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UEA & Earlham Institute host Genome Technologies and Innovation Workshop

This exciting and inspiring event attracted over 80 delegates from across the East of England and was held at the Earlham Institute on the 31st October 2018. The agenda for the day is highlighted below:

SESSION 1

09:50 - 10:10  Prof Colin Cooper, UEA
10:10 - 10:30  Rob Kingsley, QIB - ‘Phylogenomics of Salmonella pathovariants’
10:30 - 10:50  Justin O’Grady, QIB - 'Rapid metagenomic diagnosis of hospital acquired pneumonia'
10:50 - 11:00  David Thybert, EI – ‘A framework for the sequencing and assembly of rodent genome at the chromosome level’

SESSION 2

11.10 – 11.30  Thorsten Langner, TSL - 'Genome Architecture of Fungal Plant Pathogens'
11:30 - 11:50  Jemima Brinton, JIC
11:50 - 12:10  Prof Anne-Marie Minihane, UEA - 'Human genotyping as a public health and clinical tool'
12:20 - 12:30  Darren Heavens, EI ‘Comparing library construction strategies to improve assembly of A. thaliana data when using nanopore technology’
12:30 - 13:40  Tour of EI Labs (30’)* / Innovation Station chats for PhD students (Wallace Room)*
*Optional session

SESSION 3

13:40 - 14:00  Iain Macaulay, Earlham Institute - 'Single Cell Sequencing at the NRP: Decoding Living Systems One Cell at a Time'
14:00 - 14:20  Ofir Meir, Tropic Bioscience - ‘Harnessing Genome Editing Technology to Drive Innovation in Tropical Crops’
14:20 - 14:40  Alison Johnson/Megan Abigail, Food Forensics ‘Application of NGS in Food Authenticity’
14:40 - 14:50  Q&A
15:10 - 17:00  Planning and Next Actions (Darwin Room)* Case study, Announcement of ‘Pilot Grant Programme in Genomics Innovation’ winners, Introduction of ‘Industrial Challenge Seed Fund’, Group Discussion and Report
17:00 - 17:00  Close

A wide range of companies attended and these included: Astra Zeneca, Dovetail Genomics, Hethel Innovation, PacBio, Oxford Nanopore, Perkin Elmer, Qiagen, Tropic Bioscience, Thermo Fisher and TTP Labtech.

Thanks to:

Prof Laura Bowater

Academic Director of Innovation, UEA

For co-organising the event and approaching EI with the idea of a cross-NRP Genome Technologies & Innovation workshop

Dr Karen Smith

Relationship Manager Medical & Life Sciences & EIRA Team Manager, UEA

For co-organising the event and securing funding of the event through UEA Research England Industrial Strategy seedcorn funds

Dr Karim Gharbi

Head of Genomics Pipelines, Earlham Institute

For co-organising and hosting the event

Dr Emily Angiolini

Head of Training, Earlham Institute

For co-organising the event and logistics support from the training team

For further information about UEA genome technologies please contact Dr Karen Smith at Karen.L.Smith@uea.ac.uk

Chief Economist of Nuffield Trust visits UEA

Prof Ric Fordham and Dr Karen Smith were delighted to welcome Prof John Appleby to UEA as the latest speaker for the ‘Big Picture: Health Economics and UK Health Policy Seminar Series’. His talk was held in the Zuckerman Institute on the 11th September 2018.

John joined the Nuffield Trust as Director of Research and Chief Economist in September 2016, after 18 years at The King’s Fund. He is also a Visiting Professor at the City Health Economics Centre, City University London and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College. He has previously worked in the NHS in Birmingham and London, and as senior lecturer at the universities of Birmingham and East Anglia. For five years he worked for the National Association of Health Authorities (now the NHS Confederation) as manager of the Association’s Central Policy Unit.

John has acted as an advisor to the UK government and Parliament in various capacities, for example, carrying out a review for Ministers of the future funding needs of Northern Ireland’s health service, and as a task force member for the Marmot Commission on health inequalities; a special adviser to the House of Commons Health Select Committee, member of the National Quality Board’s Priorities sub-committee and as a member of the Department of Health’s Stakeholder Reference Group on patient reported outcome measures.

So his talk entitled ‘NHS at 70: Time for retirement?’ was eagerly anticipated and garnered many insightful questions from the audience that included senior health economists, medical practitioners, policy makers and academics. There was a buffet and wine networking session at the end to enable further discussion.

If you are interested in Health Economic Consulting at UEA please see their website or contact Dr Karen Smith at Karen.L.Smith@uea.ac.uk

UEA host Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Thought Leadership Event

UEA held a very insightful and enjoyable AMR Thought Leadership event on campus at the Julian Study Centre on the 11 September 2018.

