National Heart and Lung Institute staff recognised in College awards ceremony

by

Dr Fouzia Khan

Congratulations to our NHLI staff who were celebrated and awarded accolades at this year’s Staff Recognition Awards.

The College’s Staff Recognition Awards ceremony took place on Thursday 6 July 2023. This annual event provides an opportunity to recognise and celebrate our staff and students for their vital contributions to the College community. The awards are made even more meaningful due to the fact nominations are submitted by peers and colleagues.

"Seeing that the Section has been recognized for its excellence in culture and community motivated and encouraged me to actively contribute to work" Merve Keles Research Associate, Vascular Science Section

This year the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI) had several members of staff commended for their contributions. Dr Fouzia Khan was awarded the President’s Medal for Excellence in Education (Teaching), Andreas Roussakis was recognised for successfully completing an Apprenticeship with the Chartered Management Institute, and the Vascular Science Section led by Professor Anna Randi, were the Winners of the President’s Award for Excellence in Culture and Community (Collegiality). To view a list all of this year’s winners from across College see the Garden Party booklet .

I got in touch with our winners to find out more about their work across NHLI and how they felt on receiving their award.

I discovered a genuine passion for teaching– Dr Fouzia Khan 

Dr Fouzia Khan won the President’s Medal for Excellence in Education(Teaching), receiving the nomination for her involvement in our MSC Genes, Drugs and Stem Cells programme, for which she is a module lead, and her wider impact on teaching across Imperial. Professor Louise Donnelly Director of Education at NHLI (Taught Programmes) remarks “Fouzia is an asset to the Education Team at NHLI. Her innovation and creativity in devising and delivery of new teaching methods has benefited both students and staff, and she is a well-deserved recipient for the President’s Medal for Excellence in Teaching.”

How or why did you first get involved in teaching?

I first got involved in teaching during my PhD studies when I was offered the opportunity to work as a demonstrator and teaching assistant. Initially, I saw it as a way to supplement my income and gain some teaching experience while pursuing my research. However, as I engaged with students and helped them understand challenging concepts, I discovered a genuine passion for teaching. Seeing the impact I could make on students' learning and witnessing their progress was incredibly rewarding, which led me to develop my teaching skills further and contribute to the academic growth of others.

What initiatives have you been involved with over the past year? 

Over the past year, I have actively participated in various initiatives across College and beyond. One such project is the establishment of the Drug Student Research Network. This network brings together PhD and Master's students across the College, creating a platform for cross-disciplinary learning and skill development through ongoing activities and events related to drug research (for example - drug discovery, drug engineering, drug technology, target classes, disease areas or policy and economics). I am also part of the Imperial College Space Lab Steering Committee, aiming to promote and facilitate College-wide research and engaging activities centred around space medicine and life science within the Space Lab Network of Excellence. Additionally, I have also been involved in the IUPHAR (International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology) Education subcommittee which has allowed us to make valuable contributions to the global effort of defining and exploring core concepts in pharmacology, supporting evidence-based curriculum development and evaluation within the field.

What one change would you like to see with teaching at Imperial?

One change that, in my view, would be beneficial to teaching at Imperial would be to have more extensive interdisciplinary and cross-Faculty collaboration. One thing I have learnt from the Drug Student Research Network is how students benefit from different perspectives, not only in their learning but also in tackling real-world problems by thinking critically, collaboratively and innovatively.

How did you feel on receiving the award?

I was absolutely surprised and ecstatic! I felt extremely honoured to be recognised for my efforts and contributions, and I felt incredibly happy and motivated to continue striving for excellence. The medal means a lot to me, and it further motivates me to work hard and achieve my goals. 

“Don’t be afraid to learn something new” – Andreas Roussakis

Andreas Roussakis, Clinical Project Manager, is recognised for successfully completing a 12-month course in Management (Leadership and Supervision), achieving a Distinction in his End Point Assessment with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Andreas is responsible for the regulatory, financial and operational aspects of clinical research and has a leading role in planning, day-to-day management and governance affairs. He has significant experience in the design, management and conduct of original research involving patients and healthy volunteers.

Karen Mosley CRF General Manager comments “It is always wonderful to hear that someone you line manage has been put forward for an award. We are a hard-working team and it is important people are recognised for their efforts. Andreas has taken the opportunity to further his development through this apprenticeship that will in turn benefit our own ways of working”.

Why did you choose to take the apprenticeship?

To enhance existing skills, to improve my practice as a manager and clinical academic, and to learn more.

What were the main things you learnt from the course that you will take forward?

To appreciate different leadership styles. To be more aware of the various communication styles. To invest more on effective communication. To teach myself and others how to build healthy professional relationships.

What would you say to others considering undertaking a training course?

Don’t be afraid to learn something new, to be open, and curious about almost anything.

How did you feel on receiving the award?

I felt pleased with myself and motivated to continue my development journey.

