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UOA 12 - Allied Health Professions and Studies

University of Surrey

RA5a: Research environment and esteem

 

RA5a:  RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT AND ESTEEM

 

A.  RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT

 

1.  Overview

During the assessment period there has been substantial development of the biomedical research environment at Surrey in order to achieve the objectives outlined in our 5*-rated RAE 2001 submission.  Of particular note was the merger in 2001 of the School of Biomedical & Life Sciences with the Department of Chemistry to form a new School of Biomedical & Molecular Sciences and in August 2007 an amalgamation with the Postgraduate Medical School and the European Institute of Health & Medical Sciences into a new Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences.  The objective of the latest merger is to build on the successful research performance of the new Faculty's constituent divisions increasing the potential for interdisciplinary research activity across the 'molecules to medicine' continuum.  In addition, a considerable number of strategic staff appointments have been made during the assessment period and there has been continuing development of research groupings to provide critical mass in priority areas.  This has resulted in a significant increase in our biomedical research activity since 2001 and a measurable improvement in the quality of our research outputs:

 

  • overall research income increased from £5million/year to £8.5million/year
  • research income per academic FTE increased by 50%
  • PhD students per academic FTE increased by 40%
  • mean impact factor of RA2 outputs increased from 3.4 to 5.1

 

 

2.  Research Management

For the purposes of academic line management and the delivery of teaching activities, staff in the new Faculty are formally associated with one of six financially-independent, discipline-orientated Divisions.  These are Biochemical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Microbial Sciences, Nutritional Sciences, Health & Social Care and the Postgraduate Medical School (Clinical Sciences).  The Divisions are led by professorial staff with responsibility not only for leadership, management, communication, staff appraisal and career development, but also for promoting interdisciplinary research both within and outside the University.  The Heads of Division contribute to strategic planning through membership of the Faculty Executive Board.

 

The strategic management of research, enterprise and training activities in the Faculty is, in the first instance, the responsibility of the Faculty Research & Enterprise Committee.  This committee is chaired by the Associate Dean (Research and Enterprise) and consists of representatives from the various research constituencies within the Faculty.  An international board of external advisors who report annually to the University advises it.  Strategic plans relating to research direction and trajectory are developed at meetings of the Committee and recommendations on staffing, space, equipment, postgraduate research training, collaborative interactions and research focus are transmitted to the Faculty Executive Board for action.  Thus staff closest to this aspect of the Faculty’s activity discusses all matters relating to research including management and strategy.  Wherever possible, problems are addressed or change is initiated in a 'bottom up' manner in order to engage all staff with the research agenda and to ensure they have involvement with the decision-making process.

 

In order to enhance development of the University's biomedical research activity during the assessment period, and to more clearly define its focus and direction, a number of interdisciplinary cross-cutting research themes were established in 2003 as vehicles for management or research activity, multidisciplinary collaboration, research promotion and staff networking.  The five themes relevant to this submission are:

 

Drug Design, Development & Safety: provides a unifying theme for research which spans the fields of biomolecular chemistry, biopharmaceuticals, toxicology, risk assessment, pharmacology, psychopharmacology and clinical trials.

 

Infection & Immunity: encompasses collaborative molecular and cellular research in microbiology, virology, immunology, and microbial physiology as applied to infectious disease in animals and man.

 

Multifactorial Complex Disease: promotes basic, clinical and translational research activity to define the factors involved in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer.

 

Neuroscience: enables an interdisciplinary approach to research on pain, addiction, developmental neurobiology, cognition, sleep and biological rhythms.

 

Systems Biology: ensures an interaction between staff using global analysis technologies across the research spectrum from microbial pathway mapping to tumour marker identification.

 

The consolidation of biomedical research at Surrey into interdisciplinary themes, rather than discipline-orientated research groups, was a deliberate strategy which enabled us to refocus our research thrust, match our research activity with national strategic plans/priorities/initiatives, bid to funding agencies with increasing success and promote further collaboration across the University (see sections 5 & 12).

 

 

3.  Research Infrastructure

Our 2001 research strategy, committed us to an expansion of biomedical research activity and to the provision of enhanced facilities and opportunities for high quality research.  This strategy was supported by the University investing in this area as one of the keystones of its research portfolio.  Biomedical science at Surrey now occupies approximately 15,000m2, 8,000m2 devoted to research and since 2001 we have invested £15 million from the JIF, SRIF and Capital Investment funding schemes in the upgrading and re-equipping of existing research facilities.  This has provided new research laboratories for neuroscience, microbiology, nutrition and food science, new functional genomics, proteomics and metabolomics suites, a new bioinformatics suite, additional sleep recording rooms and research beds in our Clinical Research Centre and a new postgraduate teaching/training suite, including a computer laboratory for training/research in dietetic analysis.  Furthermore £0.5m was invested in expanding and refurbishing of our animal facilities to enable increased production, breeding and housing of transgenic mice.

 

In terms of new build, our purpose-designed £11 million academic building for postgraduate medicine co-located with our local NHS partner, the Royal Surrey County Hospital and our Clinical Research Centre, opened in 2006.  This exciting initiative provides a focus for the research activities of colleagues employed on joint contracts with the NHS.  The building has extensive laboratory facilities for research at the clinical interface including a cancer genomics laboratory and the Wolfson Centre for Translational Research.  The Wolfson Centre contains three fully equipped research laboratories including a Mass Spectrometer Unit which houses three gas chromatograph mass spectrometers and two gas chromatograph combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometers for use in human in vivo metabolic studies. 

 

To increase further our engagement with clinical research and expand our phase 1 trials capacity, we have also established a new Clinical Research Centre for interventional studies, including human psychopharmacology, sleep research and clinical trials with healthy volunteers or patients.  In the Centre, facilities include a windowless time cue-isolated twelve-bed ward and twelve state-of-the-art sound attenuated, temperature-controlled sleep recording rooms.  All twenty-four beds have full clinical/sleep-monitoring ability (including digital EEG systems) and computerised test batteries for profiling the CNS effects of medications.

