Author: Kathryn Johnson

Cutting edge research on the future training of orthopaedic surgeons

Mr Rahul Bhattacharyya and Mr Chinmay Gupte.

Chinmay Gupte (Clinical Senior Lecturer) and Rahul Bhattacharyya (Clinical Research Fellow) both presented papers at the 8th Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics Conference, to over 4500 delegates from around the world at this high impact meeting, which took place in Los Angeles earlier this month,

They presented a paper on a Generic Cognitive Task Analysis (GCTA) wizard – A tool to train orthopaedic trauma surgeons of the future which allows experts to impart complex cognitive knowledge to trainees in a simple, structured manner, utilising written and audio-visual stimuli simultaneously to teach surgical steps.

The other paper focused on Training safer knee arthroscopists – A randomised controlled trial demonstrating the benefits of the Imperial Knee Arthroscopy Cognitive Task Analysis (IKACTA) tool in high-fidelity phantom limb simulation, which has demonstrated significant benefits in training in diagnostic knee arthroscopy.

Find out more about the 2017 Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics Conference.

Success at the Royal Society of Medicine Venous Forum Annual Meeting

The Vascular Team had a very successful day at the Royal Society of Medicine Venous Forum Annual Meeting, which took place on the 11-12th July 2017. The meeting aims to promote healthcare in the field of venous disease, provide information for the public and healthcare professionals on the management of venous disease, encourage research into new technologies with the aim of improving care of patients with venous disease and to define and continually improve standards for the delivery of healthcare in the field of venous disease.

1st prize went to Roshan Bootun for: Randomised controlled trial of compression therapy following endothermal ablation (COMETA trial).

2nd prize went to Sarah Onida for: Metabolic phenotyping of chronic venous disease by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

The prize winners presented their work with two BSc students: Matthew Kia Tan and Lara Rose Manley.

Find out more about the Venous Forum annual meeting 2017.

Entry into the School of Pain

Congratulations to Dr Harriet Kemp (Clinical Research Fellow) who this year was selected to attend the second North American Pain School, a fully funded partnership between the International Association for the Study of Pain and the Quebec Pain Research Network, which took place in Montebello Canada over 5 days this June.

The Pain School aims to bring together 30 selected graduate and post-doc pain researchers (basic and clinical research) from around the world to participate in a specialised lecture series, workshops and patient engagement activities, as well as perform in a series of debates.

There is a unique link with the Pain Research Forum which allows school attendees to learn about the importance of science communication by interviewing faculty and producing blog posts and twitter stories.

You can find out more about what Dr Kemp got up to at the Pain School via her Twitter @DrHarrietKemp.


How patient involvement groups are influencing research

Congratulations to Mr Oliver Boughton (Clinical Research Fellow and Specialist Registrar in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery) who won the prize for patient and public involvement in research at the Imperial Clinical Academic Trainees Annual Research Symposium earlier this month, after he co-founded the Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) Research Group in the MSk Lab with Matthew Ryan.

The PPI research group works with members of the public with pre-operative and post-operative orthopaedic conditions, to help shape the future of orthopaedic research into more effective methods of surgery and care. The first PPI group took place in July 2016 and since then there have been two further meetings.

Mr Oliver Boughton speaks further on the importance of involving patients with his research:

The involvement helps our lab by focussing our research on that which benefits patients, either directly through improving surgical techniques and devices, or indirectly by researching the science behind how bones behave under loading and how our joints move.

Patients have very much enjoyed being shown the lab and the research going on and have asked us great questions. This led to one patient asking an important question that has not been answered yet sufficiently in the literature and I am currently writing a systematic review to answer this question and am inviting the patient to be a co-author on the paper.

Find out more about the Patient Involvement Group on the MSk Lab website.

Positive Outcome for Prostate Cancer Research Collaboration

Further funding has been secured for the London Movember Centre of Excellence in Prostate Cancer Research; a joint research programme between Imperial (Prof Charlotte Bevan), The Institute for Cancer Research (Prof Johann de Bono) and UCL (Prof Mark Emberton).