“Together they achieve greater momentum and impact” – Vascular Science Section

The Vascular Science Section at NHLI were awarded the President’s Awards for Excellence in Culture and Community, Collegiality as a team award. The Vascular Science Section is a front-runner of collaborative science and all the benefits that brings. Perhaps no surprise for a Section who are named after the network of blood vessels that support and connect the various systems in the human body.

Professor Darrel Francis, Co-Lead of the Cardiovascular Division says “To be nominated for an award that celebrates the many virtues of our diverse ensemble is significant in itself. It suggests that what they do and how they do it resonates beyond our corner of Imperial. The Section demonstrates collegiality in its commitment to the environment, supporting junior and mid-career scientists, its many outreach activities, its commitment to EDI and women in science, and its effort to create an environment which gives everyone a chance to maximize on their strengths and thrive. By giving section members a clear sense of identity and purpose, together they achieve greater momentum and impact, which this award recognises. This achievement includes activities at all levels, from the leadership all the way to PhD students and support staff, demonstrating the spirit of inclusivity of the Section”.

Group receive award

Why is culture and community important for you as a Section and in science as a whole?

Dr Charis Pericleous - Our Section members work together to deliver an inspiring and forward-thinking workplace. This ethos of cooperativity underpins our success. No single person can be an expert in or great at everything. Exchanging knowledge enhances output, facilitates best practice across all areas of science and ultimately contributes to the community spirit that we are very proud to have built in our Section. 

Dr Graeme Birdsey - The culture within the Section embodies the collegial spirit of scientific research as a collaborative effort that relies heavily on the goodwill and trust between individuals to achieve our goals. As a Section, we strive to support each other as a community of friends and colleagues by sharing ideas and knowhow, and by providing advice and mentorship, so that each person is supported in their work. I have personally benefited greatly from working in such a supportive and collaborative environment.

Dr Derick Chiappo - As a Section, both are important because we are working towards the same thing, improving aspects of patient care. In science as a whole, collaboration is a must given how specialized academic disciplines have become. Therefore, culture and community are vital for effective collaboration.

Maike Haensel - In our Section a key goal is to improve patients’ lives. This drives us to engage extensively with colleagues, patients, and the wider audience. A culture of inclusivity and fostering a sense of community is essential for both our scientific growth and personal development. 

Dr Claire Shovlin – It is important to enhance working relations, a sense of belonging and ultimately delivery of outputs for the Section and College from happier staff.

How did you feel on receiving the award?

Merve - I am one of the recent members of the Section. Seeing that the Section has been recognized for its excellence in culture and community motivated and encouraged me to actively contribute to work. Overall, the Section’s achievement of receiving the award created a positive and inspiring atmosphere for a new member like myself. I am quite excited to be part of such an inclusive and supportive community, and benefit from the potential for growth, learning, and personal development within the team. 

Maike -  Receiving the award is a great experience, as it provides valuable recognition and validation for our efforts, affirming that we are on the path of meaningful and impactful work.

Dr Joe Boyle - I felt that it was an excellent thing that Imperial Values are being enshrined in a specific award that is used to highlight Sections, Departments as well as outstanding individuals. 

Charis - Extremely proud. This award is testament to what we stand for as a Section and recognition of our fundamental principles for collaborative science and a happy, fulfilling workplace.

What one thing could we all do to improve culture at Imperial?

Salina Nicoleau - I think we should all value other people's opinions as much as we would like ours to be valued. 

Charis - Build on the sense of community and inclusivity: everyone should be approachable and engaging – from Professors to junior researchers to teaching and PTO staff. Lead by example – share your experiences and knowledge and always reward excellence. A kind word no matter how simple can make the world of difference.

Maike - To improve culture at Imperial, we should consistently emphasize the importance of unity and shared objectives, encouraging mutual support and respect among us.

Joe - Operate by the new Imperial Values scheme of excellence, integrity, innovation, collaboration and respect. Together these articulate a seamless combination of excellence with human decency and professional collegiality.

Merve - I believe prioritizing open and transparent communication is essential, and we all can benefit from a working environment where all the employees feel valued, engaged, and motivated to contribute their best. Transparent communication encourages people to share their knowledge, be more creative and collaborative, and leading to be more efficient in problem-solving as a team.


Imperial is committed to building a supportive, inclusive and highly motivated staff community across all disciplines, functions and activities. As part of this commitment, we have a number of different staff award schemes in place in order to recognise and celebrate the achievements and hard work of staff at the College. Look out for nominations opening and put forward your colleagues for recognition.

These awards are for all staff, at all levels, across research, teaching and professional services roles, who have shown outstanding commitment and demonstrated a valuable contribution to the College's mission.

Reporter

Ms Helen Johnson

Ms Helen Johnson
National Heart & Lung Institute

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6843
Email: helen.johnson@imperial.ac.uk

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