 

Our Core-Technology programme, developed since 2002 supports and funds the new, equipment intensive research technologies and promotes their use in future research projects.  It encompasses functional genomics (microarray printing, genomics, transcriptomics), bioinformatics (data mining, systems biology, pathway modelling, fluxomics), proteomics (2D-PAGE, ICAT, MudPit, MALDI-TOF), metabolomics (GC-MS-MS, GC-MS, LC-MS) and imaging (laser scanning confocal, fluorescence, fluorescence inverted and FRET microscopy, flow cytometry, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, in situ hybridisation).  To sustain this academically-led programme, we appointed graduate Core Technologists at senior experimental officer/research fellow level to ensure that the high-value equipment is maintained and has dedicated support.  The Core Technologists also have responsibility for implementing our strategic plans for continuing investment in the technologies, ensuring techniques are continually updated and providing specialist training for postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers.

 

 

4.  Research Promotion

The vision of the University of Surrey is to develop an ethos and environment in which staff can achieve the highest level of international recognition in research.  This vision is promoted through the University's Research and Enterprise Committee which is chaired by the Pro-Vice Chancellor  (Research & Enterprise).  In addition, the University provides support for research grants/contracts bidding, research management, intellectual property protection and commercial exploitation through its Research and Enterprise Support department.

 

Within the Faculties, research promotion is a further responsibility of each Faculty's Research & Enterprise Committee, which performs this function at a variety of levels, from strategic planning to ensuring that individual staff members are fully engaged in research.  All Faculties have 5-year strategic and financial plans which are updated annually and agreed with the University.  The research element of the plans (deriving initially from the Faculty Research & Enterprise Committee) is scrutinised with regard to the promotion of research activity, with particular focus on funding, capacity, infrastructure, staffing and staff development.   Within the biomedical sciences, the academic divisions meet monthly to discuss strategy/policy/finance in relation to both teaching and research.  In addition a programme of research seminars and workshops organised by the research theme leaders enables staff to monitor/compare research performance as well as update their knowledge.  All research active staff supervise PhD students and Research Council quota studentships are allocated by the Faculty Research & Enterprise Committee to new or junior staff to facilitate rapid establishment of their research activity.  Our current submission includes >90% of the biomedical academic staff in the Faculty.

 

 

5.  Encouragement of Collaborative Research

As indicated above, our cross-cutting research themes have accelerated the development of interdisciplinary research activity, improved research collaboration in biomedical science, and enhanced our capacity to establish multi-disciplinary research teams in response to new ideas or research initiatives. 

 

Within the cross-cutting themes, interdisciplinary research activity is encouraged specifically by staff appointed as theme leaders with a remit to organise seminars, workshops and other networking activities where progress in the field, new technologies and new funding initiatives are exploited in support of new research programmes which maximise the use of our research skills and environment.  Theme leaders are also responsible for ensuring that, where appropriate, a clinical or translational element is included in the planned research and that NHS colleagues are involved.  They contribute to strategic planning and research management through membership of the Faculty Research and Enterprise Committee where the progress of each theme in achieving its research objectives is reviewed regularly.  The Committee is assisted in its assessment of research theme performance and the possible development of new themes by an internal advisory group of senior research professors and the external Faculty Advisory Board.

 

A second approach to the encouragement of collaborative research is the University's seed fund for new initiatives.  Financial support from central resources is matched by Faculty funds to support, for example, the establishment of interdisciplinary research networks (see Section 6) and new research units funded jointly with the NHS, thus enabling increased collaboration with clinicians in the regional NHS Trusts.  Overall, the investment in biomedical research from this source has been around £0.5 million during the assessment period.

 

 

6.  Encouragement of External Research Links

As shown in RA4, our biomedical research has been strongly supported by industry, government agencies and other external research users for many years.  To support these collaborations and to extend into the user community, collaborative research networks in Toxicology, Nutrition & Food Safety, Chronobiology, Sleep Research and Food, Consumer Behaviour & Health have been established.  These networks run their own programmes of research seminars, CPD workshops, site visits and exchanges with a view to maintaining the existing relationships and establishing new research opportunities.

 

In terms of inter-institutional collaboration, much of the work reported in RA2 involves colleagues in other UK universities and research institutes.  Collaboration with academic and industrial partners In Europe has also been expanded by increased participation in multi-partner projects, particularly under EU-FP6, as programme co-ordinators (Clifford, Kitchen) or partners (Carter, Clifford, Gibson, Goldfarb, Green, Howell, Ioannides, McFadden, L. Morgan, N. Plant, Skene, Smith, Stewart).  Other international research partnerships are supported by funding agencies such as IARC (Ioannides) and the WHO (Adams).

 

The University of Surrey has formal links with the University of Kuopio (Finland), Fudan University (China), Kyushu Institute of Technology (Japan) and the Harvard Medical School (USA), institutions that have a similar mission and research profile.  Centrally funded staff and student exchanges take place regularly between the institutions and in the biomedical sciences, joint multidisciplinary research projects in diabetes, sleep physiology, systems biology and molecular toxicology are thriving.  We have recently extended our formal international links to include North Carolina State University, California Institute of Technology and UCLA.

