Imperial College London

Postgraduate Graduation Ceremony – Surgery and Cancer’s class of 2019


Graduation event

The Department of Surgery and Cancer had over 200 students taking part in the Postgraduate Graduation 2019 ceremony, on Wednesday 8 May.

After all their hard work and studying, it was time to celebrate our students incredible achievements and cheer them on as they graduated from Imperial College London. Once the celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall had died down, we spoke with several this year’s graduating class to find out their highlights of being at Imperial.

Kate Gallagher, MRes Biomedical Research (Microbiome in Health and Disease)

Kate Gallagher outside Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingThe highlight of my time at Imperial was in my first Masters project, experiencing dynamic and hands on research in traumatic brain injury – a field I had never worked in but was deeply interested in. Despite having no prior background in this area, the MRes gave me an opportunity I would never have had otherwise to gain practical research skills in this area. I have made strong ties with the lab I was working with and still meet them regularly for social occasions.

The staff and researchers definitely made my time at Imperial special, everyone I came across was so willing to help me if I was stuck with anything, both practically and theoretically. Great attention was paid to ensuring we all had frequent teaching sessions alongside our practical research, which also allowed for scientific communication between peers (and friends). I also loved that I was treated like a researcher and encouraged to jump into the deep-end with experiments and protocols I wasn’t familiar with – it has made me a much more confident researcher now.

I am currently undertaking a PhD in metabolomic profiling and the gut microbiome in Inflammatory Bowel Disease - my masters was a defining part of my career that inspired me to pursue my PhD, because of how much I enjoyed the fast-pace and progressive environment offered by Imperial.

Hemel N. Modi, PhD “The Impact of Temporal Stress and Cognitive Workload on Prefrontal Activation and Technical Performance in Surgeons”

Hemel Modi at graduationAs a truly international university, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people from diverse professional and social backgrounds, and greatly valued the skills and knowledge I learnt from them and their experience. Many of them have become lifelong friends.

The environment we worked in encouraged cross-discipline collaboration and everyone I encountered was extremely helpful and wiling to to give up their precious time to help me with my research efforts. I will always be extremely grateful for this. Undertaking research at Imperial also taught me a range of valuable life skills which will, I am sure, serve me well in my future clinical and academic career.

I had taken time out from surgical registrar training to undertake my PhD so am continuing with that. However, I hope to maintain links with the department/Imperial so that I can continue pursuing my academic interests.

Carolina Britton, MEd Surgical Education

Caroline BrittonAttending the MEd in Surgical Education allowed me to immediately further my career in the NHS. Lectures, journal clubs, seminars and discussions were thoroughly interesting and thought-provoking. I gained actionable insights into education in surgery that have proven to make a difference in my practice as an everyday educator. The depth and breath of topics with which we approach education throughout the course were pivotal, moreover, in equipping me to develop organisation-wide strategy.

Having attended higher education programmes at two different institutions previously, I was ever so pleased about the Faculty and the College's role in my education at this level. Resources, flexibility and responsiveness were always positively adequate.

Immediately after qualification I was appointed Education Lead for the Theatres and Perioperative Care Services at Cambridge University Hospitals. The learning, networking and research conducted while enrolled have been essential for me in this role. My passion for intellectual challenge and academic work have grown and I would like to carry on to doctoral studies.

Zeina Tawakol, MSc Health Policy

Zeina Tawakol at graduationMy highlight of Imperial was meeting new people and studying with them. There is an element of team work that was very relevant to the coursework and studying policy. I am glad the program offered me this chance.

Complementary to the academic aspect of the programme, the memories I have made during my studies was a truly well-rounded experience. The conversations I had and friendships I made are something I will cherish. Overall, being part of the MSc Health Policy program has been an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and one that I would not hesitate to recommend. It gave me the opportunity to conduct research in a field I am passionate about at a world leading institution. In addition to expanding my scientific and technical knowledge, the program has been invaluable in helping me understand and decide on the path I would like to take for my career progression.

I am currently working as a director of business development for the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation in Egypt, which is a charitable specialized cardiac Centre in Aswan, Egypt. I plan to get more involved with the new health care system proposed in Egypt.

Mireia Mato Prado, PhD “Non-coding RNAs as Biomarkers in Pancreatic Cancer”

Mireia Mato Prado at GraduationDuring my time at Imperial College I realised how much this University offers you in terms of activities such as evening courses on languages, humanities and science, various one-day courses on a broad variety of topics, which are helpful for your PhD studies, and also the possibility to join different societies where you can meet other students. You can also volunteer as a researcher and explain the wonders of science at the Imperial Science Festival and join the Graduate Teaching Assistant team to help undergraduate students on their practical courses. Moreover, you can get academic support from the Department and the Faculty, which are always willing to help you with any academic or personal matter that you have.

What made my time at Imperial special and enriched my PhD life experience was the opportunity to be in a different educational system, meet students from other cultures and backgrounds and participate in as much activities as I could to get the most out of what Imperial can offer you.

I am currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Dept. of Surgery and Cancer, in the Molecular Oncogenetics group lead by Dr Jonathan Krell (consultant oncologist) and co-lead by Mr Adam Frampton (HBP surgeon). My project is focused on discovering novel small RNA molecules called microRNAs, which can help in diagnosing pancreatic and biliary-tract cancers at an early stage. These types of cancers have a very poor prognosis, therefore, the aim of my project is to find miRNA-signatures in bile fluid specific for pancreatico-biliary tract cancers which may enable clinicians detect this disease earlier and be able to classify patients more accurately and provide them with a better informed decision on diagnosis and therapeutic treatment. 

Dr Vasileios Bonatsos, MSc Surgical Innovation

Dr Vasileios Bonatsos outside the Royal Albert HallI will definitely miss the excellent team and the weeks of lectures. Highlights were the speciality modules, including the cadaveric session as well as numerous interesting lectures from charismatic presenters.

My favourite thing about Imperial College is how multicultural it is. On my course I met people from many different backgrounds and walks of life, it was a real melting pot of ideas. Despite it being very intense it was at the same time a lot of fun, motivating and interesting.

I am currently continuing my speciality training in Urology. My two year part - time course allowed me to continue working and progressing as a junior doctor in training.

Janet Deane, PhD “Understanding the Impact of Lumbar Disc Degeneration and Recurrent Pain”

Janet Deane outside the Royal Albert HallMy time at Imperial gave me the opportunity to embrace novel research technologies. Central to my Versus Arthritis funded clinical research was the examination of motor control differences between low back pain patients with lumbar disc degeneration and healthy controls.  At Imperial I advanced my understanding of the mechanisms underlying recurrent pain through the use of cutting edge motion analysis, electromyography and image processing technologies, with a view to improving patient quality of life.

As a physiotherapist and academic, it was extremely special to share, network and learn from an expert inter-professional team of researchers. I have valued the contributions of engineers, biomechanists, anatomists, physiologists and computer analysts at Imperial College. My research will benefit immensely from these established connections, leading to future collaborations and further research for patient benefit.

I am currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate for the OATech+ Network and have applied for further postdoctoral funding to continue my development as a clinical researcher. I aspire to be a leading clinical researcher in evidence based rehabilitation for musculoskeletal conditions associated with recurrent pain.

The Department of Surgery and Cancer offers a variety of postgraduate taught programmes and postgraduate research opportunities, designed to cover the range of translation research we do and reflect our research strengths.

There will be Department of Surgery and Cancer Open Evenings on 21 May & 4 June to meet course leads, find out more and register.


Benjamin Coleman

Benjamin Coleman
Department of Surgery & Cancer

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 0964

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