Please note that the information outlined below refers to the 2016 programme only. For information about the 2017 programme, please see the Programme Details page.

Programme themes


Tuesday 28 June: Focus on research and outreach

What good is discovering the next big thing in biomedical research if you can’t share that knowledge with everyone it could benefit? Public engagement and outreach is an important aspect of being a researcher – and one that Imperial academics take seriously. This day will introduce to you the importance of public engagement and outreach, and help you get to know your fellow summer school students at the same time.

Wednesday 29 June: Big Data

The big data revolution underpins so many current and future advances in biomedicine, but carries with it challenges, including analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualisation, querying, updating and information privacy - this theme aims to introduce and discuss these issues. 

Thursday 30 June: Brain Sciences

Summary coming soon!

Friday 1 July: Stress - the silent killer

The stress response is designed to protect the body in the short term and promote adaptation. However, an individual stress response is dependent on many factors including genetic factors, sex, previous life events and current exposure to daily life stress. Chronic stress can lead to a cumulative burden and cause significant damage to health over the life course. This theme will answer the following questions – What is stress? How do you measure stress? Why do individuals respond differently to stress? Why are men and women hardwired to respond differently to stress? What is the consequence of chronic exposure to stress?  How should stress research impact modern medicine?

Monday 4 July: Genomic medicine

Genomic Medicine is an emerging approach for disease treatment that takes into account individual variability in genes for each person and uses this to inform treatment. Recent technological advances have caused this practice to become more and more feasible, but also raises important ethical considerations. 

TUESDAY 5 JULY: Cancer Revolutions

One in two people born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime. Fortunately, novel treatments and therapies are being developed to combat this and to ensure that a diagnosis of cancer is not necessarily terminal. This theme will explore the new technologies and ideas at the forefront of cancer research today. 

WEDNESDAY 20 JULY: Repair and Regeneration

The human body has the capacity to regenerate and repair itself via stem cells, but what about when that doesn't work? This theme aims to explore the emerging research in manipulating stem cells and the use of new technologies to repair faulty parts of the human body. 

THURSDAY 21 JULY: Global Health

Summary coming soon!

Keynote lectures

Artificial intelligence and healthcare - professor Nick Jennings

Professor Nick JenningsProfessor Nick Jennings, CB, FREng, is responsible for promoting, supporting and facilitating Imperial College London's research performance and for leading on the delivery of the Research Strategy. He also holds a chair in Artificial Intelligence in the Departments of Computing and Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Before joining Imperial College London, Professor Jennings was Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security. Professor Jennings is an internationally-recognized authority in the areas of artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, cybersecurity and agent-based computing.

This lecture will provide an introduction to the exciting field of artificial intelligence (AI) and talk about its use in healthcare. In particular, I will talk about the foundations of building smart machines – covering topics such as reasoning and machine learning – and the applications of AI in a broad set of domains including autonomous vehicles, disaster response and healthcare. I will also discuss the wider societal implications for AI and its potential impact on jobs and the very existence of humanity. 


The art and science of surgery - Professor roger l kneebone


Roger KneeboneRoger Kneebone is Professor of Surgical Education and Engagement Science, Imperial College London. His multidisciplinary research builds on his personal experience as a surgeon and a general practitioner and his interest in domains of expertise beyond medicine. Roger has built an unorthodox and creative team of clinicians, computer scientists, design engineers, social scientists, historians, artists, craftsmen and performers. Roger has an international profile as an academic and innovator. He is a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow and in 2011 became a National Teaching Fellow. 

This talk frames surgery as a practice which combines science, craft and performance. This talk explores the embodied ways of knowing that take place at the intersection between hands, tools and materials. Drawing on collaborations with experts within and beyond medicine, Roger uses simulation to make unexpected connections between apparently dissimilar worlds. 

cf gene therapy: Hype Versus reality - Professor Uta Griesenbach

UtaUta Griesenbach is a Professor in Molecular Medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London. 

Uta is a Strategy Group Member of the UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium, a member of the Chronic Supportive Lung Disease Consortium of the Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, President-elect of the British Society for Gene Therapy and is the Gene Therapy advisor on the West London National Research Ethics. Uta's research interests are related to the development of novel gene therapy-based treatments for cystic fibrosis and other inflammatory lung diseases as well as haemophilia and include vector and biomarker development, toxicology and GMP-vector production. Uta is co-investigator on several gene therapy trials, including a recently completed non-viral Phase IIb study. 

Gene therapy for cystic fibrosis (CF) has been developed ever since the CF gene was identified almost two decades ago. This lecture will provide a state-of-the-art overview of the field and highlight recent clinic trial results which, for the first time, show that gene therapy can stabilise CF lung disease.

Vaccines, Immunity and Global child health - Professor Beate Kampmann

Beate Kampmann 'Why did this child become seriously ill with this disease, while that child walked out of casualty with the same bug and nothing much happened?' This is one of the many questions influencing Beate's research. A leader in the fields of Paediatric Tuberculosis and Vaccinology, her research team of more than 80 scientists located in the UK and the Gambia is interested in TB/HIV co-infections, age-related immune responses to infection and vaccination and strategies for maternal immunisation. 

Telling us about her 'open-lab' approach, it is our pleasure to have Beate as one of our keynote speakers. 

Beyond Biomedicine - Life and Career Perspectives Panel

A panel of professionals from a variety of organisations and industries will give perspectives on the trajectories their careers have followed since they graduated from their science degrees. 

The evening will start with each panellist offering a snapshot of their career path so far before taking your questions from the floor. This will be followed by a further opportunity to interact with the panellists whose paths you are most interested in, as well as a representative from Imperial College London's Careers Service. 

Laboratory-based mini-research project

I fell in love with the lab facilities at Hammersmith campus as they were complete and modern."

2015 student

CD8destroyhocytes (CTL) are the backbone of our cellular adaptive immune response. Upon infection by pathogens they will proliferate, produce pro-inflammatory cytokines and develop the capacity to kill infected cells. This is not limited to pathogen-infected cells. CTL are also able to destory tumour cells. 

Following the clearance of an infection most of these CTL will die, leaving the host with an army of antigen-educated cytoxic cells which will be able to respond in a faster and better way to a second infection with the pathogen. These are called memory cells and are the cellular basis of vaccination. 

With other immune cells such as B cells which produce antibodies, memory cells are the target scientists are trying to stimulate with vaccines in order to provide us with potent and efficient immune protection. Interestingly, in as much as we know how to efficiently stimulate B cells with vaccines, the antibodies produced will only be efficient against extracellular pathogens and free viral particles, but less so against intracellular viral particles and bacteria. 

To efficiently fight these intracellular pathogens, we need to develop vaccines which trigger a powerful long lasting CTL memory. This is paramount if we want to treat all acute and chronic viral infections as well as many tumours. However, manipulating the CTL memory has been notoriously difficult, mainly because of systems developed by our own body to keep a tight control on these very powerful killers. We do know that the quality and quantity of the memory CTL population is controlled during the first encounter with a pathogen, and therefore need to completely understand how a CTL is first activated to be able to influence the CTL response.  

CTL activation requires three signals: TCR/MHC, co-stimulation and pro inflammatory cytokines. In this mini-research project, you will investigate the relative importance of these signals by measuring two CTL properties: proliferation (MTT assay) and production of cytokines (Elisa).