Imperial College London

Gadget geniuses and community commendation: News from the College

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Senior citizens with their gadgets and some students in a cafe

Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From helping seniors get to grips with their gadgets to special recognition for the College’s community innovation space, here is some quick-read news from across the College.

What the Tech!?

Senior White City residents are being invited to get help with their computers, gadgets and devices at The Invention Rooms in White City.

Senior citizens and their gadgets at a table with studentsWhat the Tech?! is an award-winning gadget workshop founded by the Business School, aimed at residents over the age of 60 living in London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Running in two locations, residents can bring along any device to get help with a range of different skills, from how to send photos and create videos, to how to download apps, as well as how to be safe online.

The free weekly drop-in sessions are run by a dedicated team of Imperial student and staff volunteers and take place every Wednesday at the Edwards Woods Community Centre and every Thursday at The Invention Rooms Café with free tea, coffee and cake!

Prestigious Professorship

Professor Martin Hairer, from the Department of Mathematics, has been awarded a prestigious Royal Society Research Professorship. The posts provide up to ten years of support and help release the best leading researchers from teaching and administration to allow them to focus on research.

Professor Martin Hairer
Professor Martin Hairer

Professor Hairer is a leader in the fields of stochastic analysis and dynamics, describing the mathematics behind the random – or at least systems whose wild fluctuations appear random.

With stochastic systems becoming increasingly understood in terms of stochastic partial differential equations, Professor Hairer aims to use his professorship to justify just such equations, helping to explain how they arise naturally from smaller, more fundamental principles and how it is that they are ‘universal’.

Fire expert weighs in on Notre Dame

On 15 April, the roof of the Notre Dame in Paris caught fire and sustained serious damage.

Leading fire expert Professor Guillermo Rein, of Imperial’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, spoke to media about the incident and response from the fire service.

He said: “The Fire Brigade faced a peculiar fire because they had to be aggressive fighting the big roof fire with the aerial ladders (designed for high-rise buildings) but at the same time be gentle with the vulnerable structure of the stone vaults and walls. They did a fine job, and how they tackled this fire will probably be studied in the years ahead.”

Read more of Professor Rein’s quotes at: New York TimesThe TimesNew ScientistBBC OnlineGuardian and WIRED.

Probing Collaboration

The group of Professor Ed Tate in the Department of Chemistry has recently established a collaboration with Pfizer Inc. through a two-year research agreement. The collaboration is designed to advance the use of chemical probes to study a special class of around 100 enzymes in human cells called the deubiquitinases, or DUBs, to better understand their role in disease.

Professor Ed Tate
Professor Ed Tate

The body has a natural mechanism for recycling, or degrading, proteins to remove waste and enable continued growth and development. DUBs play a critical part of this process because they help determine which proteins get degraded and which ones are rescued from degradation, including proteins involved in disease pathways.

The Tate lab has pioneered the study of DUBs in cells, facilitating measurement of DUB activity in living cells. The collaboration aims to develop a detailed understanding of DUB activity, with the potential to provide new insights into their role in disease and uncover potential new drug targets.

Incubator takes top prize

Imperials Graham Hewson and Eulian Roberts collected the award
Imperials Graham Hewson and Eulian Roberts collected the award

Imperial’s White City Incubator has been recognised with a highly commended award for setting the pace in bio incubation at the UK Science Park Association (UKSPA) Awards 2019, hosted at the University of Birmingham.

The Incubator, which provides office and lab space for early-stage deep science companies, is home to several biotech startups including CustoMem, who are developing a new biomaterial to capture and recycle hazardous micro pollutants from industrial wastewater and Medisieve, who are developing magnetic blood filtration to transform the treatment of blood-borne diseases.

In January 2018 the Incubator began a successful partnership with RebelBio, the world’s first dedicated life sciences accelerator, which provides dedicated three-month support programmes for emerging biotech start-ups in a shared laboratory space. RebelBio has assisted more than 60 ground-breaking startups via its business support scheme.

Community commendation

Children playing in the Invention RoomsThe Invention Rooms, Imperial’s pioneering community innovation space at White City, came runner-up this week in the Guardian University Awards 2019, in the Social and Community Impact category.

Having opened its doors in 2017, The Invention Rooms represents a new and unprecedented approach to community engagement and outreach, designed to inspire the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs. It offers local people the opportunity to access workshops, cutting edge design studios and interactive spaces to help them turn their ideas into a reality.

First prize went to King’s College London whose project Parent Power recruits and trains parents to become experts in university access, help their children through the higher education process, and campaign on issues of educational equality within their communities.

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Reporters

Andrew Youngson

Andrew Youngson
Communications and Public Affairs

Dan West

Dan West
White City Development

Hayley Dunning

Hayley Dunning
Communications and Public Affairs

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 2412
Email: h.dunning@imperial.ac.uk

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Caroline Brogan

Caroline Brogan
Communications and Public Affairs

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 3415
Email: caroline.brogan@imperial.ac.uk

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