Cholesterol testing and science team success: News from the College

Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From new evidence against the need to fast before a cholesterol test, to an inspirational speech on what makes a successful science team, here is some quick-read news from across the College.

Cholesterol test? Dig in!

You may not have to skip breakfast before your cholesterol test. Measuring lipid levels in the blood can help to spot those at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke. But the tests have long-required patients to avoid eating up to 12 hours beforehand.

That could be about to change, thanks to an analysis of more than 8000 patients. Researchers, led by the NHLI’s Professor Peter Sever , found that fasting and non-fasting blood tests provided similar results in analysing risk for cardiovascular events.

They believe the findings provide ‘robust evidence’ to support the use of non-fasting blood tests in the clinical, adding that more regular non-fasting tests could even help to better monitor patients and spot when they need to start statins.

Read the full paper in JAMA Internal Medicine: Association of Nonfasting vs Fasting Lipid Levels With Risk of Major Coronary Events in the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial-Lipid Lowering Arm.

Ten years strong

This Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre celebrated its tenth year with a special event at 170 Queens Gate.

The Centre, which reached 10 years old in January, provides a bespoke package of services for postdocs, fellows and clinicians. This includes: courses, workshops and events; one to one appointments; mock interviews; PFDC Reps and Champions; online resources; support and development for fellowship applicants; and resources specifically for fellows and clinicians.

At the anniversary celebration this week, speeches were delivered by Dr Liz Elvidge Head of the PFDC, Louise Lindsay, Head of HR, and Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering, Professor Peter Cawley. This was followed by a BBQ and drinks with colleagues and friends.

Imperial at the London AI Summit

Imperial’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) network will take centre stage at next week’s annual AI Summit.

As the Summit’s exclusive academic partner, Imperial scientists will showcase their latest research in AI, in different applications including mapping and navigation in flying drones, surgical robotics, and management of deadly diseases like sepsis and heart disease. Other exhibits will be on natural language processing, and a gaze-led wheelchair which takes its cues from the user’s eye movements.

Dr Aldo Faisal of the Departments of Computing and Bioengineering will deliver a keynote speech on human-in-the-loop AI, followed by a half-day workshop on the topic, in which Imperial academics and industrial collaborators from Telefonica and Airbus will deliver talks.

Co-organiser Dr Ali Shafti, from the Department of Computing, said: “We are pleased to bring together AI researchers across the different faculties at Imperial, to present their latest research as live demos at the biggest industry event for AI. The Summit promises to be a memorable event.”

The Summit will take place on 12 & 13 June 2019 at ExCel London.

Dr Faisal’s gaze-led wheelchair will be showcased at the AI Summit next week.

What makes a successful science team?

Dr Margaret Heffernan gave Imperial’s 2019 Athena Lecture this week. Introduced by Imperial’s Provost, Professor Ian Walmsley, Dr Heffernan spoke about the balance between competition and collaboration in science and what makes a successful team.

The Athena Lecture was established by the College in 2001 to celebrate the achievements of women in science, engineering, technology and medicine. It is given annually by a distinguished woman who has made outstanding contributions in any of these fields.

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Andrew Youngson
Communications and Public Affairs

Caroline Brogan
Communications and Public Affairs

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