National Physical Laboratory

NHS England's Chief Scientific Officer's Knowledge Transfer Partnership 2018 winners

Following a highly-competitive selection process, the successful applicants for the first programme are:

 

Anthony RowbottomAnthony Rowbottom
Royal College of Pathology & Association of Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine

Dr Rowbottom has worked at four major centres gaining wide experience in diagnostic pathology. He has developed expertise and published extensively in diagnostic and clinical immunology and is currently Laboratory Director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals. He has a particular interest in cell functional assays, novel protein assays and the use of artificial intelligence for clinical decision tools. Dr Rowbottom is a Fellow of the RCPath and clinical lead for the STP clinical programme at Manchester University and an advocate for healthcare scientists.

The project

The application of Raman spectroscopy has been shown to provide vital diagnostic information in a wide variety of clinical scenarios including cancer, neurodegenerative disease, anti-microbial resistance, renal disease and immunodeficiency. This project will consider the requirements of method standardisation and accreditation to facilitate wider adoption of this technology to clinical practice. The project will consider challenges for quality assurance and provision of a reference library and guidelines.

What would you like to get out of the KTP and why is it important?

"A key outcome from the programme will be the development of a professional network which will facilitate the early adoption of current and future innovation projects."

 

Fiammetta FedeleFiammetta Fedele
Health and Care Professional Council & Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine

Fiammetta Fedele is a registered clinical scientist and Consultant Medical Physicist working at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, where she is the Head of a team specialising in Non-Ionising Radiation (primarily optics and ultrasound physics) and the R&D Lead for the Directorate of Clinical Imaging and Medical Physics and King's College London School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences.

She has been involved in several multidisciplinary collaborations spanning ultrasound therapy and imaging, respiratory, dermatology and ophthalmology. In the last five years, she has been the Ultrasound Physics Lead in a multidisciplinary team working on a Magnetic Resonance Guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (MRgHIFU) stream, led by Prof Afshin Gangi and Prof Reza Razavi, part of the TOHETI programme. The team is made up of about 15 academic and healthcare professionals working across King's College London, Interventional Radiology and Medical Physics

The project

The project will focus on developing tools and techniques to standardise treatment planning and dosimetry for MRgHIFU. This will include designing 3D printed anthropomorphic tissue mimicking phantoms with embedded sensing and developing new computational tool to estimate head dose distribution.

What would you like to get out of the KTP and why is it important?

Fiammetta now hopes to exploit the KTP collaboration to develop quality assurance and treatment planning techniques that will facilitate the dissemination of the treatment in the UK and internationally: "The CSO KTP is a dream come true to promote nationally new models of NHS professionals working together with the National Measurement System, academic partners and Industry to fast track new technology in the NHS."

 

Geoffrey HeyesGeoffrey Heyes
Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine

Geoff completed a BSc in Physics at the University of Durham, UK, before commencing training as a Medical Physicist in Birmingham in 1999. In 2004, he completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham, studying the health effects of low doses of ionising radiation – specifically examining the biological effectiveness of low energy X-ray radiation, and studying the impact of this work on the UK breast screening programme. After his PhD, Geoff was appointed as a Medical Physicist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. He has over 14 years' experience in stereotactic radiosurgery. Since 2013, Geoff has been the lead Clinical Scientist and Medical Physics Expert for stereotactic radiosurgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, helping to expand the service that now treats about 300 patients per year with the CyberKnife System®. Geoff has published on small field dosimetry, the use of Cerenkov imaging from the CyberKnife System®, as well as clinical results from the 18-year programme of stereotactic radiosurgery in Birmingham.

The project

Geoff's project is to utilise imaging to characterise the very small diameter beams of radiation that are used in radiotherapy. Current methods of measuring radiotherapy beams use calibrated ionisation chambers that have to be placed within the treatment beam. For the small field sizes used in radiosurgery, finding a suitable detector and ensuring its correct positioning can be challenging. Geoff's project seeks to image the radiotherapy beam directly using scintillation. These images could be used to perform checks on the performance of the treatment accelerator without the need for an additional detector. The project also seeks to exploit the phenomenon of Cerenkov radiation to image radiotherapy treatment beams as they exit a patient to measure the delivered dose. Put together, these research areas have the potential to increase the clinical availability of expensive treatment accelerators, and improve the accuracy of our dose calculation techniques.

What would you like to get out of the KTP and why is it important?

"The Knowledge Transfer Partnership provides an amazing opportunity to help spearhead ideas and proof-of-concept experiments into clinical practice. I am really looking forward to forging new collaborative partnerships, in order to bring ideas out of development and into the department. My desire is to improve the measurements we currently make, and ultimately widen patient access to sophisticated radiotherapy treatments."