 

 

7.  Mergers, Restructuring, & New Initiatives

A major organisational change in 2001 was the merger of the School of Biomedical & Life Sciences with the Department of Chemistry into a new School of Biomedical & Molecular Sciences.  This provided an exciting opportunity for staff restructuring and enabled the direction of a substantial part of the existing chemistry research activity into areas of previously successful collaboration, particularly biopharmaceuticals, biomaterials, biosensors and biomolecular separation technologies.  New chemistry appointments have included Mulholland (from University of Natal), Cavalli (from University of Southampton) and Stetsenko (from University of Cambridge) all having an international research reputation before their arrival.  These staff are already contributing to the development of new research areas as well as engaging with ongoing biomedical research activities.  The success of this merger, particularly in terms of increased research activity/quality, led directly to further consolidation and ultimately the recent amalgamation to form the new Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences (see section 1).  Research expertise in the new Faculty now covers the spectrum from synthetic chemistry to NHS practice development, thus enabling a greater focus on translational research and end-user engagement.

 

A second major initiative during the assessment period has focused on increasing the use of animal models to ensure that expertise and provision of the 'whole organism' link between our in vitro activities and clinical studies is maintained.  To this end we have invested £0.5 million in refurbishment/expansion of our animal house facilities and created a new lectureship in Integrative Toxicology (Crossey).  This post is currently funded by a RCUK Academic Fellowship (in partnership with the British Pharmacological Society's industrially sponsored Integrative Pharmacology Fund) with a remit to promote the responsible use of animals in biomedical research and develop advanced skills training/outreach activities in the production/use of animal models.

 

Since 2001, there has been increased investment in clinical research capacity at Surrey including an increase in the staff complement in postgraduate medicine.  Relevant to biomedical research, new appointments in oncology (R. Morgan, Pandha from St George's Hospital) and diabetes & endocrinology (Umpleby from Kings College London) have enabled the expansion of collaborative, activity in these fields, a broadening of the research agenda and, in collaboration with the NHS, an increase in patient-orientated activity.

 

Our physical capacity for interdisciplinary clinical research in psychopharmacology, sleep and clinical science as well as Phase 1 clinical trials has been increased by building on the resources and success of our internationally-recognised Human Psychopharmacology Research Unit to develop the Clinical Research Centre (research directors Dijk, Boyle).  This required an increase in the clinical research staff establishment and the development of a robust business plan to ensure continuing financial viability and occupation of the facilities on a sustainable basis.  Since its establishment a year ago, research generating £4 million income has been performed in the Centre.  Recently a formal agreement with the local NHS trusts for further investment will lead to the expansion of its activities to encompass phase II-IV clinical trials.

 

 

8.  Knowledge Transfer, Enterprise & User Interaction

Direct knowledge transfer via research activity is conducted at two levels, firstly via the DTI-supported TCS/KTP schemes (Goldfarb with Reneuron Ltd, Carter, Adams with Leatherhead Food International Ltd leading subsequently to a BBSRC funded LINK scheme) and secondly in the form of industrially funded academic research.  The latter has led to extensive interaction with the UK pharmaceutical industry on a variety of projects in microbiology (McFadden, Smith, Stewart), toxicology (Crossey, Gibson, Goldfarb, Lewis, K. Plant, N. Plant), pharmacology (Hourani, Kitchen), psychopharmacology (Boyle), sleep science (Dijk), chronobiology (Skene), diabetes (Umpleby) and biomarker identification (Gibson, N. Plant, Ferns, R. Morgan, Pandha).  In addition, there has been engagement with government departments such as the Food Standards Agency and Forest Research International in terms of programme management (Gibson, N. Plant, de Vries, Lynch) and academic research (Ioannides, Frost, Griffin, L. Morgan, Millward, Lanham-New, N. Plant, De Leij).

 

Using regional development organisations such as SEEDA, we have promoted research interactions with local SMEs and made successful bids to the DTI Biotechnology Exploitation Platform and Bioincubator Initiatives to develop our intellectual property and search for licensing opportunities in the user community.  More recently, we have become members of the London Technology Network (funded by DTI, EU, HEFCE, SEEDA, LDA), the South East Health Technologies Alliance (funded by SEEDA and DTI) and, the EU-funded BBAS (Bridging Business & Science) GROW project, all of which have knowledge transfer and IP exploitation (particularly in relation to SMEs) as their primary objectives.

 

Regarding enterprise, Faculty members currently operate three spin-out companies: Recombinogen (bio-pharmaceutical discovery), Stockgrand (chronobiology reagents) and Clifmar Associates (immunotechnolgy) all of which fund continuing research activities through sponsorship of postgraduate research students and postdoctoral fellows.  Surrey is a partner with Bath, Bristol and Southampton Universities in the SETsquared Partnership, a DTI-funded enterprise/entrepreneurship collaboration aimed at moving research discoveries into the commercial arena through provision of business advice, financial planning, mentoring and access to seed/venture capital.  Furthermore, since 2001 twenty-five patents have been lodged and we are currently engaged in their commercial exploitation either through the University's seed fund or via external venture capital investment.

 

 

9. Staffing Policy

Over the last ten years, there has been continuing commitment by the University to its strategic plan for the biomedical sciences.  In staffing terms, the objective has been to increase research capacity, improve output quality and ensure continuity in a supportive, sustainable environment.

 

Academic Staff Career Development & Support.  Staff career development is firstly the responsibility of Heads of Divisions and the performance of each staff member is appraised annually at a formal staff development interview.  Heads of Divisions also assist staff in the preparation of bids to the Faculty or the University for earmarked career development financial support, e.g. training courses, travel, conference attendance, sabbatical leave, research secondment and research exploitation.  Recommendations for promotion or for performance-related payments are forwarded annually by Heads of Divisions to the Faculty Executive Board for approval and submission to the appropriate University panels.  Since 2001, ten staff members (Adams, Dijk, Hourani, Howell, Ioannides, Lewis, L. Morgan, Povey, Rayman, Skene) have been promoted to personal professorial chairs and four staff (De Vries, Griffin, Kass, Lanham-New) to readerships.  For all such senior promotions the main criterion is research excellence, particularly in terms of research output and international standing.  In addition, full endorsement by internationally recognised external referees is mandatory.