The event was hosted by Prof Laura Bowater, Academic Director of Innovation and convened by Dr Karen Smith, Relationship Manager for Medical & Life Sciences. Laura got proceedings underway by highlighting the range of AMR work being undertaken at UEA and on the wider Norwich Research Park. She then introduced Prof Alan Johnson of Public Health England who addressed the question ‘Antimicrobial resistance: is there still a problem in the UK?’ Following his illuminating talk, Daniel Berman of NESTA talked about the Longitude Prize a challenge with a £10 million prize fund to help solve the global problem of antibiotic resistance. Rachael Hore from Results UK then talked about drug-resistant TB and the role of policy. At this point the speakers and 50 delegates present enjoyed a short coffee break and were able to look at posters displayed by post-graduate students and post-doctoral researchers in the break-out area. On returning to the lecture theatre Dr Davide Manissero of Shionogi talked about when a new antibiotic makes it to  the market and how to ensure a healthy and long life for drug and patients. The final talk about FMT and Phage therapy as alternative strategies to combat superbugs was given by Prof Arjan Narbad of the Quadram Institute. There was then a panel Q&A, drinks reception and networking. Throughout the day artist and illustrator Rebecca Osborne captured the key messages and this was displayed along with the posters.

The event was part of arrange of activities that have revolved around ‘Superbugs: the fight for our lives’, a one year exhibition that UEA is sponsoring at the national Science Museum in London. Other activities have included UEA participating in a Museum ‘Lates’ event based around AMR which attracted approx. 4,000 visitors on the night and also an AMR video competition for local schools which resulted in children from the two winning classes enjoying prizes that included a coach trip to the Museum to see the exhibition, tickets to Wonderlab and the 4D Legend of Apollo movie.

To coincide with this event, Karen hosted a visit to UEA in the morning by Dr Kai Stoeber, the VP of Global innovation, Shionogi (a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan https://www.shionogi.com/). He met with several PIs including Prof Michael McArthur, Prof Matt Hutchings, Dr Justin O’Grady and Dr Barbara Jennings.

For further information about AMR research at UEA please contact Dr Karen Smith at Karen.L.Smith@uea.ac.uk

Announcing the winners of our AMR Video Schools Competition

In honour of the UEA’s ‘Superbugs: The Fight for Our Lives’ antibiotic resistance exhibition on show at the London Science Museum, the SAW Trust and the UEA gave local schools the chance to take part in a film making competition.

The Superbugs exhibition explores how society is responding to the enormous challenge of antibiotic resistance, whilst giving audiences a chance to see real bacteria and discover the innovative technologies being used to make superbugs a thing of the past.

We asked schools to come up with a short film that conveyed a public health message associated with antibiotic resistance. The more creative, innovative and exciting ideas, the better! We received a number of excellent entries that included the promotion of good hand washing techniques to limit the spread of infections, the importance of finishing your course of antibiotics, and explaining how antibiotics aren’t always needed to get better.

The Judging Panel was composed of: Prof Laura Bowater, UEA; Prof Matt Hutchings, UEA; Dr Karen Smith, UEA; Dr Jenni Rant, SAW Trust and Dr Seema Patel, Pfizer.

 

We are pleased to announce the winners:

1st Prize:

Hevingham and Marsham Primary School (Teacher – Sam Gibbons)

See their winning video

2nd Prize:

Mile Cross Primary School (Teacher - Mark Pinner)

 

Congratulations to both classes won a complimentary trip to the London Science Museum to see the Superbugs exhibition, inclusive of travel costs, simulator tickets and goodie bags.

Dr Karen Smith joined the winning class from Hevingham and Marsham Primary School at the Science Museum on the 17th of July to congratulate them and joined them in touring the highly informative Superbugs Exhibition, exploring the inspiring ‘Wonderlab’ and watching the exciting 3D motion theatre film ‘Legend of Apollo’.

 

 

If you would like to find out more about AMR research at UEA, please contact Karen at Karen.L.Smith@uea.ac.uk

MRC visits UEA

We were delighted to welcome Dr Mariana Delfino-Machin and Dr Ivan Pavlov from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to UEA on the 22nd May.

They gave a very informative presentation to an audience of over 20 participants drawn from the Medical School, the School of Health Sciences and the Schools of Chemistry and Pharmacy as well as Research Services.

Topics covered included information about the MRC Boards and optimising applications as well as a range of funding opportunities. There was also an excellent Q & A  followed by refreshments and a networking session and one-to-one Principal Investigator meetings.

The day was organised by Prof Anne-Marie Minihane and Dr Karen Smith. If you would like to know more about collaborative research opportunities, please contact Karen at Karen.L.Smith@uea.ac.uk

UEA share pioneering research at the Science Museum in London

Leading experts from the University of East Anglia (UEA) shared their pioneering research around Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) at the Science Museum in London yesterday (Wednesday 25 April).

The event, one of the Museum’s monthly after-hours Lates series regularly attended by over 4000 visitors, was themed “Superbugs: The Fight for Our Lives”, the Science Museum’s free exhibition which UEA sponsors alongside Pfizer, Shionogi and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

“Superbugs”, which is on display in the Tomorrow’s World gallery until Spring 2019, highlights the urgent need to tackle AMR which, without action, will lead to advanced medical treatments such as chemotherapy and major surgery all but disappearing as bacteria become resistant to antibiotics.

