BSc Photo


Dr Richie Abel runs a module on the BSc Surgery and Anaesthesia, to prepare students for innovations in musculoskeletal surgery. 


Improvements in clinical practice are increasingly dependent upon the successful design and application of innovative technology. Students will be presented with an opportunity to meet surgical innovators in from several specialties and learn the steps (and miss steps) that have led to the successful progress of ideas from identifying a clinical need, to innovation, commercialisation and adoption.

Aim and objectives

The aim of this module is to explain the pathway from lab based research to translation and commercialisation. At the end of the module students will be expected to:

  • Understand that translational research promotes enhancements in disease prevention, diagnosis, and therapies  

  • Understand that translational research requires an interdisciplinary approach

  • Explore novel and emerging surgical technologies

  • Understand the technological challenges faced by surgeons

  • Critically appraise the issues involved in the application of technology in surgery e.g. funding, training, safety etc.

  • Explain translational product pathway(s) from concept to market

Understand the potential and future direction of innovative surgical technology 


Module 3 is designed to prepare students for the big innovations in surgery over the next decade. An example of this is the patient matched orthopaedics theme run by the MSk Lab.

Patient Matched Orthopaedics

Spin out company Embody has a mission to deliver cost effective personalised orthopaedic surgery for everyone. Embody provides tools for surgeons to plan each patient’s surgery in 3D. Creating 3D printed patient matched instruments to guide the surgery, minimising bone resection and preserving soft tissues. Prof Justin Cobb and his interdisciplinary team will discuss novel approaches to orthopaedic surgery and explain how the research was translated and commercialised via a spin out.

    • Surgical challenges in hip and knee disease
    • Patient-matched surgery
    • Spinning out companies
    • Regulatory pathways and clinical trials
    • Surgical skills (practical session)
    • Research outputs for medical careers (Q & A session)

1. Bioactive Scaffolds

Tissue engineering evolved from the field of biomaterials development and refers to the practice of combining scaffolds, cells, and biologically active molecules into functional tissues. The goal of tissue engineering is to assemble functional constructs that restore, maintain, or improve damaged tissues or whole organs. Prof Julian Jones and his interdisciplinary team will discuss novel approaches to tissue regeneration and explain how the research will be translated and commercialised via a spin out company.

    • Introduction to biomaterials
    • Importance of ions stimulating bone repair
    • Type II collagen production
    • Bioactive ceramic products
    • Composite and hybrid materials
    • Links to Embody and 3D printing
    • Commercialisation (Q & A session)


2. Challenges in Trauma Research

Traumatic injuries pose unique challenges to researchers. Sqn Ldr Phill Pearce and Major Dan Stinner will use the example of blast injury to discuss the research opportunities across the entire continuum of patient care. They will examine research methodology ranging from methods used to translate blast events to the laboratory, to the decision making underlying the rehabilitation of the seriously wounded 

  • Introduction to trauma research

  • Blast injuries and the role of multidisciplinary research

  • Evidence based decision making

  • Amputation and Limb Salvage

  • How to measure rehabilitative success

  • Trauma and military careers (Q&A Session)

3. Vascular Surgery

Improving patient safety is a key part of the healthcare system. When researching, and innovating surgical care clinical and non-clinical researchers must study patient safety. Mr Pasha Normahani will explain how a whole set of methods have been created to simulate surgery, as well as identify and quantify sources of error. Using the landscape and burden of error in vascular surgery as an example.

  • Public perception of safety

  • Patient pathway simulation

  • Understanding surgical error

  • Reducing errors by teams

  • Health economics and the impact of patient safety

External Fixation Practical

Many of the students on the Surgery and Anaesthesia BSc aspire to become surgeons. Mr Chinmay Gupte and Mr Matt Jaggard will provide a practical in external fixation which will allow students to start acquiring surgical skills and put some of the taught lectures into perspective. The practical will involve applying an external fixator to bone models, and also performing an internal fixation operation on the hip on a virtual reality model.


Graduates and staff from Imperial College, and numerous collaborators around the globe, have improved patient care and quality of life through surgical innovation. Hopefully this module will provide the inspiration and basic knowledge that the class of 2017 will need take part in or lead surgical innovation.