What is STRATiGRAD?
STRATiGRAD is an innovative PhD program that addresses the need to produce a new generation of scientists to work at the interface of disciplines to drive new discoveries at the systems level. The purpose of the programme is to establish a collaborative network of research organisations with common interests in the areas of stratified medicine, clinical diagnostics, prognostics and theranostic biomarker discovery, novel therapeutic development, and organic disease mechanisms through a combined PhD training and stratified medicine. consortium in the fields of molecular phenotyping, systems modelling. This program is to build on the massive training resources and computational/analytical infrastructure in systems biology already in place at Imperial College (Section of Phenomics and Modelling), and will harness the unique interactive environment bridging world-class departments in Analytical Science and Medicine.
The concept of STRATiGRAD was born out of exciting new developments in stratified and translational medicine, where development of new technology to achieve ‘real-time’ patient diagnostics based on the surgical time scale is complemented by computational modelling of complex ‘omics’ data, to deliver new solutions in data visualisation and interpretation. Fundamental improvements in mass spectrometric imaging, and in metagenomic screening have also opened new doors. The role of the gut microbiome in contributing to the obesity epidemic and in a wide range of pathologies is gaining increasing recognition. We have developed a strong research focus on understanding the relationship between the microbiome, nutrition and metabolic phenotypes and are developing a framework for characterising the functionality of the microbiome with the intention of uncovering new therapeutic targets. Desorption ElectroSpray Ionization and Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation imaging coupled with machine learning and other analysis tools have provided a vehicle for topographical mapping of panels of biochemicals, thereby facilitating detection of heterogeneous distributions of chemicals involved in the expression of tissue pathology.
Why choose STRATiGRAD?
Training students to take on the scientific challenges of today with the vision and tools to develop next generation therapeutics is a priority. Metabolic profiling has seen successful application in many biomedical fields. Staff in the Division of Computational and Systems Medicine (CSM) have contributed strongly to the development of the analytical technologies and data analysis tools that has given rise to the disciplines of metabonomics and metabolomics. Originally focussed on toxicology, drug metabolism, and small-scale clinical projects, development of the technology platforms and modeling approaches have far exceeded earlier expectations and offers one of the most promising avenues into stratified medicine, personalised healthcare, and molecular epidemiology
Past PhD students have gone on to take up academic positions in top UK and international universities. Others have moved into the pharmaceutical industry as team leaders or project managers and into governmental bodies such as the FSA and DEFRA. In many cases, sustained collaboration with past students has reinforced the strong and longstanding links we have had with several of our Industrial collaborators such as Nestlé, Servier, AstraZeneca, and Bristol Myers Squibb.