Wednesday 25 March 2015

Featuring Nishanthi Thalayasingam and Peripheral Blood B Cells in Early Arthritis





ICM Research Seminar

Speakers:  Luke Richardson, PhD student (Laura Yates)


Nishanthi Thalayasingam, PhD Student (Arthur Pratt)


Venue: Seminar room L2.5, Second floor, Leech Building, Medical School

Date and time:  25th March 2015, 12:30


Luke Richardson will discuss:


"Spontaneous abortion risk in women using antidepressants during pregnancy"


Published estimates have suggested that approximately 10% of women will experience symptoms of depression during pregnancy, and the severity of these symptoms may on occasion justify gestational antidepressant use. Using routinely collected UK surveillance data and robust statistical analysis techniques, this study will analyse the spontaneous abortion rate (fetal loss prior to 24 weeks gestation) experienced following maternal antidepressant use during pregnancy



Nishanthi Thalayasingam will speak on:


"A microarray analysis of peripheral blood B cells from early arthritis patients"


In Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) chronic inflammation leads to irreversible joint damage and so it is vital treatment is commenced promptly to prevent this. There is increasing interest in the role of B cells in the pathogenesis of RA following the effectiveness of selective B cell depletion. The purpose of this project is to identify potential diagnostic biomarkers for RA by comparing the gene expression profiles of B cells from newly diagnosed RA patients to that of patients diagnosed with other types of arthritis.



Chair:  Marco Silipo




Monday 23 March 2015

Dr Herik Mei will present ''Human B cell biology”


ICM Seminar


Speaker: Dr Henrik Mei, Human Immune Monitoring Centre (HIMC), Stanford University School of Medicine


Venue: Baddiley-Clark Seminar Room, Medical School

Date and time: Thursday 26th March, 1 pm


Dr Henrik Mei will present:


"The regulation of human plasma cell homeostasis and how mass cytometry (CyTOF) can help to better understand human B cell biology"


Chair: Dr Muzlifah Haniffa, Human Dendritic Cell Laboratory, ICM


A light buffet lunch will be available from 12.30 pm onwards in the Baddiley-Clark Room for anyone who wants to meet Dr Henrik Mei informally before the Seminar.

Thursday 19 March 2015

Implications for modification of chemokine function during inflammation Prof Simi Ali L2.6




PI Seminar Series



Speaker: Professor Simi Ali

Venue: L2.6 2nd Floor William Leech

Date and Time: 19th March 2015 at 1300


Professor Simi Ali will present:


"Implications for modification of chemokine function during inflammation".




Chair: Professor Nick Reynolds





Friday 13 March 2015

Osteoarthritis and Matriptase Inhibitors

Osteoarthritis (OA) is caused by loss of joint cartilage.  
The big question is "Can we prevent that cartilage loss?"

  • Why is this important?
OA is the most common form of arthritis.  It affects around 8m people in the UK alone.
It is characterized by pain and reduced mobility often resulting in knee or hip replacement.
OA creates a huge health economic burden on society

  • What are the aims of this research?
OA is caused by loss of joint cartilage.  Cartilage is lost when abnormal 'wear and tear' on a joint stimulates the production of an enzyme called MMP1.  MMP1 causes the breakdown of collagen resulting in cartilage loss. 
Our goal? 
To block MMP1, inhibiting collagen break down, preserving the cartilage.

  • What does this research involve?
First of all we worked out the molecular structure of MMP1.  
Then we screened thousands of molecules to identify one that would prevent MMP1 breaking down collagen.
These candidates had to be extremely effective (or 'potent').  Also, they must interfere specifically with MMP1 for collagen and not other matriptase inhibitors (MMPs).  They must be 'highly specific' - otherwise they interfere with other normal processes leading to side effects.
The best candidate drug we have found is called NEW1066.  
It has now been tested in test-tubes ('in vitro') and shown to be both potent and specific.
And it has been tested in mice and shown to be highly effective in preventing cartilage loss.
We now want to test NEW1066 in humans.  Currently our research is directed at ways to deliver this drug effectively to the cartilage in humans prior to the first clinical trials in man. 
  • Want to know more?
Listen to Professor Drew Rowan talking about A Potential New Treatment for Osteoarthritis

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Innovation and Biodesign - 12th March Seminar

Lucille Valentine - Newcastle University Business School and the Faculty of Medical Sciences


Do you have bright idea for a product? Has your research uncovered a fundamental discovery that you are certain can be applied to help many people? Is there a particular healthcare need that you care about personally and would like to – somehow – solve; and roll out to others? There are stages that need to have been gone through to reach a proof of concept. This is a way to generate the story of your concept and the problem that you are solving – for use when talking to business development or investment people, to new partners or team members.


Lucille was one of the founders of, and also teaches on, the new MRes module Medical Technology Innovation, a joint initiative between Newcastle University Business School and Newcastle Biomedicine.


With reference to the methodology which is taught on the module – which is based on Stanford University’s Biodesign methodology – Lucille will illustrate the value of the innovation cycle and where any individual or team could enter it.


DATE:   12th March 2015

TIME:           12.45-2pm

VENUE:  Beehive room 2.21


Monday 9 March 2015

Adrian Falconer on Osteoarthritis and the Mechanical Loading of Chondrocytes




ICM Research Seminar

Speakers:  Victoria Whittle, MD student (Helen Foster)

and Adrian Falconer, PhD Student (Drew Rowan)


Venue: Seminar room L2.5, Second floor, Leech Building, Medical School

Date and time:  11th March, 12:30


Victoria Whittle will present:


"Preparing Medical Students for Acute Care Practice"


Despite recent changes in the undergraduate curriculum, newly graduating doctors still report feeling underprepared in dealing with acute care situations.

This MD study explores how undergraduate experiences of acute care situations (real and simulated) influence preparedness in new graduates.


Key words: Medical Education, Acute Care, Simulation


Adrian Falconer will speak on:


"The Mechanical Loading of Chondrocytes"


I have developed a method by which to explore the effect of the mechanical loading of chondrocytes in 3D culture using a BioPress system. Using this method, I have attempted to explore the effect of mechanical loading on the gene and protein expression of genes with relevance to Osteoarthritis.


Keywords: Mechanobiology, Osteoarthritis, Inflammation


Chair:  Leo Gurney






Tuesday 3 March 2015

Professor Robert Pickard ''Finding out the effectiveness of existing treatments through RCTs embedded in routine NHS care (or The Myth of Sisyphus)'' Today at 1300 Lecture Theatre D, Dental School













PI Seminar Series


Speaker: Professor Robert Pickard

Venue: Lecture Theatre D, Dental School

Date and Time: Tuesday 3rd March 1300-1400


Professor Pickard will present:

‘’ Finding out the effectiveness of existing treatments through RCTs embedded in routine NHS care (or The Myth of Sisyphus)’’





Much publically funded research is quite rightly concerned with finding new knowledge, new treatments and new ways to manage people’s ill health. However back in 1993 the re-launched NHS R & D Programme decided to allocate the largest slice of its funding to the health technology assessment (HTA) strand which aimed to assess whether treatments already introduced into the NHS following establishment of efficacy (they appeared to work) were actually effective (they resulted in long term health gain at acceptable cost).


It is known that the easiest trials to do are ones involving a treatment for cancer that is not routinely available in the NHS; so how does one fare doing trials involving people with benign conditions and comparing two competing but readily available NHS treatments? During my talk I hope to share with you the joy and despair of running multi-centres pragmatic RCTs.



Chair: Professor Jim Shaw