 

Isabelle DelonIsabelle Delon
Royal College of Pathologist & Association for Clinical Genomic Science

Isabelle Delon is a Clinical Scientist with 10 years' experience in molecular genetics. She trained at Cambridge University Hospitals' Regional Genetics Laboratory, where she obtained HCPC registration and completed the Part 1 examination of the Royal College of Pathologists, before embarking in the first cohort of Higher Scientist Specialist Training (HSST) in Genetics in 2015. Isabelle is in her fourth year of HSST, having completed a postgraduate diploma in Leadership and Management in Healthcare Sciences via Alliance Manchester Business School, and is working towards FRCPath. Prior to working in genomic diagnostic, Isabelle gained a degree, MSc and a PhD in Genetics and Developmental Biology at the University of Toulouse, studying the mechanism of cell shape changes during development and evolution. She came to Cambridge, UK, as an EMBO fellow to work as a postdoctoral research associate at the Gurdon Institute, working on the cellular mechanisms of cell matrix adhesion.

Isabelle's expertise lies in rare disease diagnostics and she works in partnership with the NIHR Bioresource Rare Disease and the University of Cambridge on a translational research project to provide rapid whole genome sequencing in the NHS for children in intensive care – the Next Generation Children project led by Prof Lucy Raymond. She also leads on accreditation requirements, in particular focusing on measurement uncertainty.

The project

The accuracy of genomic clinical laboratory results is essential; results can impact on treatment and surveillance for the patient and wider family. The doubt that exists about the result of any measurement performed as part of a test is called 'measurement uncertainty'. The estimation of measurement uncertainty influences the interpretation and the confidence in a result, and involves the determination of test conditions that may lead to a wrong result. Evaluating measurement uncertainty in genomic tests is challenging and there are currently no models suitable for application in clinical diagnostics. Forming a community of practice with UKAS, LGC and NIBSC, to focus on this, will facilitate knowledge share and contribute to greater understanding of the problems about measurement uncertainty. It will aid model development to inform best practices and drive consistency in genomic testing ahead of the national reorganisation of services into Genomic Laboratory Hubs.

What would you like to get out of the KTP and why is it important?

"The KTP provides an exciting opportunity to advance our knowledge in the field, using industrial, regulatory and healthcare perspectives to define the most important questions and identify solutions. This will greatly benefit the NHS clinical genomics community and will further develop and help build new working relationship with the measurement laboratories partners and UKAS. I very much look forward to the opportunity to be part of this challenge and working across boundaries, and benefit from the King's Fund forward-thinking leadership coaching."

 

Joanne AdawayJoanne Adaway
Royal College of Pathologists

Jo Adaway graduated from UMIST in 2000 with a first-class honours degree in Biochemistry. She then gained a PhD in Proteomics from the University of Manchester before starting training as a Clinical Scientist at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester. She worked at Christie Hospital as a Senior Clinical Scientist for three years before returning to Wythenshawe Hospital in 2009, where she works as a Principal Clinical Scientist with a special interest in mass spectrometry. She became a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2011 and has published many papers in peer-reviewed journals on her work with mass spectrometry.

The project

The aim of this project is to improve standardisation of the diagnosis of primary hyperaldosteronism, a treatable condition which causes up to 10% of cases of hypertension. This will involve developing a reference method for aldosterone which can be used to assign accurate concentrations to test materials which can inform laboratories how well their method for aldosterone is performing, and to calibration material which can be used by laboratories to ensure their assay provides accurate results.

What would you like to get out of the KTP and why is it important?

"I am excited to have the chance to work with the National Measurement Laboratory to learn more about developing reference methods so that I can use this knowledge to improve diagnosis of hyperaldosteronism."

 

John ThorntonJohn Thornton
Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine

Following undergraduate studies in Physics with Electronics in Manchester, John Thornton says he was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to undertake a PhD, also at the University of Manchester, to develop instrumentation to perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an imaging technique then in its infancy. He then spent a decade as an academic postgraduate researcher in Medical Physics at University College London, developing and applying quantitative MRI methods to measure clinically-relevant changes in the brain, primarily to detect and assess brain injury in newborn infants. For the past 15 years John has practiced as an NHS Clinical Scientist providing scientific support to the Neuroradiology Department MRI service at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, first on his own, and now leading a small team of expert Healthcare Scientists. He have maintained an active interest in research to establish new imaging methods to benefit our patients, focused recently on MRI outcome measures to test important new therapies in neuromuscular diseases, and MRI biomarkers to support neuroradiology reporting. With an academic appointment as Reader in the University College London Institute of Neurology, teaching and training also forms a key part of my work.

The project

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is ubiquitous medical imaging technology essential in the management of virtually all neurological conditions. Conventionally, this generates anatomical images which are interpreted by expert radiologists. From the perspective of a Medical Physicist, MRI also has great potential to deliver precision image-based measurements which reflect disease status. While the value of this in principle is well-established, this approach has thus far largely failed to impact upon NHS clinical service. This project will address technological barriers to clinical adoption of MRI biomarkers, with potential to support radiological reporting providing earlier and more precise diagnosis.

What would you like to get out of the KTP and why is it important?

