Mo shamji presenting


Tuesday 2 July 2019 13:00-17:00

Paul Wood Lecture Theatre, Guy Scadding Building, Royal Brompton Campus


The New Scientists Day initiative was created as part of NHLI’s Athena SWAN Action Plan and career development strategy. The aim of the event is to provide an opportunity for our newly appointed academics, from lecturers to professors, and career development fellows to start new collaborations and to meet colleagues within and outside of Imperial College. It is also a chance for our newcomers to share their research with their new colleagues and for the whole department, staff and students alike, to get together and share ideas.

NHLI New Scientists Day 2019 Programme


  • 13.00                     Welcome- Professor Edwin Chilvers, Head of NHLI
  • 13.10- 13.40          Dr Luke Allsopp, Genomic and Environmental Medicine Section

Interbacterial Competition’

  • 13.40- 14.10          Dr Sonia Nielles-Vallespin, Genetics and Imaging Section

Myocardial Microstructure and Diffusion Tensor Cardiac Magnetic Resonance’

  • 14.10- 14.40          Dr Jorge Bernardino de la Serna, Airway Disease Section

Membrane Sensing and Remodelling during the immune synapse. A spatiotemporal adaptive tale of lipid packing dynamics and collective assembly’

14.40-14.55 Break

  • 14.55- 15.25          Dr Asha Patel, Genomic and Environmental Medicine Section

Developing RNA based therapeutics’

  • 15.25- 15.55          Dr Fu Siong Ng, Cardiac Section

Mechanism-specific treatments for myocardial fibrillation’

  • 15.55- 16.25          Dr James Harker, Inflammation, Repair and Development Section

The role of local versus systemic antibody-mediated immunity in chronic lung disease’

  • 16.25- 16.30          Closing remarks

16.30 – 17:30        Refreshments and networking


Please register your attendance for the day at the EventBrite page. For any enquiries about the day please contact Alex Dawes:

For details of how to get to The Guy Scadding Building on Dovehouse Street,

Our Speakers

Luke Allsopp

Originally from Australia, Luke gained his PhD from The University of Queensland. He undertook a successful Postdoc and Marie Currie Fellowship at the MRC Centre for Bacteriology and Infection at Imperial College investigating Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. In 2019, Luke took up a Lectureship position at the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI) at Imperial College within the Respiratory Infections Section. His research is focused on Gram-negative bacterial secretion systems, biofilm formation factors, and virulence factors of lung associated pathogens. Recently he has been focused on understanding the type six secretion system of Pseudomonas aeruginosawhich functions like a molecular harpoon to enable host cell subversion and interbacterial competition via direct injection of effector proteins.

Sonia Nielles-Vallespin

Dr Sonia Nielles-Vallespin is a Senior Lecturer in Physics of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance at Imperial College London, and a Principal CMR Physicist at Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust. She completed her MSc in Medical Imaging at Aberdeen University (UK), and her PhD in Sodium Magnetic Resonance Imaging at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University (Germany). She has worked as a Senior Scientist at Siemens Healthcare MR R&D and as a Staff Scientist at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute in the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, USA). Her research currently focusses on characterising myocardial microstructural dynamics during cardiac contraction non-invasively and non-destructively using in vivo Diffusion Tensor Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (DT-CMR). In vivo DT-CMR offers huge potential for technical innovation and it is already providing novel insights into microstructural abnormalities of regional cardiac function inaccessible by any currently available clinical test.

Jorge Bernardino de la Serna

Dr. Jorge Bernardino de la Serna (JBdlS) has a markedly multidisciplinary research track record: Synthetic Biology, Biophysics, Molecular Cell Biology, Photonics and Quantitative 4D Imaging. He did his PhD in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at the University Complutense of Madrid, worked as a Postdoc at Center for BioMembrane Physics (MEMPHYS) at the University of Southern Denmark, and the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford. JbdlS took a Senior Staff role at the United Kingdom Research and Innovation working in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory before he joined the NHLI, Imperial College London as Senior Lecturer in Inhalation Toxicology and Pharmacology. JBdlS is interested in how cells at the alveolo-capillary barrier sense and remodel when challenged by their micro/nano-environment, including foreign biofunctional materials, nanoparticles, and micro/nano-organisms. He is interested in learning the way cell membranes harbour supramolecular assemblies and favour lipid-protein spatiotemporal arrangements during uptake. JBdlS is focusing on lipid-protein spatiotemporal interactions, its distribution and dynamical functional architectures at the micro- and nano-scale. For this purpose, he is developing novel advanced in vitro models mimicking the alveolo-capillary barrier including lung surfactant and respiratory mechanics for toxicological and pharmacological testing.

Asha Patel

Asha Patel is a Lecturer in Cell & Gene Therapy at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London. Her research draws on multidisciplinary approaches including materials science, biochemistry and pharmaceutics to harness the potential of nucleic acid-based therapeutics. In 2018, she completed her postdoctoral training as an EPSRC eterm fellow in the laboratories of Professors Daniel Anderson and Robert Langer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Here, she developed biodegradable vectors for inhaled delivery of mRNA to the lung. Asha graduated with a first class honours degree in Pharmacy from King's College London and remains a member of the General Pharmaceutical Council with extensive professional experience. Dr Patel was awarded her PhD by the University of Nottingham where she investigated the influence of diverse materials chemistry on human pluripotent stem cell and cardiomyocyte behaviour, under the guidance of Professors Chris Denning, Morgan Alexander and Martyn Davies.

 Fu Siong Ng

Dr Fu Siong Ng is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Cardiac Electrophysiology at Imperial College London, and a Consultant Cardiologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. He is a Clinician Scientist and leads a programme of research into arrhythmia mechanisms alongside performing invasive ablation procedures and implanting cardiac devices in patients with heart rhythm disorders. His research projects span the translational research spectrum, from high-resolution optical mapping in experimental models of fibrillation and development of novel signal analysis tools for myocardial fibrillation, through to leading on multi-centre first-in-man studies on low-energy atrial defibrillation.

 James Harker

During his PhD, with Professor Peter Openshaw here in the NHLI, and his postdoc in the US James focused on the importance of cytokines in regulating the outcome of acute and chronic viral infections. Since moving to the Inflammation, Repair and Development section in 2013  James’s research has focused on how these signals regulate antibody-mediated immunity in a tissue specific manner and the importance of this both in disease but also normal immune homeostasis.