 

Research Staff Career Development & Support.  The University promotes the principles of the Research Careers Initiative to ensure the career development of all research staff.  Research assistants are guided by principal investigators and Heads of Division, to encourage participation in appropriate career development activities on an equal basis with academic staff.  Staffing levels are under continuous review in the University and a restructuring programme operates to enable the creation of new established posts to ensure retention of experienced research staff.  Research staff are encouraged to apply for academic staff vacancies when these arise.  Since 2001, three members of SBMS research staff (Archer, Boyle, K. Plant) were appointed to academic posts.  Also during this period, a previous appointee from the research staff (N. Plant) was promoted to Senior Lecturer on the basis of continuing, internationally recognised research excellence.

 

Role & Contribution of New Staff Appointments.  The new Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences continues to operate a rolling five-year succession planning and restructuring regime which was established in 1996.  This ensures that the resignation or retirement of established research active staff does not disrupt existing activities and allows increased capacity in new, strategically identified thrust areas.  Staffing plans are updated annually by Heads of Divisions in consultation with the Research & Enterprise Committee and their proposals formulated into the overall Faculty plan for approval by the University.   In addition to the three internal staff appointments listed above, twenty one external appointments of new research-active academic staff were made during the assessment period (Bodman-Smith, Cavalli, Chen, Crossey, Frost, Green, Johnston. Kierzek, Lee, Li, Lovell, Moore, R. Morgan, Mulholland, Oviedo-Orta, Pandha, Robertson, Smith, Stetsenko, Stewart, Umpleby).  Of these, four (Kierzek, Lee, Moore, Mulholland) were recruited from overseas.  Two of the new appointments (Crossey, K. Plant) were made as RCUK Academic Fellows following competitive bids to the Academic Fellowship initiative.  These posts will be converted to centrally-funded established positions at the end of their 5-year funding period.  In RA2 many of these new staff members include recent publications deriving from work at Surrey, confirming the supportive nature of their new research environment.

 

Response to Loss of Research Active Staff.  Sixteen Category A academic staff submitted to the 2001 RAE subsequently retired or left for posts in other institutions.  Of the retirees, five were research leaders who are now Emeritus Professors and have maintained their research activity.  By careful planning and pro-active headhunting we attracted five high-calibre senior scientists (Frost, Mulholland, Pandha, Smith, Umpleby) to the vacant professorial chairs and appointed promising younger candidates (see above) to the other vacancies.  All recruitment during the assessment period was on a research quality basis with particular attention being placed on research complementarity, originality of proposed research focus and the desire to engage in collaborative, multi-disciplinary research activity within the 'molecules to medicine' remit.

 

10.  Research Students

Since 2001, we have focused on increasing the research student number, improving the training process and enhancing the student experience.

 

Studentships.  In our 2001 RAE submission, the mean annual number of research PhD students was 1.25 per FTE academic staff.  Including RA’s registered for PhD’s, this figure has risen in the current submission to 1.76 per FTE, representing a 40% increase in the current PhD cohort.  We have also introduced a new MD programme with a current population of 10 students.  Since our submission includes thirteen early career researchers among the category A staff, who are still in the process of establishing their research careers, the research student number is expected to increase in the near future.

 

There has also been a significant change in the pattern of financial support for studentships.  Whilst research council funded studentships have remained at a steady level, we have increasingly attracted doctoral training awards in specific areas identified by RCUK for capacity building.  In addition, the number of fully-funded studentships from industry and in scholarships from overseas governments has grown.  Overall, the research support income associated with these studentships has increased from £236K annually in the 2001 assessment exercise to £414K currently.

 

Management & Supervision.  All research students are managed at Faculty level and their progress monitored formally by the Faculty's Director of Postgraduate Research Studies who is also responsible for research student administration and quality assurance.  Only established academic staff are permitted to act as sole supervisors, probationary staff being required to recruit a co-supervisor from among more senior colleagues.  The first formal assessment of student progress (written report and viva voce) takes place after twelve months and full-time students are required to complete their PhD (including viva voce) within four years of registration.  All research students report their data regularly at divisional seminars and are encouraged to present their work in oral or poster format at national/international conferences and at our annual Festival of Research.

 

Personal Development.  All research students undergo a programme of formal training in generic biomedical research techniques (including data handling & statistics & ethics) and safe working when they commence and are introduced to the core technologies available to them by the Core Technologists.  They undergo training in specific skills by academic staff, technical staff associated with their laboratory and/or research staff/students delegated to train/mentor them.  In addition, all PhD students must attend the University's Postgraduate Skills Development Programme for training in transferable skills (project management, communication, finance, enterprise, leadership) and maintain a written Personal Development Portfolio.  Opportunities for research students to gain skills in teaching either by demonstrating in undergraduate/MSc practical laboratory classes or by running tutorial sessions are provided.  Students are required to programme all training/teaching activities into their project plans to ensure sufficient time is made available for these activities.  Research student engagement with training activities is reviewed annually during formal progress assessments.

 

Student Feedback.  Apart from direct feedback and communication via their supervisors and/or divisional heads, research students are represented on the Faculty's Postgraduate Liaison Committee.  All issues are open for discussion at meetings of this committee and problems/recommendations are reported to the Faculty's Research & Enterprise Committee for action.  Decisions and actions in relation to research students are formally recorded in this committee's minutes and reported upward to the Faculty Executive Board.  Any issues which relate to University-level governance/support of PhD students is brought to the University's Research & Enterprise Committee for action by the Faculty's Associate Dean (Research & Enterprise) as an ex officio member of this committee.  Thus research students have their voice heard on a regular basis at senior management level and can initiate action to improve their environment/training if necessary.

