Author: Kathryn Johnson

New Style Departmental Meeting Attracts the Crowds

scmeeting2016-1-002The Department was delighted to welcome more than 175 staff and students to the Surgery and Cancer Departmental Staff meeting held yesterday. Prof Regan chaired the meeting and Prof Nicholson gave a brief overview of the Department, covering some recent successes as well as opportunities for the future.

scmeeting2016-11-1The agenda then moved to a much more interactive phase with participants responding to questions on the real-time polling software Mentimeter, ably compered by Toby Athersuch. Via people’s online devices staff answered questions about the culture of the Department.

Paul Strutton then spoke about his role as mental health champion for the Department and provided a very informative overview of the College and Department support available for staff and students. Covering the Departmental mentoring scheme, staff support scheme, health and wellbeing and parents network.

scmeeting2016-30After a break everyone moved to their allocated colour table to engage in table discussions led by Kate Hardy, covering topis of communications, behaviour and networking. Each table was presented with a question relating to one of these topics and asked to discuss the issue and come up with possible solutions.



The results of the Mentimeter questions were then presented by Ana Costa-Pereira via visuals generated through the Mentimeter software.

In concluding the meeting – Jeremy and Lesley led the Department’s response and indicated their enthusiasm for many of the ideas generated and their commitment to implementing actionable ideas. Visuals from the Mentimeter questions and a report of the outcomes of the table discussions will be circulated shortly and there will be more updates from this meeting as actionable items are implemented.

We’d welcome any thoughts you have about how the afternoon worked for you – What was good?  What was bad?  What would you like to see next time? Please send comments to

PhD student wins 2016 MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Prize

maxp-winnerCongratulations to Computation and Systems Medicine PhD student Liza Selly who won the 2016 Max Perutz Science Writing Prize (run by MRC). From over 120 entries Liza won the prize for her piece on the negative effects of brake dust emissions on human health and the economy.  To read more on Liza’s work please see the MRC blog post on Braking perceptions of traffic pollution. 

Sepsis is a Hot Topic at the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine Annual Conference


Prof Anthony Gordon was invited to give a plenary talk entitled “Levosimendan for the Prevention of Acute Organ Dysfunction in Sepsis” in the “Hot Topics” session at the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine annual conference in Milan on October 5th 2016. The presentation was accompanied by  a simultaneous publication in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Success at the World Congress on Pain in Yokohama Japan

Dr Harriet Kemp sharing her work on corneal confocal microscopy & neuropathic pain.

Congratulations to Helen Laycock and Harriet Kemp, two Clinical Research Fellows working in Pain Research, who together have won best poster prize in the clinical science category at the World Congress on Pain which took place last month in Yokohama Japan. The winning poster was selected as one of three prize winners from over 2000 posters submitted.



Life in Science – Improving Crystal Quality

naomi-with-crystals Read an Interview with Professor Naomi Chayen, head of the Crystallization Group in Computational and Systems Medicine, winner of prestigious awards, including Innovator of the Year, and nicknamed the ‘Crystallization Guru’.

Prof Naomi Chayen talks about her career and the work her lab is doing to help advance the crystallization field.

Exceptions Teaching Rewarded

dr-paul-abel415Huge congratulations go to Professor Paul Abel (Prof of Urology) who has won the Associate Dean’s Award, a newly created prize to celebrate individuals who have dedicated themselves to teaching.

Prof Abel was recognised for his many years of teaching at the School of Medicine and overall dedication to students, many of which spoke extremely highly of his teaching and recognised him as an inspiratory educator.

The Associate Dean’s award will be presented at the School of Medicine’s Teaching Excellence ceremony in November and comes with a prize of £250.

Major Funding Received to Reduce Infections in Patients with Liver Failure

Dr Harry Antoniades – Reader and Consultant Hepatologist working in Digestive Diseases, has received substantial funding with Imperial College sponsoring the study to run a 3-year multi centre clinical trial called R-RID. The trial will be looking at the use of selective intestinal decontamination to reduce infections in patients with liver failure.

Due to start on October the trial will be run in conjunction with The Royal Liverpool University Hospitals, University Hospitals Birmingham, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital and Firmly Health NHS Trusts. The two big collaborating liver centres are Birmingham Liver Unit and Liverpool.

Professor Ma gives Keynote Lecture

MaProfessor Daqing Ma delivered his keynote lecture entitled “Anaesthesia can Influence Cancer Patients’ Surgical Outcomes” at the Summer Symposium of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) on “Improving Patient Outcomes in Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine,” held in Brighton from 7 – 8 June, 2016.

The Symposium was assembled from a group of renowned national and international experts who presented on a wide range of subjects with a common theme of improving outcomes. Prof Ma’s lecture focused on his group’s “pioneering” work of the potential impact of anaesthetics/techniques in promoting cancer recurrence following surgery.  The lecture was very well received from an audience of over 500 consultant and trainee anaesthetists at the conference. Prof Ma also participated in the judging of trainee’s oral and poster presentation prizes during the conference.

Prof Ma’s area of research, which has the potential to change clinical practice for cancer patients, has been supported by his BOC Chair grant. He is also collaborating nationally (Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research) and internationally (Ireland, Sweden and China) to further the understanding of this hugely important topic, mechanistically and clinically.

Academic Promotions Success

Congratulations to all our successful Academic Promotions staff, all listed below with their new titles:

  • Oliver Pardo – Senior Lecturer
  • Antoniades Charalambos – Reader in Hepatology
  • Stephen Brett – Professor of Critical Care
  • Lakjaya Buluwela – Professor of Cancer Medicine
  • Daniel Elson – Professor of Surgical Imaging
  • Daqing Ma – Professor of Anaesthesia
  • Julian Marchesi – Professor of Digestive Health
  • Justin Vale – Professor of Practice
  • Mark Wilson – Professor of Practice
  • Neil Tolley – Professor of Practice
  • Ailsa Hart – Professor of Practice

Staff Ambassadors wanted for the Althea-Imperial Programme

The Althea-Imperial programme, which supports innovative and entrepreneurial female students, is recruiting ambassadors to help promote the scheme across all departments and faculties.

There will be a briefing session (lunch provided) on Tuesday 2nd August at 12.30pm in the Faculty Building, Boardroom, Level 4 to inform staff ambassadors on how they can help recruit and advise female students. Staff wishing to attend or find out more should email

Metabolomics Conference Dublin 2016

Current and ex- members of CSM at Metabolomics 2016, Dublin

In the last week of June, many members of Computational and Systems Medicine (CSM) hopped over to Dublin to attend the Metabolomics 2016 conference, the annual conference organised by the Metabolomics society. It was held in the new and beautiful Convention Centre of Dublin located right by the River Liffey. This year saw the biggest conference held ever, with over 800 delegates from all over the world.

Prof Jeremy Nicholson giving the opening plenary.
Prof Jeremy Nicholson giving the opening plenary

Professor Jeremy Nicholson, Head of Department of Surgery and Cancer, gave a fascinating opening plenary for the conference on metabolic profiling in systems medicine. Many of the rest of us either gave speeches or presented posters. We made new friends, learnt new methods and techniques and gained much insight into the latest development in the field of metabolomics around the world. Next year’s meeting will be held on 26th-29th June 2017 in Brisbane, Australia.

By Abellona U