"I am looking forward to collaborating with experts at the National Physical Laboratory to translate best practice in measurement science and standards into quantitative medical imaging applications. Maximising measurement precision and reproducibility will deliver imaging measurements with the most power to benefit patient diagnosis and treatment management. The KTP is an important opportunity for knowledge and experience exchange in both directions between National Measurement System experts and practicing Healthcare Scientists, exchanging value to support innovation in both local projects and through the wider NHS system."

Kathryn HarrisKathryn Harris
Association of Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine (ACB)

Kathryn is Principal Clinical Scientist in the Microbiology Department at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where she has worked since gaining her PhD in 1999. She was one of the Chief Scientific Officer's (CSO) WISE fellows 2016/17.

An expert in molecular diagnostics in Infection Science, she is focused on innovation and translational research, bridging the gap between academic research and the clinical laboratory to bring real benefits in patient care through more rapid and accurate diagnostics. Kathryn's current research interests are focused on complex molecular techniques such as Next Generation Sequencing and data analysis, with particular interest in Mycobacterium abscessus infection in paediatric cystic fibrosis (CF) patients and novel methods for the detection of antimicrobial resistance. She is a partner in the 'AntiMicroResist' consortium funded by EMPIR and the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The project

Kathryn's project, in partnership with LGC, will explore the role of nanopore sequencing in the detection of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in bacteria. This portable device has the potential to produce data in real-time and in close-to-patient settings. Sources of error and bias will be identified and will form the basis of standardised methodology that can be translated into clinical diagnostics.

What would you like to get out of the KTP and why is it important?

"I am delighted to be accepted onto The CSO's Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme. This is a fantastic opportunity that brings together expertise in the National Measurement System and Healthcare Science to produce high-quality, reliable diagnostic tests for the NHS that are based on the most advanced scientific technology."

 

Nicholas HicksonNicholas Hickson
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Nicholas Hickson graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Applied Biology and Biotechnology in 2005 from the University of Ioannina in Greece. He then completed an MRes in Biotechnology at the University of Kent in 2006 and gained a PhD in Human Genetics and a Postgraduate Certificate for Teaching in Higher Education (PCHE) from the University of Sheffield in 2009. Nicholas' interest in human genetics was the reason why he decided to complete the pilot NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) in Genetics at Sheffield Children's Hospital and become a registered (HCPC) Clinical Scientist in 2012, while also acquiring an MSc in Human Genetics. He then moved to the Genomic Diagnostics Laboratory (Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine) at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester, where he worked as a Clinical Scientist in the Cancer Genetics team.

The project

The aim of Nicholas' project is to enable non-invasive genetic testing for lung cancer patients, using DNA which circulates freely in their blood and urine, in order to help personalise their cancer treatment and monitor them for detection of cancer relapse. Ultimately, what he wants to achieve is a genetic test that will contribute towards the detection of lung cancer at an early stage in order to help improve patient survival.

What would you like to get out of the KTP and why is it important?

"The KTP programme will help me realise my ambition to establish a cutting-edge genetic service in the NHS in order to benefit both staff and cancer patients nationwide, while making significant cost savings. Collaborating with experts in the field from the National Measurement System (NMS) will offer me a new perspective, help speed up the delivery of this service to patients and facilitate its implementation at a national scale."

 

Siobhan  BrennanSiobhán Brennan
British Academy of Audiology

Dr Siobhán Brennan is a Lead Clinical Scientist at the Regional Department of Neurotology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Audiology Lecturer at Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness, University of Manchester.

Following a BEng in Music Technology at the University of York, Siobhán gained an MSc in Audiology at the University of Manchester, followed by a PhD in Auditory Electrophysiology from the University of Sheffield. Her career has specialised in auditory electrophysiology and audiological care for individuals with intellectual impairment. In addition to clinical, research and educational roles, she has chaired groups focused on improving practice, including the national Hearing and Learning Disabilities Special Interest Group, and the British Society of Audiology Electrophysiology Special Interest Group, and enjoyed contributing to national guidelines on these topics. She is a member of the European Federation of Audiology Societies Working Group for Intellectual Disability and Audiology.

The project

The initiative will develop clear and specific accreditation criteria (through the IQIPS scheme) which will support clinicians in providing better healthcare to individuals with sensory needs and learning disabilities. This is important because, despite the high prevalence of learning disabilities (approximately 1.5 million people in the UK), healthcare for this group is not currently at the same standard as the rest of the population. The majority of people with learning disabilities have sensory needs, and this can have a significant impact on the individuals themselves, their families and the wide range of services that they encounter. Improved accreditation of healthcare provision for this population can raise standards to ensure better diagnostics, rehabilitation and access.

What would you like to get out of the KTP and why is it important?

"It is very exciting to have won a place on the CSO Knowledge Transfer Programme. The programme facilitates interesting and productive partnerships and it is a wonderful opportunity to implement a proposal that could significantly improve healthcare for individuals with intellectual impairments."

 

 

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