 

 

11.  Research Income and Capacity Building.

During the assessment period research income has grown from an overall total of around £5 million in 2001 to some £8.5 million in the last full financial year, an increase of around 50% per category A staff FTE.  This substantially exceeds the objective of £7.5 million per year targeted in our 2001 submission and provides a further indication of the high quality of the biomedical research environment at Surrey.  Notable recent successes in attracting major (>£500K) funding programmes, some of which run beyond 2010, include co-ordination of an EU-FP6 programme on the genetics of addiction (£6.3 million) and of a multi-centre Marie-Curie training network on the biomedical and sociological effects of sleep restriction (£1.4 million). Our commitment to developing multidisciplinary approaches to biomedical problems has been recognised by ESRC with a grant of £2.3 million for a study to optimise sleep in the elderly and industry-funded sleep research projects totalling £7 million.  The establishment of bioinformatics and systems biology research within our portfolio has attracted substantial BBSRC support (£1.4 million).  Added to this are five grants totalling £2.5 million from nutrition funding agencies including the Food Standards Agency, industrial and EC funded contracts (£1.3 million) for vaccine research and £0.5 million for new approaches to antibiotic therapy.  Since 2001, approximately 85% of the research funding (including that from industry) was obtained on a competitive basis.  Not included in the RA4 figures is the £26 million spent during the assessment period on infrastructure refurbishment and capacity building.  Of this £15 million has been spent on the refurbishment and expansion of existing facilities and £11 million on the new research-focused building for postgraduate medicine.  The result of this considerable increase in research funding and infrastructure investment has led to an improvement in both research capacity and research quality.  Some detail of the most noteworthy achievements and proposed future directions is provided below.

 

 

12.  Research Achievements & Future Plans

In response to the substantial improvement in the biomedical research environment as detailed above, there has been a measurable increase in research quality and its contribution to scientific progress.  This is evidenced (see section 14) by higher impact factor publications, research funding, interdisciplinary research and national/ international esteem indicators.  To emphasise the substantial improvement in collaborative research across the University during the assessment period, particularly in biomedical science, our research achievements and future plans are presented here under the cross-cutting themes described in section 1.

 

12.1.  Drug Design, Development & Safety

Research has focused on new therapeutic agents and novel approaches to ensuring drug safety.  A variety of in vitro and in vivo approaches are being used including functional genomic analysis and systems biology.

 

Drug Design & Development. A new research area focused on the phytochemistry of African medicinal plants has been established and is already yielding novel drug candidates.  A range of homoisoflavonoids and norlignans has been isolated from Hyacinthaceae sp. and shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.  Pharmacologically active xanthones, stilbenoid glycosides and novel triterpenoids from Guttiferae sp. have also been identified (Mulholland).

New methods for the synthesis and post-synthetic functionalisation of nucleic acids for use in bionanotechnology and as diagnostic/therapeutic tools have been developed and have resulted in the development of novel sequence-specific artificial ribonucleases (Stetsenko).

In two landmark clinical studies (Pandha) we have shown that immunotherapy with killed whole tumour cells or dendritic cells can significantly alter the natural history of human prostate cancer thus making dendritic cell vaccination a possibility for non-specialist cancer units.

Gene therapy approaches to cancer are also showing promise.  We have demonstrated that a S. typhimurium strain harbouring the SPI-2 and aroC genes and another carrying mutations in the sifA- and aroC-genes were efficient mediators of gene transfer in vitro using EGFP as a reporter gene (Pandha).  We have also completed a novel clinical study using a replication-competent herpes virus expressing GMCSF and shown that this approach is safe, results in high-level local expression of GMCSF and produces marked oncolysis (Pandha).

In work on ovarian cancer (Coley), we have show that receptor tyrosine kinase inhibition is effective in chemo-sensitising epidermal growth factor-expressing drug-resistant human ovarian cancer cell lines when used in combination with cytotoxic agents.  Further, human colorectal tumor cells respond to treatment with the anti-epidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibody ICR62 used alone or in combination with an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (Lovell). 

 

Xenobiotic modulation of drug metabolising enzymes.  We have developed novel in vitro systems to elucidate the regulation of genes coding for cytochrome P450s and investigated the molecular mechanisms of transcriptional induction by xenobiotics (Gibson, N. Plant, Goldfarb, Ioannides).  In studies on the key drug metabolising enzyme, CYP3A4, the roles of chromatin structure, transcription factors and nuclear receptors have been defined and the functional significance of inherited mutations in the human CYP3A4 promoter clarified.  An in silico enzyme-substrate molecular modelling study to quantitate structure activity relationships for drug binding and metabolism in the cytochrome P450 enzyme family, has attracted substantial funding from the pharmaceutical industry (Lewis, Lake).  This approach has also been used to examine the structure/function relationships of several drug-responsive nuclear receptors.  As part of an EU-FP6 funded consortium, we are developing a better understanding of how the nuclear receptors are integrated into functional networks and play a role as xeno-sensors in man (Goldfarb, Gibson, N. Plant).

Our studies on xenobiotic-modulation of cytochrome P450 gene expression have been extended to other cell types (K. Plant) and to the xenobiotic-metabolising enzymes of domestic animals (Ioannides).  We have also carried out transcriptomic and phylogenetic analysis of the karyopherins, a family of proteins which play a key role in the intracellular translocation of ligand-bound nuclear receptors and hence in the control of gene expression (K. Plant).

