Over 30 investigators gathered to find new ideas to tackle the growing problem of Antimicrobial Resistance at the EMBRACE sandpit
On 7th-8th July 2016, over 30 investigators from Imperial College and Universities of Newcastle, Surrey and Warwick gathered at South Kensington Campus to participate at the first EPSRC-supported EMBRACE Sandpit to propose innovative solutions to address the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) challenge.
The event was conducted by Knowinnovation, a company with more than 10 years of experience of running sandpit events. The four EMBRACE co-PI’s, Professors Chris Toumazou (Engineering), Alison Holmes (Medicine), Alan Armstrong (Natural Science) and Pantelis Georgiou (Engineering) were responsible for stimulating and provoking the participants with short talks and sharp questions. The three EMBRACE fellows, Doctors Lindsay Evans (Natural Science), Maryam Modarai (Medicine) and Pau Herrero (Engineering), were among the participants.
During the first day, several activities involving a lot of creative methods and soapbox talks were conducted in order to get to know each other and get a better picture of the expertise in the room.
Lewis Preece from EPSRC gave a talk on the longer term funding opportunities that are on offer, that could be used to obtain follow-up funding after the sandpit. The day ended with a dinner at 58 Prince's Gate.
The second day of the sandpit was focused on creating multidisciplinary teams of 4-8 participants and writing short, innovative proposals tackling the problem of AMR. At the end of the day, 5 proposals were presented which were evaluated by a panel of experts formed by Professors Alison Holmes, Alan Armstrong, Pantelis Georgiou and Ramesh Wigneshweraraj.
The winning team, led by Dr Andrew Edwards (MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection), was awarded £15K to develop an innovative solution to provide a novel target for a new type of therapeutic that promotes killing of bacteria by the immune system.
The winning team consists of: Doctors Lindsay Evans (Chemistry, EMBRACE Fellow), Avinash R. Shenoy (MRC CMBI), Myrsini Kaforou (Medicine, Pediatrics), Ali Salehi-Reyhani (Chemistry), Andrew Edwards (MRC CMBI), John Tregoning (Medicine, Infectious Diseases), Michael Cox (Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute) and Thomas Lanyon-Hogg (Chemistry, Chemical Biology).
The two days of intensive work and networking brought out great ideas from the participants, some of which will be put forward to the recently announced EMBRACE pump-priming call. The success of the event was highlighted by everyone present.
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