Prof Laura Bowater, Associate Dean for Innovation, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, said: “Taking part in the Lates event was a fantastic opportunity to highlight the cutting-edge research we are undertaking at UEA to detect, cure, and avoid anti-microbial resistant infections.”

 UEA hosted a range of interactive talks and activities, including an opportunity for visitors to “defeat” superbugs with soap in an AMR coconut shy.

UEA scientists gave short talks on their research to open up conversations around better detection of infections, the search for new antibiotics and the avoidance of infection altogether as possible solutions to the AMR crisis.

Meanwhile, live event artist, Rebecca Osborne, illustrated the conversations as they unfolded, and visitors were invited to offer their opinions on how limited resources and budget would be best spent – “Detect, Cure, or Avoid?”.

Researchers from the John Innes Centre, who join UEA as being part of the Norwich Research Park, exhibited their Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council-funded Antibiotic Hunters research within the UKRI zone.

Also at the event, UEA PhD student Hans Pfalzgraf competed in the Famelab UK final after winning the regional heat which was held in Cambridge. In this competition, participants must engage and entertain by breaking down science, technology and engineering concepts into three-minute presentations. Hans won the UK runner-up prize for his talk “Better Antibody – Drug Conjugates Against Cancer”.

Attending from UEA were Prof Laura Bowater, Prof David Livermore, Dr Gemma Kay and Dr Karen Smith. If you have any questions about AMR research at the university please contact Karen at Karen.L.Smith@uea.ac.uk

Launch of ‘The Big Picture’ Seminar Series

40 participants drawn from across the UEA Schools of Medicine, Health Sciences, Economics, Law and Computing and from NNUH, NNUHFT and East Coast Community Healthcare assembled in the Zuckerman Institute on the 30th January 2018 to mark the launch of this new seminar series developed by Prof Ric Fordham (MED) and Dr Karen Smith (RIN).

They heard a truly insightful and enjoyable talk on ‘Health Economics and UK Health Policy’ from guest speaker Anita Charlesworth CBE, Director of Research & Economics, The Health Foundation. Prof Fordham said ' Anita's insights from the very top of policy making in this county and her straight-to-the-point analytical grasp of  the key funding issues faced by the NHS, made her talk not only very engaging for all who came along on a cold winter's evening but also extremely thought provoking.  She certainly set the trend for talks in the 'big picture' to come'. The talk was followed by cheese & wine networking reception.

Image below (left to right): Dr Karen Smith, Anita Charlesworth CBE, Prof Ric Fordham.

About Anita:

In addition to being the Director of Research & Economics at The Health Foundation Anita is and Honorary Professor in the College of Social Sciences at the Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) at the University of Birmingham.

Before joining the Health Foundation in May 2014, Anita was Chief Economist at the Nuffield Trust (2010-14) where she led the Trust’s work on health care financing and market mechanisms. Prior to that she had roles as Chief Analyst and Chief Scientific Advisor at DCMS (2007-10), Director of Public Spending at the Treasury (1998-2007), where she led the team working with Sir Derek Wanless on his 2002 reform of NHS funding and worked as an Economic Advisor at DH and for SmithKline Beecham pharmaceuticals.  She has worked as a non-executive director in the NHS – for Islington PCT (2007-2011) and The Whittington Hospital (2011-2016). She was specialist advisor to the House of Lords' select committee on the long-term sustainability of the NHS. Anita has an MSc in Health Economics from the University of York and is a Trustee of Tommy’s, the baby charity. She was awarded a CBE in The Queen's 2017 Birthday Honours List for Services to Economics and Health Policy.

About the Health Foundation:

 

 

 

The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK. Its aim is a healthier population, supported by high quality health care that can be equitably accessed. The Foundation learns what works to make people’s lives healthier and improve the health care system. From giving grants to those working at the front line to carrying out research and policy analysis, it shines a light on how to make successful change happen.

It make links between the knowledge it gains from working with those delivering health and health care and its research and analysis. The Foundation’s aspiration is to create a virtuous circle, using what it knows works on the ground to inform effective policymaking and vice versa. It believes good health and health care are key to a flourishing society. Through sharing what it learns, collaborating with others and building people’s skills and knowledge, it aims to make a difference and contribute to a healthier population.

About Health Economics Consulting (HEC):

 

 

 

 

Established over twenty years ago HEC, based at UEA, is a member of one of the largest Health Economics groups in the country with a reputation for ground-breaking work in the economics of public health; economic modelling; economic evaluation methods alongside clinical trials; and quality of life measurement.

HEC is a commercial consulting company inside an academic environment set up in 2011 due to rising demand from NHS and other public bodies. We are fully owned and supported by UEA (UEA Consulting Ltd) based at Norwich Medical School, UEA, within a large Health Economics (HE) group (~25 researchers and PhD students). HEC is a non-profit organisation and its profits are reinvested in Medical Education.

