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April 2019
Newsletter Archive
Staff Information
Health & Wellbeing

Microbiome@Imperial network: A new college-wide Network of Excellence, Microbiome@Imperial has recently been founded.

The network aims to foster interdisciplinary research and knowledge exchange across the college Faculties, bringing together existing researchers with any interest in the microbiome, from clinical to agricultural. It is led by Prof Marc Emmanuel-Dumas (Medicine), with co-Directors Dr Thomas Bell (Natural Sciences), Prof Miriam Moffatt and Dr Michael Cox (NHLI), and Prof Julian Marchesi (Medicine).

The Network will be formally launched at an event on the 9th May and is intended to be as inclusive as possible. To register your interest please contact

Find out more

Three researchers from Imperial College London have been awarded prestigious and highly competitive Human Frontier Science Program Grants.

Research into bony lizard tissues, the evolution of shared behaviours in animals and the physics of cell membranes have all won funding.

The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) is an international programme of research support, funding research on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. Research is funded at all levels of biological complexity from biomolecules to the interactions between organisms. 

Dr Arkhat Abzhanov’s project is a collaborative effort to understand the nature of osteoderms: hard, calcified tissues that form within the skin of some animals such as crocodiles, armadillos, turtles and many lizards. The main functions of these structures are to form protective armour against external predators and to aid movement.

Find out more

Research Associate
Dr Emma Cavan (Dr Samraat Pawar), Dr Alex Sandoval (Dr Matteo Fumagalli)

Research Assistant
Mr Luis Ayala (Prof Mike Sternberg), Ms Giulia Miracca (Prof Nick Franks), Mr Ian Y (Dr Partik Jones)

Research Technician
Miss Maddalena Salvalaio (Dr Giovanni Sena), Ms Eleonora Moratto (Dr Tolga Bozkurt)

Ms Queen Oyomokhua Ilebode

Data Manager
Miss Michelle Harrison

Database Developer
Dr Andy Aldersley

Sir Ernst Chain honored with Plaque from the Association of Jewish Refuges
A new plaque has been unveiled for Professor Sir Ernst Chain, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist who set up the Department of Biochemistry at Imperial.

The AJR’s plaque scheme honours prominent Jewish émigrés from Nazism who made a significant contribution to their adopted homeland.

The plaque, unveiled by Ernst Chain’s children Judy and Benny Chain, and Trustee of the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) Frank Harding, has been attached to the outside of the Sir Ernst Chain building on the South Kensington campus.

Benny Chain, who is a Professor of Cell & Molecular Biology at University College London, talked about living in the building and his father’s breakthrough in bringing microbiology and organic chemistry together – a practice common in Germany but rare in the UK at the time, but which helped him bring penicillin to the masses.

Click here to read more on this
Prizes, Awards & Funding
DoLS Travel Award winners

Noura Zamzam
(Research Postgraduate, Supervisor: Professor Jasper van Thor )

 Sabrina Slater
(Research Postgraduate, Supervisor: Professor Gadi Frankel)

 Alexandre Leary
(Research Postgraduate, Supervisor: Dr Tolga Bozkurt)

 Stefania Viola
(Research Associate, Supervisor: Professor Bill Rutherford)

 Chiara Pirillo
(Research Postgraduate, Supervisor: Dr Cristina Lo Celso)

Thanks to this years judging panel: Professor Pietro Spanu, Professor Mike Sternberg, Dr Stuart Haslam, Ms Hannah Jones, Dr Roya Haghighat-Khah and the DPS Dr Niki Gounaris

Professor Pietro Spanu has been granted an Alexander von Humboldt Research Award in support of his sabbatical research leave at RWTH Aachen from May 2019 to April 2020. Value: £60K Euros

Professor Steve Matthews has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Collaborative award with Prof Sriskandan (Medicine) and Dr Pease (Medicine). Understanding and exploiting Group A streptococcal anti-chemotactic proteases in vaccines for infection. Value £1.5M

PhD student Sarab Sethi in Professor Rob Ewers' group was awarded a UNESCO NETEXPLO Innovation Forum Award for one of the 10 most outstanding innovations of 2018

Professor Alain Filloux was awarded the MRC grant MR/S02316X/1 entitled ‘The T6SS as a search engine for naturally validated antibacterial targets’. Value: £550k


Professor Steve Matthews:

Miliara X, Tatsuta T, Berry J-L, Rouse SL, Solak K, Chorev DS, Wu D, Robinson CV, Matthews S, Langer T 2019, Structural determinants of lipid specificity within Ups/PRELI lipid transfer proteins, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2041-1723
Berry J-L, Gurung I, Anonsen JH, Spielman I, Harper E, Hall AMJ, Goosens VJ, Raynaud C, Koomey M, Biais N, Matthews S, Pelicic V 2019, Global biochemical and structural analysis of the type IV pilus from the Gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus sanguinis., J Biol Chem doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.006917
Tabib-Salazar A, Mulvenna N, Severinov K, Matthews SJ, Wigneshweraraj Set al., 2019, Xenogeneic Regulation of the Bacterial Transcription Machinery., J Mol Biol

Dr Robert Endres:

S.S. Ding, L.J. Schumacher, A.E. Javer, R.G. Endres, A.E.X. Brown. Shared behavioral mechanisms underlie C. elegans aggregation and swarming. eLife 8: e43318 (2019).       

Dr Endres' group have also launched a website that lets people listen to the Bornean rainforest 24/7 -

Talks and Conferences
Spring FoNS Seminar

Join us for the FoNS seminar to find out more about our research in the natural sciences

Open to all
Date: 16 May 2019
Time: 16:00 - 17:00
Venue: Read Lecture Theatre, Sherfield Building

South Kensington Campus


Dr Geoff Baldwin (reader in Biochemistry, Life Sciences): Engineering within a biological design landscape

Dr Clotilde Cucinotta (EPSRC fellow, Chemistry): Improving the Design of Materials and Electrochemical Devices for Energy and Nanotechnology Using Theory and Modelling

Mr Dan Hdidouan (PhD student, Centre for Environmental Policy): The effect of climate change on icing events and wind power in cold climates

More information coming soon! Check this page for updates.
Sign up:

Dr Matteo Fumagalli gave a public lecture on genes and human evolution in his hometown in Italy as part of an annual series of scientific events aimed at retired people (over 65 years old). More than 200 "students" discovered how we can use genetics to learn our history and how to debunk the concept of genetic races.

Tech News

The first of seven new autoclaves have arrived and were installed in SAF628 just after Easter.  Commissioning starts on 29 April and in service by 3 May.
Phase 2 will be basement SAF enabling works commencing late May 2019 with 3 new autoclaves working by early July.
Phase 3 will be in basement SEC with likely start date of works in late July and commissioning of the final 3 autoclaves in September. 
Once all 7 autoclaves are up and running, existing floor standing autoclaves in SAF will be removed from service.

Professor Alain Filloux and Dr Doryen Bubeck have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of Biology (April 1st 2019) Prof Thomas Meier on the birth of his son, Henrik, who was born on Friday 12th April 2019. 

Leading cultural venues are joining forces to recreate the spirit of the Great Exhibition of 1851 for the 21st century.

Over one weekend this summer, South Kensington’s Exhibition Road will host a celebration of curiosity and discovery, with a new, free festival of art, science and culture.

Running from 28-30 June, the Great Exhibition Road Festival will see the area transformed, with an array of interactive workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, exciting talks and dynamic performances to inspire all ages.

Register for free 

To attend the Festival, please make sure to register for free. Registering is the only way to receive the latest Festival updates, a first-look at the full programme, and exclusive opportunities to book onto popular talks and behind-the-scenes tours.

Silfest 2019

Officially announcing Silfest 2019! 

This year it will be on 03.08.2019 so get it in your calendars.  

For those who don’t know, Silfest is a big campus festival based in the Silwood campus run by the students, where we’ll have outside bands coming in, plenty of acts from campus, as well as lots of food, drink and fun activities.

 Early bird tickets (which will include a t-shirt, a reusable cup and a wristband) and tent pitches (you will buy a space, but will need to bring your own tent stuff) are now on sale, there’s a limited amount of the early bird ones so get them while you can! All welcome from campus and afar.

Equality and diversity at Imperial College - click here.

By completing this course, you will:

  • know what the College is doing to promote equality and diversity and the important part that you play as an employee
  • know what you can do to personally ensure equality and diversity are embedded into your department/area
  • have an understanding of equality legislation
  • know how you can access further information and training

Recruitment and Selection Training
This course provides the basics of what you need to know before you participate in recruiting and selecting staff. It is designed for non-HR people for whom recruitment is a minor, albeit critical, aspect of their role.
Details of the e-Learning course can be found here
You can also apply for 1 day practical session when you have completed the test at the end of the e-Learning course.

HoD Citizenship Awards

Throughout 2019 we will be showcasing staff who were presented with a HoD Citizenship Award at the end of 2018.

For the month of April we have Hannah Jones...

...for her outstanding contributions to PhD culture in Life Sciences