Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.
From respiratory risk profiles for top athletes, to a staff celebration with a distinctly Wild West theme, here is some quick-read news from across the College.
Helping athletes to breathe easy
Respiratory issues can affect how top athletes train and perform in competitions. But researchers in sports science and respiratory health are pooling expertise to better detect, diagnose and prevent these conditions.
Physicians at Royal Brompton Hospital will work with the English Institute of Sport and the Institute of Sport Exercise & Health to provide respiratory risk profiles for athletes aiming for Olympic and Paralympic success.
Dr James Hull, of the Royal Brompton and Imperial said: “This project offers a great opportunity for us to really understand this area properly, to help athletes remain fully available for training and competition.”
Watching drugs fight cancer
Chemotherapy drugs can be ineffective if they fail to reach their target in a tumour. To measure how an anticancer drug interacts with tumour cells, researchers at The Francis Crick Institute and Imperial used an ‘endomicroscope’ to look at engagement between the drug and its target inside mice with ovarian cancer.
The endomicroscope, developed in the Department of Physics at Imperial, creates a map of drug concentration inside each tumour cell. The research team found that the anticancer drug molecules were less effectively delivered to their targets when injected into veins compared to into the abdomen. They also found differences in drug-target engagement between tumours within the same mouse.
The technique could be used to develop more effective strategies to treat cancer in patients.
(Image caption: Three false colour maps showing different views of anticancer drug concentration within the same tumour. Each spot within the image is an individual cell nucleus.)
Imperial researchers have designed a web-based tool to help medical students match with academic supervisors to get involved in research projects.
The value of ProjectPal, which was launched in 2013, has been highlighted in a new analysis.
The platform allows supervisors to post projects that they wish to advertise along with requirements and outputs for students taking on the project. To date students that have been matched on the service have had their work published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at a number of international conferences.
Dipender Gill, Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial, who has written a paper on the project, said: “There’s an abundance of trainees with a hunger for academia, and supervisors are constantly looking for enthusiastic and motivated students. The ProjectPal platform offers a method for introducing them to each other."
Hubs to harness health data
The national Institute for data science in health (HDRUK) is set to invest £37.5 million in new Digital Innovation Hubs to help speed up the development of new treatments for diseases like cancer, heart disease and asthma.
HDRUK was established this year and includes Imperial as a partner in the London centre. It aims to harness data and emerging technology to improve the health of patients and populations through research and innovation.
The new hubs will be set up across the UK over the next three years, with sites announced in autumn, and will connect regional health data with biomedical data in secure environments.
Read the full story online: £37.5m investment in Digital Innovation Hubs to tackle Britain’s biggest health challenges
African health education programme hosted at Imperial
This week Imperial hosted a week long programme on public health education with Sierra Leone’s University of Makeni and Uganda’s Makerere University.
Representatives from the University of Makeni, and University of Makerere in Uganda met with Imperial academics from the School of Public Health to discuss ways for colleagues from both institutions to build their capacity in providing public health education.
Dr Nathalie MacDermott, who conducted research in Sierra Leone as part of her PhD, said: “This programme was an exciting opportunity to build new partnerships with institutions in Africa and help build the health education programme at the Universities of Makeni and Makerere.
“By working with partners to improve health education and training, we can help tackle some of the most important global health challenges.”
Wild West fun at support staff summer party
Hay bales and sparkly cowboy hats descended on the Queen’s Lawn this week as support staff were treated to a Wild West-themed summer party. Staff enjoyed Tex-Mex inspired food, saddled up for a ride on the bucking bronco and enjoyed country music and line dancing.
Suzanne Christopher, Employee Engagement Manager, said: “The support staff summer party is a chance to thank our hardworking colleagues as the academic year ends. The support services social committee make a big effort to ensure staff enjoy themselves, and it was great to see everyone have fun.”
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