 

For further information about the Health Foundation see: http://www.health.org.uk/about-us

For further information about HEC see: https://www.uea.ac.uk/health-economics-consulting/about-us

For further information about Health Economics at UEA see: http://www.uea.ac.uk/medicine/research/health-economics or contact Dr Karen Smith at Karen.L.Smith@uea.ac.uk, telephone +44 (0)1603 593 147

The Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences shines at the UEA Innovation & Impact Awards 2018

Congratulations to the FMH faculty who were finalists at the UEA Innovation and Impact Awards 2018. Particularly to Dr John Ford, Prof Andy Jones and Prof Nichols Steel who won the award for ‘Outstanding Impact in Health, Wellbeing and Welfare’. The awards were designed to recognise those who go above and beyond their roles in higher education. The ceremony itself, was held at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts on the 1st of February and was hosted by the university’s chancellor Karen Jones CBE.

Its categories included those who have made outstanding impacts in culture, health and technology, with finalists including professors, doctors, lecturers and both former and current UEA students.

Professor Fiona Lettice, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Chair of the judging panel, said: “We presented these awards to celebrate the success and impact of UEA’s pioneering research and innovation, delivered by our amazing staff and students with a range of fantastic external collaborators.

“These awards celebrated the many productive partnerships within and beyond the university that enable such excellent research and innovation outcomes.”

Professor Laura Bowater, Associate Dean for Innovation, FMH said: “At UEA, we have many talented staff and students who are using their expertise to generate outstanding societal and economic impact on a local, national and international scale. Being part of the judging panel was a real privilege and I am delighted that this award ceremony highlighted and celebrated these innovative projects.”

FMH Award Winners and Finalists:

Outstanding Impact in Health, Wellbeing and Welfare

This award recognises impacts of research and innovation which have made changes in practice, guidelines and procedures in the healthcare sector, leading to real world improvements to quality f life for vulnerable individuals or groups.

Winner: Dr John Ford (MED) ‘Improving access for all: reducing inequalities in access to general practice services’

Most policy initiatives to improve access to GP services target the whole population, such as an extended seven day opening. However research suggests that targeted services are needed for high risk groups, including those in rural areas and the elderly.

Research led by Dr Ford is exploring access to primary care for these marginalised groups, in particular vulnerable older people, and their findings are influencing NHS England, Clinical Commissioning Groups, GP Practices and Local Authorities across England and internationally to reduce these inequalities. The project has already formed the basis of a national NHS England resource to reduce inequalities, it has supported integration of transport and health services in Norfolk, and has contributed to the service redesign of a Local Health Integrated Network team in Ontario, Canada.

Finalist: Dr Lee Hooper (MED) ‘Recognising Dehydration in older people’

Dehydration is a frequent problem in elderly individuals admitted to hospital and residing in long term care homes. Research led by Dr Hooper has shown that 20% of older people living in residential care in Norfolk are dehydrated. Unfortunately, accurate and effective tools to record drinks intakes are limited and often time consuming.

In response to this, Dr Hooper’s team have developed a novel, self-reporting ‘Drink’s Diary’. The diary has already been downloaded by hundreds of users for free. As a unique self-reporting tool, it empowers older adults in long-term care, increases awareness of the importance of fluid intake, indicates a need for interventions supporting drinking in older adults, and contributes towards optimal care in the elderly.

Outstanding Commercialisation of Technology

This award recognises innovations that have demonstrated outstanding use and exploitation of technology, including projects that have commercially licensed intellectual property to industry partners, and those who have formed UEA start-up companies to exploit intellectual property.

Finalist: Dr Justin O'Grady (MED) ‘Pathogen DNA enrichment for metagenomic sequencing based diagnostics’

Over 100, 00 people suffer bloodstream infections annually in the UK. These infections often lead to hospitalisation and identifying the cause of the disease using current testing methods can take a long time. While waiting for the results, patients often receive inappropriate therapy.

Led by Dr O’Grady, the technique developed enables clinical scientists to separate the small amount of bacterial DNA in clinical samples from the large amount of human DNA. The bacterial DNA can then be sequenced to identify which pathogen is causing the infection and which antibiotic will kill it, all in a much faster timeframe than current methods (less than 6 hours compared to 48 hours). The patent for this technology has been filed, leading the way to better treatment for people with severe infections and more sustainable antibiotic use in the NHS.

Consultancy Project of the Year

This award recognises outstanding consultancy projects that clearly demonstrate a commercial, social, health or cultural impact beyond academia.         

Finalist: Prof Richard Fordham (MED) ‘Home blood pressure monitoring in a hypertensive pregnant population: cost effectiveness analysis’

Hypertensive disorders complicate up to 10% of pregnancies, remaining one of the leading causes of direct maternal deaths worldwide. Therefore, increased blood pressure monitoring in hypertensive pregnant women is required, resulting in frequent hospital visits.

St George’s University NHS Foundation Trust consulted with Prof Fordham’s team to develop a cost-effective mobile application ‘HAMPTON’ that allows women to log their blood pressure readings from home and transmit the results directly to the Hospital’s doctors who are able to provide immediate advice in case of abnormal readings. The project has reduced unnecessary appointments, improving the efficiency of the Fetal Unit at St George’s and was nominated as one of five finalists in the Health innovation category of the British Medical Journal Awards 2017.      