 

Mechanisms of xenobiotic toxicity.  Further analysis of xenobiotic-induced liver growth and its potential to cause hepatocarcinoma, has further elucidated the role of the nuclear receptor interactions (K. Plant, N. Plant, Gibson, Goldfarb).  The central role and molecular basis of inappropriate apoptosis in the hepatotoxic effects of a number of drugs has also been identified (Kass) and using a differential gene expression approach, we have identified novel metabolic pathways involved in valproate-induced hepatotoxicity (Gibson, N. Plant).  We are currently using microarray technology to investigate this in more detail.  Other studies have demonstrated the role of PPAR signalling in the perturbation of testosterone metabolism following lansoprazole-induced testicular toxicity (Gibson).  The molecular basis of sensitivity to anticancer drugs has also been investigated and a novel RNA recognition motif containing protein involved in the cell response to cisplatin in vertebrates has been identified using database screening techniques (Kierzek).  In related studies on mechanisms of genotoxicity and DNA repair, a novel set of genes regulated by the Crt1 transcription factor, an effector of the DNA damage checkpoint pathway has been defined (Kierzek) and novel antimutagenic components identified in both green and black tea (Ioannides, Clifford).  Work on metalloporphyrins involved in detoxication (Cunningham) has focused on their catalytic decomposition. This is particularly important when comparing frequently used model systems to actual enzyme, as catalytic decomposition can influence or even dominate the reaction kinetics.  Synthesis of a range of calixarene derivatives and studies of their thermodynamic complexation in aqueous and non-aqueous media have led to a range of important new compounds able to selectively remove specific cations from solution (Namor).  In studies on multi-element environmental contamination we have shown that ion exchange using these novel materials can successfully remove a significant part of such contamination (Namor).

 

Future work in this field will focus on further target identification and the development of new, safe therapeutic molecules.

 

 

12.2.  Infection and Immunity

Our Infection and Immunity research employs a functional genomics/systems biology approach and is focused on important pathogens of man and animals with the ultimate aim of developing novel control strategies.

 

Host/pathogen interactions. In our research on M. tuberculosis, the genome-scale metabolic model of the bacillus is being used to identify novel drug targets (McFadden, Stewart, Bushell, Avignone-Rossa, Kierzek) complementing groundbreaking functional genomics studies aimed at identifying bacterial virulence genes and interactions between the bacterium and the host immune system.  One example is the identification of a deletion defining a common Asian lineage of M. tuberculosis associated with immune subversion (Stewart).  The role of stress-responsive and heat-shock proteins in M. tuberculosis pathogenicity have also been identified. (Stewart).  Work on Meningococcus (McFadden) is developing a comprehensive functional genomic description of the pathogen to identify novel vaccine components.  A functional genomics approach is also being used to examine the interaction between Campylobacter jejuni and the human immune system (Park) and has demonstrated the role of active oxidative defence in the survival of this pathogen.

The emphasis on host/pathogen interactions also applies to our studies on viral infections.  Work on translational control in calicivirus infections (Roberts) has defined a novel translational strategy and molecular studies on the mechanism of action of internal ribosome entry site elements are now directed at the biotechnological exploitation of these structures in protein expression systems.  We were also the first to describe the induction of apoptosis in calicivirus infection (Carter, Roberts).  Current studies focus on a novel mechanism of caspase-independent apoptosis (Roberts, Kass,) and the mechanisms of apoptosis induced by picornavirus and herpesvirus infection (Carter).

 

Inflammatory responses. Our immunology research has increased our understanding of the regulation of the human inflammatory responses to infection by microbial pathogens.  A potential role for inflammatory responses in the initiation of cardiovascular disease was demonstrated by the finding of enhanced endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis in cholesterol-fed rabbits immunised with BCG, raising serious clinical concern given the routine use of this vaccine in the human population (Ferns, Hourani).  We have also demonstrated that a part of this response is associated with antibodies to Hsp-60 (Ferns, Hourani).  In a related study, the role of gap junction connexin 43-mediated communication in the inflammatory response, particularly in relation to atherogenesis, is being studied (Oviedo-Orta). Inflammatory cytokine modulation following Leishmanii major infection has been investigated and the role of FcgammaR in C-reative protein/immunoglobulin mediated phagocytosis and in the hyperalgesia associated with infection by this organism defined (Bodman-Smith). 

 

Future work will aim to further define host-pathogen interactions and their role in the disease process so that more effective vaccines and drug therapy can be developed.

 

 

12.3.  Multifactorial Complex Disease

Our research has focused on understanding the risk factors associated with diseases of high clinical priority and complex aetiology.

 

Cardiovascular disease.  Using population SNP screening and functional genomics approaches, we have identified specific variants of genes coding for macrophage and thymus-derived chemokines, fibrinogen, and interleukin 6 which contribute to increased cardiovascular risk (Green).  In a complementary study, the contribution of insulin and the related growth factor IGF to the control of vascular function has been quantified using genetically modified mice (Crossey, Li).  The production of vascular endothelium-derived reactive oxygen species, both in physiological redox signalling and pathological conditions has also been examined and the essential role of NADPH oxidase subunit p47 (phox) in generating superoxide has been elucidated (Li).  The role of phox in downstream signalling pathways, the vascular cell cycle and vascular cell death is now being investigated (Li). The role of adenosine in the control of NADPH oxidase activity and how this may contribute to protective cardiovascular effects is a focus of current and future studies (Li, Hourani).

Dietary intervention studies funded by the Food Standards Agency have focused on modification of lipid-mediated cardiovascular risk (Griffin).  The OPTILIP study, designed to optimise dietary n-3:n-6 ratios, was one of the first to demonstrate the favourable effects on lipids and lipoproteins from food-based interventions (Griffin, L. Morgan).  A second major study (RISCK) (Griffin, Frost) is the largest multi-centre UK study to examine the effect of dietary fat and carbohydrate on cardiovascular risk.  Using an epidemiological approach (de Vries, Farmer) we have evaluated hormone replacement therapy as a risk factor in post-menopausal women and shown that the increased risk of myocardial infarction varies with treatment regime.  Our current postprandial substrate metabolism studies (D. Robertson) complement these investigations.

