Blog posts

Simplifying Symplectic, PWPs and Open access

Imperial offers several platforms and services to help track, curate and promote your research. These services are heavily integrated to the College systems, with the information and data being fed into a number of important platforms that will be fundamental in the Department and Faculty’s 2021 REF submission.

This blog will lay out what is expected of every member of staff that publishes research, how these systems work, where data is pulled to and from and, most importantly, the benefits for you and your future research. (more…)

National Women in Surgery Conference – “Is Surgery a Man’s World?”

At the end of 2019, Head of Department, Professor George Hanna spoke at the National Women in Surgery Conference 2019 hosted by the UCL Surgical Society. Statistics from the Royal College of Surgeons show that only 12.9% of consultant surgeons are female (as of 2019), which is why events such as this are vital for showing medical students and foundation trainees across the country that surgery is an achievable target for a woman.


Chris Lattimer receives the SING award at the International Union of Phlebology

Chris Lattimer (right) receiving his certificate from Professor Neil Khilnani (middle) of Cornell University, New York. Professor Tomasz Urbanek (left), congress President and President of the Polish Society of Phlebology.

Chris Lattimer PhD, vascular surgeon and director of the Josef Pflug Vascular Laboratory, was presented with the v-WIN foundation SING award (Science, Innovation & New Generations) at the International Union of Phlebology in Kracow, Poland.


Balancing Act: taking maternity leave as a PTO – Jennifer Simeon, Senior Postgraduate Education Administrator

Taking maternity leave in an academic institution can often prove to be a bit of a Balancing Act. In our second piece in the series, Jennifer Simeon, who has worked in the Department of Surgery and Cancer as Postgraduate Education Administrator for over 5 years, talks about her experience of taking maternity leave as professional technical operational staff-member (PTO).



Tuesday 11th June saw the second installment of the Healthcare Professional Academic Group (HPAG) lunchtime seminars. 15 members of the group were in attendance for two hugely insightful talks from Professor Alison McGregor and Claire Leon Villapalos.

Alison is a Professor in Musculoskeletal Biodynamics and gave a talk entitled ‘Keeping Amputees on their feet’ highlighting her work with the Centre for Blast Injury Support at Imperial College London. A lot of the work is about understanding the long-term health of amputees and the challenges involved in this including stump health, back pain, ageing, well being, social integration, osteoporosis and employment. All of these being contributing factors involved when developing more advanced prototypes in prosthesis.

In individuals that wear stumps there are never-ending issues with infection and inability to wear them for long periods. As most amputees have no feeling in the limb to which the stump is attached to, they do not feel pain or pressure which overall leads to problems and worsening medical woes. With this fact in mind, the students within the Blast Unit have been working with a team from the Department of engineering on a smart socket prototype which includes sensors that can identify pain and pressure points. This sends signals to a mobile phone which can also give indication for adjustments and fit of the stump.

Olympic Medalist Dave Henson is one of the students involved in this, using his own experience of prosthesis within competitive sport as well as every day life really bridging the gap in sport, engineering and medical research. There is still some work to be done but the future looks bright for amputees.

Claire Leon Villapalos is an Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial and using her nursing background as a basis for research in safety in a clinical background. Her talk entitled ‘An exploration of the relationships between staff and perceptions of safety in adult intensive care (ICU) and staffing, patient and work environment characteristics’ reflected the research that she did to understand the perception of health and safety within a clinical environment and staff involvement. Most individuals would define safety as checks on surroundings or equipment but within a medical environment, staff safety and how safe they feel under low and high-risk circumstances in a huge every day challenge. In order to assess this, Claire set up a traffic light system in which staff were asked to tick red (least Safe), yellow (safety concerns) or green (mostly safe) during each shift; this was to try to understand the key factors that made staff less safe based on workload intensity, care hours per patient, number of patients in side rooms, level of patients medical needs. By the end of the research, there were a total od 2836 responses giving good gravitas to produce relevant findings. It was shown that staff actually felt safer with more acute patients, but findings show that there are more staff taking care of these patients compared to less acute which poses questions as to whether staffing models are more focused towards sicker patients. Stage two of this research involved a more structured interview process in order to get the views and highlight the good and bad points from all medical staff. Claire is to do further research to involve patients, families and equipment which in turn hopefully will attain further funding to hopefully change the dynamics in a crucial area of clinical work.

Both Alison and Claire got full engagement, and both had an influx of questions and further highlighted the impact of HPAG and the need to really support healthcare professionals who are such a fundamental part of medicine and research.

Next Seminar TBC for the Autumn.

Gaining Industry insight with the Industry xChange Programme

Clinical Research Fellow, Meera Joshi, recently took part in the Graduate School’s Transformative Innovation Industry xChange retreat, a programme offering doctoral students the opportunity to participate in enhanced professional development through interaction with industry. Here, she briefly explains what the programme entails and the benefits of taking part.


Balancing Act: taking maternity leave as an academic – Dr Véronique Azuara

It’s Women@Imperial Week – an opportunity for us to celebrate the work and resilience of some of the women within our Department.

Taking maternity leave in an academic institution can often prove to be a bit of a Balancing Act. In our first piece in the series we talk to Dr Véronique Azuara, Reader in Stem Cell Biology. She has been working in the Department of Surgery and Cancer for over 12 years and, in that time, she has taken two career breaks in the form of maternity leave. In this blog, she discusses her experience of balancing academic and home life, improvements in return to work support and importance of female mentors.


Create impact through Consultancy

Imperial Consultants

Introducing Uscher Devkota – the Department of Surgery and Cancer’s dedicated Consultant Engagement Manager from Imperial Consultants (ICON)

Working with industry, government or other external parties is a great way to test the impact of your expertise, discover real world challenges and ensure your research remains relevant. Consultancy gives you the chance to network and forge new opportunities for research and funding. Plus, real-world examples and lessons can be taken back to the classroom, improving your student’s experience and satisfaction.


New NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship Award

Huge Congratulations to, Alison Perry, Senior Research Midwife in the Women’s Health Research Centre who has been awarded an NIHR Pre-Doctorate Fellowship.

The HEE/NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship is a new two-year award designed to equip clinicians with the skills and expertise required to develop a high-quality doctorate proposal, whilst remaining clinically active.

Speaking of her motivation in applying for this award Alison recalls:

“ I became a midwife to contribute to the improvement of women’s health. The ways in which we individually and collectively make big-picture contributions to improving women’s health while working clinically are not always clear.  Working for several years in clinical research in the Women’s Health Research Centre, however, has connected me with the pathways and opportunities to now lead my own research. 

My particular area of interest is around the transition that women make to motherhood and the way in which we support this transition as midwives, maternity care providers and as society. Bio-medical aspects of birth have become increasingly well-researched and I am keen to contribute to research on the broader anthropological issues influencing childbearing and to support women to collaboratively direct the course of maternity services through research.

In the first instance, I am interested in collaborating with women through a placement in the Patient Experience Research Centre, Imperial College.  Through this I will develop my PhD project methodology seeking improvement and innovation around the wellbeing of women in childbearing.  I am fortunate to have found two brilliant advisors, Professor Helen Ward here at Imperial College (Public Health and Patient Experience) and Professor Elsa Montgomery (Midwifery) at King’s College, London.  I can’t wait to get started!”

This fellowship award will allow Alison to undertake a bespoke training package including; the development of her research interest around well-being and motherhood, key coursework, attend conferences, develop academic collaborations and ultimately prepare a competitive PhD application for future funding.