If you have been inspired by what you have read and would like to find out how you can work with UEA to make an impact, contact Dr Karen Smith at Karen.L.Smith@uea.ac.uk, telephone +44 (0)1603 593 147 to find out more. This could be in the form of consultancy, funded research, student internships, or your own idea for a project – and we often have funding available to help get projects started.

UEA students win Young Entrepreneurs Scheme competition

A team of Pharmacy PhD students from the UEA has won both the Biotechnology YES Prize and People’s Choice Award at the national Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES) competition final hosted by the Royal Society on Tuesday 12 December.  

YES is designed to develop business awareness and an understanding of entrepreneurship in UK postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers. This goal is achieved through a competition where the participants prepare a business plan for a hypothetical company in one of three categories, Biotechnology, Engineering and Environment.  

The UEA winning team, CryoThaw, came up with a way to improve heart transplant procedures by cryopreserving them and then “reanimating” them back to a viable state. Cryopreserving is a way of freezing something without causing it damage so it can be restored and reused, a process that would allow for extended heart storage times and improved post-transplantation outcomes for patients.  

At the final, CyroThaw had to pitch their idea and the business plan to a panel of investors. The pitch had to address all areas of the business including a financial strategy, IP strategy and marketing. They won £2,500, a trophy and invitations to the BioIndustry Association’s gala dinner.  

Lucka Bibic, CEO at CyroThaw, said: “I am so delighted for the whole team, the success of CyroThaw was definitely down to our team effort. YES17 was a fantastic chance to network and a great opportunity to learn how to think like an entrepreneur. Now we can hopefully apply and further develop these skills in our future career paths.”  

Another Norwich Research Park (NRP) team, Active Plant Protection, were also successful at the final as team member Sophie Harrington won the Best Presenter Award.    

Dr Karen Smith, Relationship Manager for Medical & Life Sciences at UEA said: “I really enjoyed working as the YES mentor this year for both UEA and the NRP. I am extremely proud of both the teams for making it to the final and winning prizes on the night. It is a reflection of their entrepreneurial spirit and all their hard work and enthusiasm. It is also a result of the strong focus on innovation at UEA.”

ABPI LINC - a new scheme for university-pharmaceutical industry collaboration

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (APBI) has created a new initiative called ‘ABPI LINC’ to increase the level of engagement between pharmaceutical companies and universities. ABPI LINC (Library of Initiatives for Novel Collaborations) allows academic researchers to search for open opportunities for collaboration with the biopharmaceutical industry.

You can search ABPI LINC by research stage (preclinical/clinical), type of collaboration or resource (e.g. sharing compounds, resources, funding, investigator led studies), disease area (e.g. infectious disease), or company. Further information can be found on their website.

Collaboration between universities, hospitals and industry is vital for delivery of new therapies for patients. And the LINC tool is a useful new resource for identifying collaborative opportunities with the biopharmaceutical industry.” Dr Karen Smith. If you are in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and need assistance in making connections with the biopharmaceutical industry, please contact Karen (Email: Karen.L.Smith@uea.ac.uk, Tel: 01603 593147)

UEA attends Parliamentary Reception at the House of Lords

On 15 November 2017, Dr Karen Smith attended the Tomorrow’s Company Parliamentary Reception at the House of Lords. (Tomorrow’s Company is an independent non-profit think tank that inspires and enables business to be a force for good in society). The event, held in the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace was hosted by Lord Haskel, Deputy Speaker of the Lords.
 
Introductions were made by James Wates CBE, Chairman, Tomorrow’s Company and the keynote speaker was Stephen Kelly, CEO, Sage (a FTSE 100 company) who discussed business over the next decade. He particularly focused how the 4th industrial revolution is impacting incumbent businesses and how businesses will have to adapt and operate in order to thrive in the long term. Stephen called on the global tech community to take responsibility for the ethical development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for business and discussed the company’s approach encapsulated in “The Ethics of Code” - which involves developing AI for Business with five core principles. Further details can be found here: https://www.sage.com/~/media/group/files/business-builders/business-builders-ethics-of-code.pdf?la=en
 
The impressive guest list included senior leaders from a wide array companies such as; Anglian Water, Aviva, CISCO, Coca-Cola, HSBC, Shell, TTP and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Karen was able to have meetings with existing industry contacts and open dialogue with new companies. She has expertise in working with a wide range of organisations and an in-depth knowledge of UEA and the NRP helping external organisations to define their interests, needs and objectives for interaction with us and she works with them to develop a plan of action.  For UEA staff (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and Schools of Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Pharmacy), she can recommend, facilitate and scope customised interactions with external organisations that will help both staff and the organisation to meet key objectives.

If you would like to find out more please contact her at Karen.L.Smith@uea.ac.uk

Launch of Science Museum ‘Superbugs’ exhibition sponsored by UEA

A new Science Museum exhibition that puts the spotlight on antibiotic resistance is being sponsored by UEA.

‘Superbugs: The Fight for Our Lives’ highlights the urgent need to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which, without action, will lead to advanced medical treatments such as chemotherapy and major surgery all but disappearing.

