lecture

The honour of your company is requested at the fourth annual School of Public Health Athena SWAN Lecture on the 2nd of March 2016, followed by a drinks reception.

We are delighted to be welcoming Dr Fiona Godlee FRCP, Editor in Chief of the British Medical Journal to give an Athena SWAN Lecture entitled “An Editor’s View”

Date: Wednesday 2nd March 2016 – 16:30 – 17:30 pm
Location: G34 Lecture Theatre, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, South Kensington Campus

To register, please follow this link:

Introduction to Science – Lab Tour

Students enrolled on one of Imperials evening classes entitled Introduction to Science (ItS) course visited the main analytical facility at South Kensington last week to hear how and why researchers in Computational Systems Medicine use high-resolution spectroscopic techniques in their research. The Introduction to Science course is one of the many evening classes run at Imperial by the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication, and attracts a range of non-specialist adult learners with a keen interest in science.

Lecturer Dr Toby Athersuch gave the class a short tutorial on the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and chromatography, and how these can be used to interrogate complex biofluids and understand their composition. Along with CSM PhD students Liza Selley and Torben Kimhofer, the enthusiastic visitors were given a flavour for how these analytical platforms are used in our basic scientific research, as well as some clinical and epidemiological applications.

The discussions touched on several key areas including approaches for structural elucidation of unknown compounds, current applications for real-time monitoring in surgery, and the challenge of analysing the megavariate dataset they generate. Course Leader, Dr David Stokes said that feedback on the evening had been very positive:

“The visit was great, the class was really inspired and a lot of the rest of the class was spent talking through what we’d seen …. we all really enjoyed it (myself included!). It was the best visit yet!”

For more information, visit: