Thursday, 15 June 2017

€2million European Space Agency grant awarded to consortium

A consortium including ISTM's Professor Peter Ogrodnik have been awarded a €2million European Space Agency grant as a part of a consortium to establish a true, high integrity Internet of Things (IoT) solution for healthcare. This award has built on over 25 years' research conducted at Keele and the Royal Stoke University Hospital examining fracture healing. In the first instance they will be implementing an IoT solution for remote monitoring of broken tibiae (shins) post-operatively. This innovation could mean the end of repeated out-patient appointments and could also lead to measurable improvements in outcomes for the patient, the clinician and the healthcare provider. In addition, they will be reducing bed stays with an innovative IoT solution for the preoperative management of ankle fractures. The consortium brings together expertise from AT Kearney Ltd , SlamJam Ltd, Keele University, Oracle, and Intel.

left to right are the consortium members, Prof Ogrodnik, Alistair Taylor, Prof Thomas, John Lindup, Susan Hartman, Nathan Grant, Matthew Ockenden, and Mark Freeman.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

ISTM students participate in cross faculty conference

The Institute of Liberal arts and Sciences (ILAS) recently held its “Crossing Paths” Postgraduate Conference 2017, an opportunity which allowed postgraduate students to showcase their work to other disciplines. Unlike most conferences, in which people from a similar scientific field meet together to discuss the “nitty gritty” of their research, this conference required students to discuss the wider impact of their research and present it in a format that was accessible to people not familiar with their subject area. Along with poster presentations, another way in which students got to share their research was a challenge known as the Three minute thesis competition (3MT). The competition required PhD students to present a compelling spoken presentation on their research topic and its significance in just three minutes to a non-specialist audience. Whilst this may sound easy, an 80,000 word thesis would take 9 hours to present!

Students from ISTM attending the ILAS Crossing Paths PG Conference

We caught up with two of our prize winners to see what they had to say about the conference…

Fraser Philp (ISTM PhD Student) - Judges and Peoples prizes for best presentation

The conference was well supported by students from the Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine (ISTM) and the School of Health and Rehabilitation (SHAR) through attendance, posters and entries into the Three minute thesis competition. Myself and Shaima Jabbar, entered the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition heats, and I was lucky enough to win the Judges and Peoples prizes for best presentation for my presentation entitled “Validating the methods that underpin the modelling of injury risk factors in football.” The presentation discussed the importance of evaluating the current methods used to identify injury and how the clinical decision making processes could potentially be improved through the use of computer modelling (mathematical and statistical equations).

Fraser Philp won the 3 Minute Thesis competition

I thoroughly enjoyed the day; it was a great opportunity to see other people’s research and engage in conversations outside of your discipline. The three minute thesis was a great opportunity; the biggest challenge was trying to get people who usually aren’t interested in your research area, not only interested, but also able to see the impact of what you’re doing in just three minutes. The next stages of the 3MT competition are on the 20th of June 2017.

Homa Weli (ISTM PhD student) - People's prize for best poster

"Variety is said to be the spice of life". This statement, I believe, beautifully illustrates the meeting point between the arts and science. On 28th of April, the Institute of Liberal Arts and Science (ILAS) hosted a multidisciplinary conference which gave effect to the quote.

I arrived at the conference hall slightly jet-lagged from a brief trip to the United States yet I was still keen to participate. It promised to be varied by cutting across various fields in the arts and science and by the end of the conference, I could confidently say: "promise kept".


Homa Weli won the People's prize for best poster

I applied to present at the ILAS conference upon the suggestion of my lead supervisor, Professor Ying Yang. Being a multidisciplinary conference, this meant that I had to prepare my presentation with focus and clarity in mind. I was determined to communicate my research clearly and to appeal to a non-specialist audience. My PhD work, amongst other things, investigates an ageing compound in a disease that only affects women - Pelvic Organ Prolapse. There is poor awareness of the disease's burden and significance amongst the general public. Furthermore, in the process of studying pelvic organ Prolapse, I had used 3 specialised mechanical tests. Therefore explaining these to a non-specialist audience was not an easy task, nonetheless, but I was determined to take on the challenge. To capture the study in simplicity, my poster was titled: "Understanding how pelvic organ prolapse Happens: insights from vaginal tissue collagen age, structure and mechanical strength". The use of scientific jargons and clinical terms can be reflex habits for scientists and clinicians. So, I paid attention to how I used these and explained them where necessary.

There were 46 posters displayed at the conference. These included work from the fields of Geography, Politics, Law, Life Sciences, Medicine and Physiotherapy. I learned about some brilliant research going on at the university, but I was particularly thrilled to explain my research to both staff and students from the arts and humanities field. I found it exciting that they could both relate to and understand my research. They demonstrated an understanding of even of the methods used. It was a rewarding experience which received positive feedback . At the end of the event, I was both honoured and pleased to have been awarded the Audience Choice (People's) poster prize which is a prize for communication.

Notes from the audience 

ISTM would like to thank all of its students that took part in the cross faculty conference and to congratulate both Fraser Philp and Homa Weli on the winning presentations, as well as Emma Green (ISTM PhD student) for winning the runner up prize for the Judge’s prize for best poster!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

ISTM holds 12th annual Postgraduate Symposium


Research Institute Director, Professor Nick Forsyth kicks off the symposium
ISTM held its 12th annual Postgraduate Research Symposium on Tuesday 9th May.  Postgraduate Research Students and their supervisors gathered for the annual Symposium at the North Staffordshire Medical Institute (NSMI) in Hartshill.  This year’s Symposium featured a series of presentation, giving students valuable experience in public speaking.  Posters were also on display and a selection of students participated in the fast paced Turbo Talk session, which gave participating students just three minutes to talk about their research topic and encourage the audience to go and view their poster.  Dr Vinoj George, ISTM’s newly appointed Lecturer in Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine, also gave a guest presentation to introduce himself and his research.

The event was well attended by students and their supervisors.
After careful deliberation, the judges selected winners from each category, all of which were awarded a cash prize that had been kindly donated by the NSMI and Chamber of Commerce.  The first prize for best presentation went to Hamza Abu Owida; first prize for the best Turbo Talk went to Homayemem Kinikanwo Weli; and first prize for the best poster went to Ibrahim Ali.

Prize winners at this year's Symposium.
Professor Paul Horrocks, ISTM’s Director for Postgraduate Research commended the students on the quality of their presentations and posters and gave special thanks to the NSMI.  Stating that “It is important that we acknowledge the support of the North Staffordshire Medical Institute. This is the second year we have decided to host the event within their conference facilities, a move aimed to strengthen our links with this important local partner.”

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Rehabilitation research: join the revolution

Dr Ed Chadwick gave an invited talk at a fascinating Keele event this morning headlined: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution – what every business needs to know”.

Ed’s talk on Personalised Healthcare Devices described how his research with collaborators in the UK and USA is presenting opportunities for new rehabilitation devices and regimes, for example to help amputees and stroke survivors. The audience enjoyed a breakfast in the Great Hall followed by talks in the Salvin Room at Keele Hall, showing how the world is embarking on the next revolution in industry as manufacturing connects with the digital age.
And those previous three revolutions (in case you missed them):
First Industrial Revolution (c1700 to 1870 in Europe and America) – steam power and industrialisation
Second Industrial Revolution (c1870 to 1914) – mass production and electrical power
Third Industrial, or Digital Revolution (1980s to today) - from analogue and mechanical to digital device technology
Fourth Industrial Revolution (now) – digital technology embeds within society and the human body


https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-what-it-means-and-how-to-respond/

Monday, 13 March 2017

Study reveals pre-eclampsia significantly increases risk of heart disease in later life



Research led by Keele University has demonstrated that women who suffered pre-eclampsia during pregnancy are four times more likely to have heart failure in later life.

The study also found that expectant mothers with pre-eclampsia, which presents with high blood pressure and protein in the woman’s urine, have a two-fold increase risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and death due to cardiovascular disease in later life.

Pre-eclampsia affects five to eight per cent of pregnancies and is the most common cause of severe ill-health during pregnancy which can, in extreme circumstances, lead to death of the mother or baby.

The findings, involving the analysis of 22 studies and more than 6.5 million women, have been published today (February 21st) in the Go Red for Women Spotlight collection of the prestigious journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The authors of the study are calling for doctors to offer better advice to women about the increased risks, and the actions they can take to avoid future ill-health.

Dr Pensee Wu, the first author of this publication and lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Keele University, said: “Doctors need to be aware of the importance of educating women about their increased level of cardiovascular risk and of advising women about the beneficial effects of changing their lifestyle, such as increasing their level of physical activity and not smoking.

“I hope this work will raise awareness amongst hospital doctors of the advice that they need to give to women with pre-eclampsia.”

Dr Wu, who is also an Honorary Consultant Obstetrician and Maternal Fetal Medicine Subspecialist at University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust, added: “The study shows the risk is highest during the first ten years after a pregnancy affected by pre-eclampsia, so it is important that women are regularly monitored during this period for cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.”

“The risks begins to increase for coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke within one year after giving birth, but it is highest between one to ten years after giving birth.”

The study was a collaboration between researchers at Keele University’s Institute for Applied Clinical Science (iACS) and Institute for Science & Technology in Medicine (ISTM), along with Primary Care and Health Sciences (iPCHS), and the University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM).

Dr Randula Haththotuwa, co-author, Academic Clinical Fellow, and trainee GP funded by the National Institute for Health Research, added: “This study is extremely important for general practice as it will highlight the importance of lifelong monitoring of women who have suffered from pre-eclampsia of cardiovascular risk factors.”

Last year, Dr Wu, Dr Haththotuwa and their collaborators published another paper identifying a link between pre-eclampsia in pregnancy and the development of diabetes in later life. The study showed that pre-eclampsia is independently associated with a two-fold increase in future diabetes. This increased risk was found to occur from less than one year after delivery of the baby and persisted to over ten years after birth. Again, this highlights the need for monitoring of women in primary care.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

ISTM 2015/16 Annual Report

ISTM is proud to present it's 2015/16 Annual Report...

Professor Alicia EL Haj
(Former Director of ISTM)

It is always good to reflect on the year and take stock of the progress and challenges we have faced. Overall, ISTM has had an excellent year with significant advances in our research, an increase in the number staff publishing in top journals, a strong cohort of graduating postgraduate students and a clear rise in our external recognition.

The Institute continues to be globally recognised for excellent multi-disciplinary biomedical and bioengineering research with a much heralded formula of interdisciplinary working in a hospital environment. In addition, our grant income from research council and other funding sources is expanding with the aid of our first class research administrative team. Our increase in research income resulting from an outstanding REF result is especially pleasing and has provided support for new initiatives.

With the changing enterprise agenda on campus, we have been working to expand our outreach and enterprise activities from within the Institute. Our networking with Industry continues to grow with the Impact agenda an important part of our portfolio.

This year has seen a lot of changes in the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences and the structure of the Institute as a whole. No organisation can stand still and new programmes and initiatives need to come through aiming towards the next REF in 2020. Nick Forsyth has taken on the leadership of ISTM looking forward. I am passing the Institute leadership into excellent hands and I hope you all will support him as well as you have supported me.

Professor Nicholas R Forsyth
(Director of ISTM)

This has been a year of change including one where the Faculty changed its name! Changing from the Faculty of Health to the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences (FMHS). The role of Institute Director, though daunting, is one which I had no hesitation in putting myself forward for and was grateful to accept following on from interview. It is naturally important to acknowledge Professor Alicia El Haj and the substantial energy she has committed to the Institute during her two periods as Director. Her drive and ambitions have helped us cement and improve our standing thus far and collectively the Institute has continued to go from strength-to-strength.

Through the pages of this Annual Report it is our aim to represent the dynamism readily apparent across the Institute. ISTM in numbers (Page 4) illustrates many of our key metrics and also begins to take stock of our fledgling social media presence. Highlights (Pages 6-13) paints a broad picture of the news and events from across the past year, acknowledging new appointments and promotions, and celebrating funding successes and our growing global networks. The Report also reviews our individual research themes, key publications, our international activities, and much more.

Finally, and most importantly, I’d like to extend my thanks to all the Institute’s staff and members for their hard work and initiative over the last 12-months.

Click here to read the full report.



Monday, 5 December 2016

Why do scientists do what scientists do?


"Why do scientists do what scientists do?" is a new website that has been developed by ISTM and School of Pharmacy’s Dr Alan Richardson.  Dr Richardson received funding for the project from the British Pharmacological Society as part of their Outreach and Public Engagement Grant Scheme.  The aim of the website is to better inform public understanding about research, which might otherwise sound bizarre if the rationale for it hasn't adequately been explained.

The website has been developed to help non-scientists, or students just embarking on a career in science, to understand “the scientific mind-set”.  Why do scientists carry out experiments which, at first sight, may appear crazy?  For example, why would scientists make rabbits which glow in the dark?  And, why don’t scientists give straightforward answers to questions, but instead make things sound more complicated?

The website uses simple and accessible language as well as fun animations to explain some of the basic principles behind the design of scientific research.   It’s hoped that the website will help to bridge the gap between scientific research and public understanding.

The website can be found on the following link:
http://whydoscientists.org/