Part of the Superbugs exhibition

The official launch took place on the 8th November 2017 and was attended by Prof Fiona Lettice, Prof Dylan Edwards, Prof Laura Bowater and Dr Karen Smith. The exhibition features leafcutter ants that Prof Matt Hutchings group from UEA are studying. The ants farm their own natural antibiotics, used to protect themselves and their nest, from bacteria that grow on their bodies. Antibiotics produced by this bacteria can kill superbugs such as MRSA, without MRSA developing resistance to them and there is the hope they can be developed for future drug use.


Over 200 guest attended and these included the other sponsors; Pfizer, Shionogi and RUCK as well as the ABPI, BBC News, BBSRC, Daily Telegraph, CBS, GSK, J&J, MRC, Nature, NHS England, various NHS Trusts, NESTA, PwC, Reuters, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health, Sky News, Tesco and various universities and science societies.

They heard from Ian Blatchford, Chief Executive of the Science Museum; Erik Nordkamp, Managing Director of Pfizer UK; Lord Jim O’Neill former government minister and leading economist and Angela Rippon, television journalist, newsreader, writer and presenter, whose live was saved by antibiotics.

After a year of hard work, the Superbugs exhibition is ready for its first museum visitors to explore the hidden world of bacteria and the threat antibiotic resistance poses to our health.

http://sciencemuseum.org.uk/superbugs 

https://www.uea.ac.uk

Should you have any questions regarding antibiotic resistance research at UEA please contact:

Prof Laura Bowater, Norwich Medical School (01603 591941)
Dr Karen Smith, Research and Innovation Services (01603 593147)


 

Norwich Science Festival 2017

Saturday the 21st of October 2017 saw the start of nine days of inspirational exhibitions, sensational shows as well as an abundance of hands-on science and engineering activities for all ages and all levels of knowledge at the second Norwich Science Festival. The Norwich Medical School was lucky enough to take part in several events throughout the week. We delivered public talks at the Forum’s auditorium with The Microbes Fight Back by Professor Laura Bowater and Putting Cancer on a Diet by PhD research student Manar Shafat. The Benefits of Exercise was also discussed by a panel of UEA researchers (Dr Sarah Hanson, Prof Andy Jones, Dr Andy Atkins and Alison Welsh) who discussed the benefits of physical activity topped off with a short, accessible, walk at the end of the session.

 Friday also saw the Norwich atrium transformed into the Explorium; a plethora of hands on activities designed for families. Activities included Antibiotics Unearthed; PhD students Ethan Drury and Claire Hews invited members of the public were invited to hunt for new antibiotics from garden soil. We also had a Scenario Planning event; festival visitors were shown how big organisations try to get ready for an uncertain world. Charlotte Hammer and Julii Brainard asked members of the public to think about what would happen if an unknown virus slipped into the water system.

Saturday also saw Art and Anatomy come together in a workshop run by artist and anatomist Charlie James. In this short drawing workshop, Charlie took intrepid ‘would be’ artists through the process of drawing the skull, using a photograph as reference.

The Norwich Science Festival 2017 was a huge success with more than 8-10 000 people a day passing through and attending the events.

Let’s see what next year’s festival brings.

UEA supports Science Museum Exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superbugs: The Fight For Our Lives

9 November 2017 – Spring 2019

A free exhibition at the Science Museum

sciencemuseum.org.uk/superbugs

Major Sponsor: Pfizer
Associate Sponsor: Shionogi
Supported by UK Research and Innovation and the University of East Anglia

 

We share our world with bacteria. Trillions live on and inside you, and although many are harmless they can also cause infection and death. Thanks to antibiotics, millions of people each year are cured of previously untreatable bacterial diseases. But bacteria have fought back, evolving into superbugs resistant to antibiotics.

Opening on 9 November 2017, Superbugs: The Fight For Our Lives explores humanity’s response to the unprecedented global threat of antibiotic resistance. Today superbugs kill almost 700,000 people a year globally and by 2050 this could rise to 30 million. Examining antibiotic resistance at the microscopic, human and global scale, this exhibition features remarkable scientific discoveries from across the globe and reveals the personal stories of those waging war on superbugs.

Visitors will glimpse twelve real bacteria colonies in the exhibition, including nine deadly bacteria that the World Health Organisation classifies as a significant threat to human health. Grown by bioartist Anna Dumitriu, the bacteria include Escherichia coli, often first to colonise new-born babies’ stomachs, Staphylococcus aureus, one of the earliest superbugs identified and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The exhibition includes a digital interactive examining the microscopic world of bacteria and reveals how Bdellovibrio bacterivorous (a bacterium that eats other bacteria) and bacteriophages (a virus that infects bacteria) battle superbugs.