The Centre is funded by a 5-year grant and following a mid-term review, earlier this year has now received confirmation of a successful outcome to fund the final 2 years for the current programme.

Congratulations on the impressive progress achieved through the Centre of Excellence to date, we look forward to continue working with you over the coming years. Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research, Prostate Cancer UK

You can find out more about the Movember Centre of Excellence and all the work taking place around prostate cancer in the Department of Surgery and Cancer.

Breast Cancer Research Wins Prize

Congratulations to Mr Edward St John (Clinical Research Fellow in Surgery), who won the British Journal of Surgery (BJS) Prize for best research presentation, after presenting his research entitled “Rapid Evaporative Ionisation Mass Spectrometry of Surgical Vapours Towards an Intelligent Knife for Precision Breast Surgery” at the annual Association of Breast Surgeons Conference 2017, held in Belfast.

Mr St John said he was honoured to have won this prestigious prize and is passionate about innovations in surgery and hopes his research will contribute to the field of intraoperative margin assessment techniques for breast cancer patients. Through his work as a breast surgeon, he strives for advances that might lead to better outcomes for breast cancer patients.

Find out more about Mr St John’s research through his latest publication in the leading breast cancer journal Breast Cancer Research.

Media highlight: Medical emergencies in space

Mr Matthieu Komorowski, Clinical Research Fellow in Intensive Care and PhD student in Surgery and Cancer, spoke at the Euroanaesthesia Annual Conference about the unusual and challenging problem of how to perform emergency medical procedures during space missions.

You can find out more about this fascinating research through the following media coverage:


Professor Nadey Hakim to become President’s new Envoy

The President of Imperial has invited Professor Nadey Hakim to become a President’s Envoy, initially for the period 1st June 2017 until 31st May 2019.

This is in recognition of his considerable knowledge and valuable expertise used on behalf of the College and he will work with the President with the aim of enhancing Imperial’s approach to scientific discovery and application for the benefit of society.

The honorary role of President’s Envoy is in addition to Professor Hakim’s Adjunct Professorship with the Department.

PhD student wins hackathon

Current STRATiGRAD PhD student Sam Cooper was on the winning team at this weekend’s Pistoia Alliance deep learning hackathon, which aimed to put together deep/machine learning researchers with scientists working in the pharmaceutical industry to promote collaborations between the fields.

At the event, a series of challenges and datasets were put forward by companies in the Pistoia Alliance. Teams were then tasked with developing innovative machine learning solutions to these challenges. Sam speaks below about his experience.

What problem were you trying to solve? 

We worked on a challenge put forward by Janssen in which we had to predict the activity of a drug across 7 different biological assays given its activity in thousands of other assays. However, drugs were very rarely active and as such the data was very sparse. Such data represents a real challenge to machine learning algorithms.

What was your winning solution?

To solve this challenge we developed a neural network using functions specifically designed for very sparse data, which enabled us to predict the results of the assay more accurately than everyone else. This was helped by the fact we specially configured a cloud computing server provided by Microsoft Azure for the event to train the network using graphics cards, which can train neural networks thousands of times faster rate than the processors used on standard servers and desktop computers.

What do you plan to do with the prize money?

Have a nice relaxing weekend away that doesn’t involve programming!

Find out more about Sam’s work in a recent article giving a new insight on how cancer cells replicate following a publication in Nature Communications this month.

Young Investigators Prize

Congratulations to Jack Leese (UG student BSc Surgery and Anaesthesia) who has been awarded the Young Investigator Prize at the Winter Meeting of the Anatomical Society for his presentation of the research conducted as part of his BSc Surgery and Anaesthesia project (supervised by Professor Ceri Davies).

The prize is awarded for research conducted as an undergraduate or a PhD student and must be presented within 1 year of graduation.  His talk was entitled An Investigation of the anatomy of the Infrapatellar Fat Pad: a cadaveric study.