 

Diabetes and Obesity.  In a lifestyle intervention study we have shown that dietary resistant starch (D. Robertson) or exercise (Umpleby) enhances insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue.  In patients carrying hepatocyte nuclear factor polymorphisms, we have shown that an HNF-1β mutation leads to isolated insulin resistance in the liver (Umpleby, Russell-Jones).  In award-winning work, the importance of insulin like growth factor-1 in insulin sensitivity was demonstrated and our work on AKT2 has defined an inherited mutation that results in severe insulin resistance (Umpleby). The ability of new insulin analogues to restore the insulin hepatic-peripheral gradient has been demonstrated (Russell-Jones).

Building on previous studies of postprandial lipoprotein metabolism (D. Robertson), we have defined the factors contributing to the postprandial hypertriglyceridaemia associated with Type 2 diabetes (Umpleby).  We have also shown that the increased VLDL secretion found in type 2 diabetes can be significantly reduced using a defined exercise programme (Umpleby).  The insulin resistance and lipoprotein abnormalities observed in HIV patients treated with retrovirals has also been investigated and shown to be due to reduced clearance of VLDL, IDL and LDL (Umpleby).  Award-winning work (D. Robertson) on the role of the colon in insulin sensitivity and obesity has shown the influence of colonic fermentation.  We have also shown that dietary polyphenols have potential benefits for improving insulin sensitivity, inhibiting intestinal glucose transport in vitro, and glucose tolerance in vivo (Clifford, L. Morgan). 

In studies on appetite suppression, we have shown that the gut hormone 'peptide YY' is effective in inhibiting food intake in obese subjects (Frost, L. Morgan).  Moreover, oxyntomodulin and GLP-1 represent a potential therapy for obesity (Frost, L. Morgan) and ghrelin has been identified as the first hormone to stimulate appetite and food intake in humans (Frost).  A large Surrey-led multicentre randomised control trial comparing four commercial weight loss programmes in the UK demonstrated that commercial weight loss programmes were all equally effective at helping patients with uncomplicated obesity (L. Morgan, Millward). 

 

Nutrient requirements for human health.  Award-winning work (Lanham-New) on the pathogenesis of osteoporosis has demonstrated key nutrient-gene interactions as determinants of dietary responsiveness in bone disease.  We have also demonstrated the efficacy of vitamin K in fracture prevention and the beneficial effect of high-impact exercise in achieving peak bone mass in adolescent females (Lanham-New).  Complementary work on the aetiology of scoliosis (Lee) has highlighted the importance of accurate bone mass assessment and adequate calcium intake.  Studies on selenium (Rayman) have established a link between low selenium status and pre-eclampsia and demonstrated anti-carcinogenic precursors in selenium supplements. 

Stable isotope studies have helped define metabolic demands for protein and have redefined lysine requirement and the utilisation of wheat protein (Millward).  Together with the calculation of protein/energy ratios this has major public health implications for defining protein requirements in developing and developed populations (Millward).  The use of stable-isotope labelled vitamin E has enabled determination of vitamin E status in health and disease, and comparative bioavailability studies have aided understanding of differences between natural and synthetic vitamin E, with important implications for the industrial manufacture of vitamin E (Lodge). 

The successful use of natural antioxidants to reduce changes in protein structure caused by oxidised polyunsaturated lipids and hence improve the quality, texture and safety of foods has been demonstrated. (Howell).  We have also made a significant contribution to understanding factors influencing the survival and transmission of food-borne pathogens (Adams, Park), investigated the hazards posed by fermented foods (Adams), and provided new insights into the antibacterial action of plant phenolics (Adams, Clifford).

 

The objective of our future work in this area is to continue to identify risk factors affecting development of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease and to provide new approaches to their prevention/treatment.

 

 

12.4.  Neuroscience

Our work has focused on in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the basic biology of addiction, pain, biological rhythms and sleep in the context of their role in human health and disease.

 

Neuropharmacology.  We are the lead co-ordinating partner of an EU-funded (£6.3 million) research programme studying the genetics of drug addiction (Kitchen).  Our work on gene knockout mice has defined the opioid receptor targets for endogenous opioid peptides as well as demonstrating a key role for the adenosine A2A receptor in both opioid addiction and in opioid analgesia (Kitchen, Hourani).  Our experimental approaches to the neuropharmacology of addiction have been enhanced by the addition of electrophysiology expertise (Chen) and we are now studying the modulation of dopamine cell firing in brain reward circuits by GABAB and nicotinic receptors.  We have established microdialysis technology in freely-moving genetically-modified mice and are currently using this to correlate addiction phenotypes with altered dopamine neurochemistry in these circuits (Kitchen, Hourani).  A key role for the protachykinin gene in regulating opioid analgesia via modulation of cell surface receptor expression has been demonstrated (Kitchen).

Our long-established translational research in the field of cognitive impairment by alcohol and drugs has recently been advanced by our development of a hand-held device for psychometric assessment (Boyle, Hindmarch) that provides a major forensic and medico-legal advance for roadside or workplace quantitation of the side-effects of sedatives, antidepressants and antihistamines.

 

Sleep and chronobiology. We have a long-standing international reputation in sleep and circadian rhythm research in humans (Arendt, Dijk, Skene). Our characterisation of circadian rhythm disorders in the blind and in shift workers has been important for the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions with melatonin or light (Arendt, Skene).  We have demonstrated alterations in postprandial hormone and metabolite levels in shift-workers (Arendt, L. Morgan) which helps explain their increased susceptibility to cardiovascular disease.  Optimisation of light and melatonin as treatments for circadian de-synchrony has led to definitions of the wavelengths of light that are most effective in resetting the circadian clock (Arendt, Skene).  Short wavelength light sensitivity has been demonstrated in a number of studies (Skene) and currently the practical application of “blue-enriched light” is being tested in laboratory and field studies in the elderly supported by three EU grants (FP5, Marie Curie RTN, FP6), ESRC (£1.51 million to Skene) and the lighting industry (Dijk, Skene). We have characterised the effects of melatonin on sleep regulation in humans (Dijk, Arendt) and shown that melatonin not only advances the circadian timing of sleep but also directly facilitates sleep. Optimisation of melatonin action and the control of melatonin receptor expression is a complementary focus of our work (Johnston, Skene).  We have shown a key role for gonadotrophin releasing hormone in regulating the melatonin receptor in the developing pituitary and our studies on the regulation of circadian oscillators have major implications for reproductive control in seasonal breeding animals (Johnston).