At the human scale, we delve into the stories of those tackling antibiotic resistance, from a superbug survivor to healthcare professionals preventing infections and a designer’s solutions to stop bacteria spreading. Geoffrey, a former patient who was in isolation for five months after antibiotics failed to treat a bacterial infection acquired during surgery, shares his story with visitors. Doctors Zoe Williams and Imran Rafi examine why millions of antibiotics are taken unnecessarily, and with 1.3 million people catching bacterial infections in UK hospitals each year, visitors can investigate how Sarah Whitney prevents bacteria spreading at The Royal Marsden Hospital. As almost half of antibiotics are used in agriculture, the exhibition also explores how robotic chickens and listening to pigs coughing can help farmers reduce antibiotic use. 

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum said: ‘As the home of the greatest medical collection in the world, it is fitting that the Science Museum is to open an exhibition on antibiotic resistance – the most pressing medical challenge facing our society. With the resurgence of diseases once thought banished to history books, this exhibition shines a light on the remarkable scientific research that could stop the spread of the superbugs.’

Superbugs: The Fight For Our Lives also examines the antibiotic resistance crisis on a global scale. Thirty years since the last antibiotic was approved for human use, researchers are hunting for new antibiotics in unusual places. Visitors can dive with University of Illinois at Chicago researchers in a video which explores the Icelandic fjords that may provide a new source of antibiotics. Also on display are South American leafcutter ants, which use fungi and bacteria to produce antibiotics that can kill superbugs like MRSA. University of East Anglia researchers are investigating how these bacteria function to help develop new antibiotics. 

Four prototypes made by teams across the globe vying to win the £8 million Longitude Prize – awarded by the UK Government and Nesta to the first team to develop a fast, affordable and accurate diagnostic test for bacterial infections – will also be on display. Stellenbosch University in South Africa are developing a test that can detect when the body’s immune system responds to a bacterial infection, while the UK’s GFC diagnostics have created a fluid which turns blue when bacteria with antibiotic resistant genes are found.

Meeting the unprecedented challenge of antibiotic resistance requires global action. By acting as the head of a global health organisation, visitors can attempt to stop the spread of superbugs across the globe in a new interactive game developed exclusively for the exhibition.

Sheldon Paquin, curator of Superbugs: The Fight For Our Lives said: ‘For over seventy years antibiotics have been essential to medicine, helping save hundreds of millions of lives. As antibiotics become increasingly ineffective, our exhibition investigates the latest research in our battle against superbugs.’

Superbugs: The Fight For Our Lives is supported by Pfizer (Major Sponsor) and Shionogi (Associate Sponsor) with additional support from UK Research and Innovation and the University of East Anglia.

The exhibition is open daily from 9 November 2017 until spring 2019, with late opening until 22.00 on the last Wednesday of each month (except December) for Lates at the Science Museum.

Should you have any questions regarding antibiotic resistance research at UEA please contact:

Prof Laura Bowater, Norwich Medical School (01603 591941)
Dr Karen Smith, Research and Innovation Services (01603 593147)

UEA becomes a member of One Nucleus

The University of East Anglia (UEA) is now a member of One Nucleus, an international membership organisation for life science and healthcare companies.

Membership of One Nucleus will provide an additional platform for UEA researchers to network and engage as part of Europe’s largest life science and healthcare cluster. In particular it can help us to develop further linkages across the Cambridge/London corridor as well as further afield and provide new mechanisms for sharing our thoughts and ideas with many other organisations.” Dr Karen Smith, Research & Innovation Division

UEA Vision - Our research spans the global challenges we face today: from meeting the needs of an ageing population to understanding the unique and fragile environments we live in. We seek to address these challenges through our pioneering and boundary-breaking research, all to help build a better, healthier world.

One Nucleus’ Mission - For One Nucleus and our members to be the top European life science and healthcare network. This will be achieved by maximising the global competitiveness of our members.

https://www.uea.ac.uk

http://www.onenucleus.com

Norwich Medical School welcome QuintilesIMS visit to the Bob Champion Research and Education Building (BCRE)

On Friday the 15th September we were delighted to welcome two senior leaders from QuintilesIMS to the Norwich Medical School; Adam Collier Director, Real World Evidence, NEMEA Region and Adam Lloyd, Senior Principal, Health Economics.

They were the guests of Prof Ric Fordham (Norwich Medical School, UEA)and Dr Karen Smith (Research and Innovation Services)  who were keen to showcase the breadth and depth of UEA research in health economics, epidemiology, economics and big data.

QIMS heard a series of very interesting talks:

  • Introduction to Health Economics Consultancy
    Prof Ric Fordham (Health Economics Consulting, Norwich Medical School, UEA)
  • Patient and public preferences for health and healthcare
    Prof Jenny Whitty (Health Economics, Norwich Medical School, UEA)
  • Use of Pharma Sales data in competition economics
    Dr Farasat Bokhari (School of Economics, UEA)
  • Investigating longevity and longevity improvement using THIN primary care database
    Dr Lisanne Gitsels (School of Computing Sciences, UEA)
  • Counting on arthritis
    Prof Alex MacGregor (Genetic Epidemiology, Norwich Medical School, UEA)

The talks were followed by positive discussions over lunch between our guests, Ric, Karen, Sue Johnson (Manager of UEA Consulting) and Mark Chapman (Faculty Manager, Norwich Medical School).

