Immigration Minister sees benefits of internationalism at Imperial


Minister and President Gast meet Imperial researchers

Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State for Immigration, visited Imperial this week and took a tour of the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery.

The Minister was welcomed to the College by President Alice Gast and given a tour of the Hamlyn Centre, part of the Institute for Global Health Innovation, which develops safe, effective and accessible technologies that can reshape the future of healthcare for both developing and developed countries.

Alice Gast and Caroline Nokes
President Gast welcomes the Minister to Imperial

She was joined by representatives of Cancer Research UK.
During the visit, Caroline Nokes was shown some of the latest robot technology in medicine, developments which have enabled healthcare professionals to conduct smarter operations with higher precision.

Global scientific community

The Minister was interested to hear about Imperial’s many international collaborations and prior to visiting the Hamlyn Centre, President Gast held a roundtable discussion on the importance of international mobility to science.

Imperial is the UK’s most international university. Two-thirds of all Imperial research publications involve an international collaborator.

They were joined by a number of senior Imperial academics, as well as representatives from Cancer Research UK, who arranged the visit with the CRUK Imperial Centre. Cancer Research UK gave a presentation and talked about the importance of the UK continuing to work with global scientific talent at all levels.

Game-changing robotics

After an introduction to the Centre, the Minister tried out the da Vinci robot, which with a 3D display and wrist function allows the surgeon to control the surgical instruments from a console.

"Fantastic... the benefits are huge for patients and surgeons." Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes

Senior Lecturer Dr Benny Lo and Research Associate Dr Dominic Wales, who led the first part of the tour, showed Ms Nokes how medical robots are giving surgeons a greater degree of freedom in facilitating keyhole procedures without damage.

Dr Dominic Wales also told the Immigration Minister that the Hamlyn Centre is made up of “a very diverse community of PhD students and post-docs” and that he loves working with such a global workforce.

Dominic Wales and Caroline Nokes
Dr Dominic Wales informs Caroline Nokes MP about how the Hamlyn Centre is leading the way in medical robotics

Defeating cancer with robotics

Dr Stamatia Giannarou showed the Minister her research into the use of robotics in neurosurgery, informing her that brain cancers kill more children than any other cancer. Her research is using robotics to help surgeons see the state of tissues in the brain on a microscopic scale.

The Minister, who described the technology as "fantastic", said she could see that "the benefits are huge for patients and surgeons".

Dr Stamatia Giannarou explains how robotics could help save lives in neurosurgery

Finally, Dr Giannarou demonstrated how augmented reality (AR) is being used to improve performance in surgery. An AR visualisation can be used to help the surgeon see an aneurysm, which is susceptible to rupturing, and inform them of how much pressure to exert when carrying out the procedure.

Photos courtesy of Cancer Research UK.



George Hope

George Hope
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