New grant awards

Posted: 23 October 2008

Researchers in the Centre have recently scored some successes in grant applications. Our congratulations go to Professors Robert Lechler, Graham Lord and Dr Maria Hernandez Fuetes who have been successful in a project grant application to the MRC. The transplant theme of the Biomedical Research Centre has also been awarded £1million toward the biomarker research programme and further funding for the immune biomarkers project being led by Professors Graham Lord and Frank Nestle.

As we rush towards the end of 2008 the next set of deadlines for MRC and Wellcome Trust funding are fast approaching.

Young Investigator Award

Posted: 24 September 2008

Congratulations to Dr Debbie Shawcross, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Hepatology, who has been awarded the Intensive Care Society (ICS) Research Young Investigators Award.

Debbie has been awarded with a grant of £10,000 towards research into the "Characterisation of neutrophil dysfunction in patients with Acute and Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure in Intensive Care.” This will include studying patients before and after liver transplantation.

Research awards from the ICS are aimed at encouraging young research workers and are intended to lead to further and more substantial support from other grant giving bodies. Funding is usually awarded for distinct small projects that clearly demonstrate a principal role for a young investigator and will enhance future research plans.

On receiving the grant, Dr Shawcross said: “I’m delighted and honoured that my research proposal was selected for funding. The award will hopefully lead to a better understanding of why patients with acute and chronic liver failure are so susceptible to developing infection and ultimately, improve patient care.”

1000 transplants at King’s

Posted: 23 July 2008

Earlier this month saw the celebration of ‘1000 transplants and beyond’ at King’s. The day’s events were sponsored by the Leukaemia Research Fund (LRF) and the Elimination of Leukaemia Fund (ELF), and attended by physicians, nurses and many patient groups and charities from the UK.

The celebration, at the Weston Education Centre, marked the 1080th bone marrow transplant at King’s College Hospital. The programme started in 1986 and the hospital is now the largest adult allogeneic centre for bone marrow transplant in the UK and one of the largest in the world for unrelated transplantation. Indeed the department now has the largest adult cord programme in the UK.

The ceremony was attended by the Vice-Principal for Health, Professor Robert Lechler who chaired a scientific session and spoke on ‘T-regulatory cells in allogeneic transplantation’ . The two named lectures on behalf of ELF (Allogeneic haematopoietic SCT : Don Thomas to date) and LRF ( Cord Cell Transplantation: Hype or Hope) were delivered by Professor John Hansen, from the Fred Hutchinson Research Centre in Seattle (where Don Thomas received his Nobel prize for transplantation biology) and Professor Vanderson Rocha from Paris.

Following an introduction to the centre by Professor Mufti and an overview of current activity by Dr Antonio Pagliuca, the Transplant Director, further talks on transplantation were given by Professor Farzin Farzaneh, King’s College London and Ronjon Chakraverty from University College London. Eric So from Institute of Cancer Research spoke on the ‘Biology of AML Stem Cells. Professor Hermann Einsele from Wuerzburg, Germany spoke on post transplant immunotherapy.

The latter part of the afternoon was given to an open programme from the King’s team on diseases that are treated with transplantation and finally a session on patient experience and expectation, where patients were able to describe their experiences of transplantation.

Katie Brown wins Susan Tucker Memorial Prize

Posted: 23 July 2008

Congratulations to Katie Brown who has won the 2008 Susan Tucker Memorial Prize. Katie will receive £500 to spend on books, journals or CD ROMs.

Katie is currently working for the Transplant theme of the BRC conducting research prediction of long-term renal transplant outcome based on genetic polymorphism analysis of complement system genes. Her future work will be studying whether therapy given to prevent kidney transplant rejection can be individualised according to risk.

The Susan Tucker Memorial Prize is given to non-medically qualified candidates who are engaged in research under a Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity grant or through the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Dr Susan Tucker lost her life in a climbing accident at the age of 26. She had spent seven years working at St Thomas’ and her studies formed the basis of extensive research into renal damage in transplantation, hypertension and pregnancy. She was awarded her PhD only a few weeks before her death. The Susan Tucker prize was established by her family and friends at St Thomas’ in the late 1970s to commemorate her name.

Double whammy – Fellowship Award success for MRC Centre staff

Posted: 23 July 2008

Congratulations go to Dr Kerem Atalar and Dr Sarah De Freitas for their recent successes.

Kerem Atalar, of Graham Lord’s laboratories based at Guy’s campus, has won an MRC Clinical Fellowship which will commence in autumn this year. His work will focus on the expression of different microRNAs in T cell subsets.

Sarah De Freitas, a clinical research fellow at the MRC Centre for Transplantation and the Imaging Sciences department, has won a British Transplantation Society Fellowship. She plans to research the detection of kidney transplant rejection using scans and is currently working on this area with supervisors Professor Steven Sacks, Dr Greg Mullen and Dr Richard Smith.

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