QuintilesIMS is an American multinational serving the combined industries of health information technologies and clinical research. It is a Fortune 500 company and the world’s largest provider of biopharmaceutical development and commercial outsourcing services with a network of more than 50,000 employees conducting business in approximately 100 countries. It is the world’s largest contract research organization and is focused primarily on Phase II-IV clinical trials and associated laboratory and analytical services.

The Wellcome Trust Visit the Norwich Research Park

A team of nine from the Wellcome Trust, the second largest charitable foundation in the world,  visited the Norwich Research Park (NRP) on the 13th August 2017.

The cross-NRP visit involving the Earlham Institute, Quadram Institute Bioscience, John Innes Centre, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, Sainsbury Laboratory and University of East Anglia (UEA) was organised and hosted by Dr Karen Smith, Relationship Manager, Medical & Life Sciences, Research & Innovation Division, UEA and supported by Prof Matt Hutchings, Associate Dean of Innovation, Science Faculty, UEA.

The day began in the lecture theatre of the Queen’s Building with an overview of the Wellcome Trust by Roger Blake, Head of External Relations and this was followed by a Q&A session chaired by Dr Candace Hassall, Head of Research Affairs. Participants then enjoyed a delicious networking lunch at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. Following lunch a series of four workshops took place: Early career funding; Funding for senior science lecturers and researchers; Our new Innovations strategy and funding opportunities and Support for researchers in Public & Population Health and Our Planet, Our Health.

These highly informative and interactive workshops were followed by a series of afternoon meetings between Wellcome representatives and individual Principal Investigators from across the NRP. There we also meetings held between the Wellcome and senior leaders from each institution. In addition, there was time for brief tour of the research park which is unique because its 3,000 researchers work within a 1km radius – facilitating collaboration and communication and access to research equipment and facilities across all partners.

In total, over 100 researchers drawn from across the NRP participated in the day and there was a real sense of confidence that the event will catalyse additional submissions for funding, particularly cross-institutional ones.

InnovateUK/Knowledge Transfer Network participate in UEA Workshop

Prof Bryan Hanley and Mrs Jan Stringer of the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) spoke to over 30 UEA faculty about InnovateUK Funding Streams and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at a Workshop held on Tuesday the 18th July 2017 at The Enterprise Centre, UEA.

The KTN is a network partner of InnovateUK and helps  businesses get the best out of creativity, ideas and the latest discoveries, to strengthen the UK economy and improve people's lives. It links ideas and opportunities with expertise, markets and finance through its network of businesses, universities, founders and investors.

The KTN talks were supplemented by Dr Karen Smith providing an 'academic's perspective' in relation to the successful 'Linspeed' project UEA is a partner in utilising a new approach for improving properties of natural fibres as biodegradable and a green source of materials in vehicles and other applications developed by Dr G. Richard Stephenson, Reader in the School of Chemistry.

Mr Geoff Foulds of NetComposites Ltd, a member company of the consortium, gave the 'industrial perspective'. It was apparent how beneficial such academic-industry collaborations are to all parties and and how they provide a mechanism to ensure that university research has real world impact.

The Workshop was facilitated by Dr Debi Bhattacharya (School of Pharmacy) and Dr Karen Smith (Research Innovation Division).

 

Eli Lilly visit UEA

Chris Beadle of Eli Lilly, Open Innovation in Drug Discovery (OIDD) Regional Ambassador and medicinal chemist by training visited UEA yesterday and gave a fascinating insight to the company, the OIDD programme and the many areas where our scientists and Lilly could potentially work together (UEA having already signed an Open Innovation Drug Discovery Universal Program Agreement with the company).

23 delegates from across the Faculty of Medicine and the Schools of Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Pharmacy attended the workshop at the Julian Study Centre and a series of one-to-one meetings between Chris and individual PIs took place following a networking lunch.

The day was supported by Prof Dylan Edwards, Executive Dean of the Faculty Medicine and Health Sciences and Prof Phil Gilmartin, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and hosted by Dr Karen Smith, Relationship Manager, Medical and Life Sciences, Research Innovation Division and Dr Samuel Fountain, Senior Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences.

Introducing our new Relationships Manager, Dr Karen Smith


Introduction from Dr Karen Smith, our new Relationship Manager for Medical and Life Sciences.

I instigate new and develop existing opportunities for partnerships with private, public and third sector organisations based on the world leading research conducted in the Faculty of Medicine and the Schools of Biological Science, Chemistry and Pharmacy. I work closely with academics to promote key research capabilities through knowledge exchange, impact, enterprise and engagement.

Following several years in management consultancy with EY and IMS Health I worked at University of Cambridge in several roles including Head of the Corporate Liaison Office and Executive Director of the Cambridge Computational Biology Institute and at UCL as Director of Bioprocess Leadership.

I gained extensive experience in developing strategic, high-value relationships with stakeholders including companies of all sizes, academic institutions, government bodies, knowledge transfer networks, professional institutions and sponsors.
I hold several degrees including two Masters degrees and a PhD from Emmanuel College, Cambridge(Neuroanatomy).

 

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