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Department of Life Sciences Newsletter
January 2018
Newsletter Archive
Staff Information
Health & Wellbeing
Chemotherapy for one type of leukaemia could be improved by giving patients a drug currently used to treat an unrelated condition, new research shows. By studying how leukaemia cells infiltrate bone marrow, where blood cells are created, researchers led by Dr Cristina Lo Celso said: “Since the drug is already approved for human use for a different condition, we already know that it is safe. “We still need to test it in the context of leukaemia and chemotherapy, but because it is already in use we can progress to clinical trials much quicker than we could with a brand new drug.” Click here to find out more.
Using detailed 3D images, researchers have shown how bacteria have evolved molecular motors of different powers to optimise their swimming. The team found that the more stator structures the bacterial motor possessed, the larger its turning force, and the stronger the bacterium swam. Despite these differences, DNA sequence analysis shows that the core motors are ancestrally related. This led scientists to question how structure and swimming diversity evolved from the same core design. Dr Morgan Beeby said: “We are used to observing evolution at the scale of animals or plants, such as the giraffe’s neck slowly getting longer over time to reach previously inaccessible food. Click here to find out more.

Welcome to New Staff

Research Assistant
William Garrood (Andrea Crisanti)

Research Associate
Manish Grover (Michalis Barkoulas), Mark Hintze (Michalis Barkoulas), Pinar Ustaoglu (Marc Dionne)


Eisel B, Hartrampf F, Meier T, Trauner D. Reversible Optical Control of F1 Fo -ATP Synthase Using Photoswitchable Inhibitors.FEBS Lett. 2018 Jan 1. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.12958. [Epub ahead of print]
Press Release: Max-Planck Society in Germany

Alexandre Y Leary, Nattapong Sanguankiattichai, Cian Duggan, Yasin Tumtas, Pooja Pandey, Maria E Segretin, Jose Salguero Linares, Zachary D Savage, Rui Jin Yow, Tolga O Bozkurt; Modulation of plant autophagy during pathogen attack, Journal of Experimental Botany, , erx425,
Chaban B, Coleman I, Beeby M. Evolution of higher torque in Campylobacter-type bacterial flagellar motors. Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 8;8(1):97. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-18115-1.

Kopp MC, Nowak PR, Larburu N, Adams CJ, Ali MMU. In vitro FRET analysis of IRE1 and BiP association and dissociation upon endoplasmic reticulum stress. eLife 2018; 7:e30257

Delfim Duarte, Edwin D. Hawkins, Olufolake Akinduro, Heather Ang, Katia De Filippo, Isabella Y. Kong, Myriam Haltalli, Nicola Ruivo, Lenny Straszkowski, Stephin J. Vervoort, Catriona McLean, Tom S. Weber, Reema Khorshed, Chiara Pirillo, Andrew Wei, Saravana K. Ramasamy, Anjali P. Kusumbe, Ken Duffy, Ralf H. Adams, Louise E. Purton, Leo M. Carlin, Cristina Lo Celso. Inhibition of Endosteal Vascular Niche Remodeling Rescues Hematopoietic Stem Cell Loss in AML. Cell Stem Cell. Volume 22, Issue 1. 2018
Prizes and Awards
Steve Cook has been awarded a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

The Amyloid State of Proteins and its Significance in Biology and Medicine

Professor Christopher M Dobson, John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology at the University of Cambridge

Wednesday 21 February 2018

17.00 Lecture, Lecture theatre G16, Sir Alexander Fleming Building

18.00 Reception, Sir Alexander Fleming Building

Register on Eventbrite here

Early registration is advised to avoid disappointment

If you have any questions please get in touch with

DoLS Industrial Advisory Panel

The Department has set up an Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) to support our undergraduate and taught postgraduate degrees.

We envisage the panel acting as a ‘critical friend’ of the department, monitoring the activities and development of the department’s teaching programmes from the perspective of the UK industrial sector, and supporting our students’ awareness of life science and related employment areas.

We are delighted that Malcolm Weir, an alumnus of the department, has agreed to chair a panel of life science graduates, many of whom have links to Imperial and have developed successful careers in a range of employment areas. 

The panel membership is:
Malcolm Weir CHAIR
CEO, Heptares Therapeutics, (DoLS Alumnus).
Duncan Garrood
CEO/Commercial Director, Consumer Goods Sector (DoLS Alumnus).
Markus Gershater
Chief Scientific Officer, SYNTHACE LTD
Richard Arnold
Head of Ecology, Thomson Consulting, (teaches on DoLS Masters)
Amit R. Karna
Executive Director, Global Healthcare Group, Goldman Sachs (Life Sciences Graduate)
Megan Cooper
Prosperity Fund Manager, Foreign Office, (DoLS Alumnus)
Tanya Stezhka
Taylor & Francis Group, Medical Publishing (Life Sciences Graduate)
The IAP met for the first time in early January and started the planning of an Industry Day for our students, which will be run by panel members and will be scheduled in the summer term.
Huw Williams (Director of Undergraduate Studies)
Niki Gounaris (Director of Postgraduate Studies)

7th Annual UK-NK Meeting

Prof. Hugh Brady and Dr. Nadia Guerra organised the 7th annual UK-NK meeting that took place at Imperial College on 5th January. This meeting gathered 90 academics from  several Universities and Institutions Including The Royal Free Hospital, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine,  University of Cambridge, Cardiff, Manchester, Southampton, Warwick, Kent, UCL, Trinity College Dublin and Imperial College London. Beyond the excellent quality of the talk, this event was a great opportunity for academic collaborations and for students to present their work. The event was supported by the British Society of Immunology and sponsored by Miltenyi.

Tech News

Leading health charities, higher education organisations and science campaign groups came together on 4th Deceber to tell government a post-Brexit immigration regime must ensure the UK can continue to recruit highly trained technical staff. Find out more here.

Other News

Cristina Lo Celso's lab are starting an exciting interdisciplinary study funded by the Imperial CRUK Centre Development fund that will see Dina Pospori (postdoc) collaborate with the group led by Mauricio Barahona (Department of Maths) to explore leukaemia heterogeneity and its role in leukaemia growth.

HoD Citizenship Awards
Throughout 2018 we will be showcasing staff who were presented with a HoD Citizenship Award at the end of 2017.
For the month of January we have Karen Logan....

My job title is Snr Project Manager & Network Coordinator for Austin Burt’s Target Malaria project.  I’m based at Silwood Park and joined the team in June 2012 – don’t know where the time has gone.  I’m ever thankful that I have job that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning.... I am lucky enough to be working with an outstanding team – based in 14 institutes on 3 continents – on a project that makes you check your own reality every day and be grateful – developing a new tool for vector control for malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.  I am an immunologist by training who transitioned to project management well over a decade ago, working mainly in the area of bacterial infectious diseases, on vaccine development for both humans and animals.  In my current role I am responsible for delivering the project's objectives as agreed with our funders, on time, to budget and within the agreed scope – it certainly keeps me out of trouble....