New Opportunity to Influence Big Data Initiative

Congratulations to Dr Catherine Van Der Straeten (Senior Clinical Scientist in Translational Musculoskeletal Science and Technology) who has become the new Deputy Chair of the METADAC Big Data Initiative. The METADAC is a multi-agency multi-study, designed to establish an independent mechanism for the efficient and effective governance of access to biosamples and health-related data from several leading UK cohort studies. Launched in June 2015, the METADAC also seeks to provide a scalable mechanism to enable additional cohorts to be included in the future, thus relieving the need for each to produce structures, policies and guidelines at considerable additional expense.

The Deputy Chair of the METADAC is a voting member of the Committee, with additional responsibilities.  Dr Van Der Straeten will bring bio-medical expertise to complement the current Chair’s social scientific background and has a strong history in the field of genetic and medical research in longitudinal studies. As part of her former job, Dr Van Der Straeten was the Medical Director of the Biobank at Ghent University Hospital, and has an extensive track record in clinical research.

Dr Van Der Straeten has also been appointed as the Surgery Subspecialty (Orthopaedics) Lead for Northwest London as part of the NIHR CRN. Thorough both positions she aims to use her influence and expertise to make a difference and help create new opportunities for the Department.

Outstanding Award for Excellent Achievement

Congratulations to Professor Daqing Ma (Professor of Anaesthesia), who received an Outstanding Award from the Chinese Society of Anaesthesiology and Chinese Journal of Anesthesiology, Beijing, China, in December 2016, for his special contribution to the development and excellent achievement in Anesthesiology.

Professor Ma was also invited to deliver a talk entitled “Distant organ cross-talk at times of injury” in a Joint basic science in transplant meeting of the American Society of Transplant and European Society for Organ Transplantation held in Fort Lauderdale, America last November.

Inauguration of the International Phenome Centre Network at Doha

(L-R) Prof Ara Darzi (Imperial), Dame Sally Davies (Chief Medical Officer for England), Prof Jeremy Nicholson (Imperial), Prof Geoff Ginsburg (Director of Duke Centre for Applied genomics and Precision Medicine), Prof John Rudhan (Head of Dept Surgery, Queens University)

On November 29th, Imperial inaugurated the International Phenome Centre Network (IPCN), at the WISH conference in Doha. Building on the best-practices established at the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre, the IPCN will promote global harmonisation in the field of metabolic phenotyping, and using the data sets generated, conduct research to inform global public health policies and the development of new therapies.

Dame Sally Davies, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer stated:

Phenomic research really is one of the next medical frontiers which can advance our understanding of a whole raft of diseases and conditions. The way we treat autism, cancers, mental health, stroke, obesity, metabolic diseases and type 2 diabetes could all be revolutionised by research in this area. It is also really good for work to cross international boundaries to find ways of tackling the biggest global public health challenges facing us today faster.

For more information see the website at

Professor Wilson wins Martin Medal

Congratulations to Professor Ian Wilson who was awarded the Martin Medal, from the Chromatographic Society which recognises scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of separation science. Professor Wilson received the medal from Dr Tony Edge of the Chromatographic Society in the closing ceremony of the 31st International Symposium on Chromatography (ISC), which was held from the 28th August to the 1st of September 2016, at the University of Cork, Ireland.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1952 was awarded jointly to Archer John Porter Martin and Richard Laurence Millington Synge “for their invention of partition chromatography”. In 1978 Prof Martin gave permission for the Chromatographic Society (Society currently celebrating its 60th Anniversary Year) to associate his name with the Martin Medal.


MPs visit Imperial to find out about the latest in ovarian cancer research

Members of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Ovarian Cancer including Sharon Hodgson MP (Chair) and Mark Durkan MP visited the Imperial Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre (OCARC) last week, together with representatives from Ovarian Cancer Action, to learn about some of the ovarian research being carried out at Imperial. After some good discussion around ovarian cancer screening, genetic testing and strategies for early detection and diagnosis, the group had a tour of the OCARC labs and discussion with some of the scientists.

Keep up to date with what’s happening at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre via Twitter @OCARC_Imperial