We have now identified polymorphisms in the human 'clock' genes that affect preferred sleep-wake timing in humans (Archer, von Schantz).   In the new sleep laboratories of the Clinical Research Centre we have discovered that a polymorphism in the hper3 gene is a major determinant of individual differences in sleep structure and the cognitive impairment associated with sleep loss (Dijk, Archer, Skene, von Schantz). These studies complement our work on the control of sleep and the interaction of the circadian clock with homeostatic sleep drivers (total funding £4 million to Dijk).  Using our clinical research facilities we have also assessed a number of novel sleep-enhancing drugs in terms of sleep structure, sleep quality and their effects on waking performance (Dijk, Boyle). 

 

Research in neuroscience at Surrey has expanded substantially during the assessment period.  Our future plans focus on consolidating our areas of strength and translating our new knowledge into novel therapies.

 

 

12.5.  Systems Biology

Through our representation on national policy/planning committees and our investment in new core technology units for DNA microarray production, transcriptomics, proteomics and bioinformatics, Surrey has played a significant role in the development of systems biology in the UK.

 

Microbial metabolic networks.  A major focus in our laboratories during the assessment period has been the translation of microbial genome sequencing and transcriptional analysis into genome-scale metabolic networks (in silico cells) using homogeneous steady state microbial cultures (Bushell, Avignone-Rossa, McFadden).  This work is currently supported by grants totalling £4 million.  The transcriptomic analysis of antibiotic-producing Streptomyces model species, with a specific aim of re-engineering antibiotic producing pathways (Smith), has been greatly enhanced both at Surrey and in the global research community by the production of genome-scale microarrays in our functional genomics laboratory (Smith).  This facility is funded by a £3 million grant from the BBSRC IGF initiative, EU FP6 & industry.  We have also established an interdisciplinary programme with physicists and chemists to develop new microarray technologies and extend our functional genomics base (Smith).  The systems biology approach has now been applied for the first time to the development of in silico cell models for process design (Bushell, Avignone-Rossa, Kierzek) and has led to the first genome scale metabolic network for M. tuberculosis (McFadden, Stewart, Bushell, Avignone-Rossa).  Using a similar approach, a molecular inventory for M. bovis BCG at two growth rates has provided strong evidence for growth rate-mediated regulation of ribosome biosynthesis and lipid metabolism (McFadden, Bushell, Dale, Avignone-Rossa,).  We have also demonstrated the role of the meningococcal PhoPQ, a magnesium-sensing two-component regulatory system in the control of genes involved in remodeling the meningococcal cell surface (McFadden).  Our in silico studies have benefited from novel bioinformatics work (Kierzek) which has enabled a new study (BBSRC, £700 K) employing a ChIP-on-chip approach to add transcriptional control functions to the network-based simulation capacity already in place.

 

Human regulatory networks.  Systems biology approaches involving genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analysis are also being used to investigate disease processes in man and define new diagnostic/therapeutic avenues.  We have identified novel biomarkers for human hepatocellular carcinoma (Smith) and recently initiated DNA microarray and proteomic work on biomarkers for human prostate cancer (Smith, Pandha).  Identification of Hoxb as a novel biomarker in prostate cancer (R. Morgan) is now directing the investigation towards the role of Hoxb-mediated regulatory pathways in the genesis of this disease.  A systems biology approach is also being developed to define the relationship between calcium-mediated MAP-kinase signalling pathways and cellular proliferation in human pancreatic cancer (R. Morgan, Pandha). Award-winning work on the systems biology of human nuclear receptor functional networks as applied to the regulation of drug metabolism (N. Plant, Gibson, Goldfarb) is being extended to age-related disease as part of an EU-FP6 project and the role of epigenetics in defining patterns of gene expression.  In a complementary microarray-based study (Frost), nutrient-gene interactions are being examined with a view to elucidating the nuclear receptor networks activated by dietary components and their relation to metabolic disease.

 

We will continue to extend our multi-disciplinary systems biology approaches to other aspects of our biomedical studies not only in terms of  transcriptomic/proteomic profiling of cellular activity but also to mathematical modelling of metabolic pathways and defining the signalling processes involved in initiating phenotypic change.

 

 

13.  Research Strategy

The University of Surrey's mission during the assessment period has been: '..to achieve the highest international standards in all areas of research, both basic and applied.  All research in the University will be directed towards the delivery of imaginative solutions, relevant both to today's society and to the needs of the future.  This will increasingly encompass research which crosses existing boundaries between disciplines and organisations.' In biomedical science, the University's strategy has focused on the establishment of collaborative, interdisciplinary research activity across the campus and the formation of strong links with the regional NHS Trusts, including expansion of the Postgraduate Medical School to provide additional opportunities for interaction between scientists and clinicians.

 

The mission of the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences in relation to biomedical sciences is: '...to protect health, food and the environment through excellence in teaching, training and research' and '…to promote health-related research and education and encourage collaborative research between medical researchers from other disciplines, clinicians and NHS colleagues'.  Foremost in the plan to achieve this mission are the issues of research quality, quantity, continuity and sustainability.  The relevance of our research to national priorities as defined by OST, DOH, RCUK and the health charities are kept under continual review by the Faculty Research & Enterprise Committee, in consultation with external advisors.  Over the next 5 years, there will be further expansion of biomedical, medical and health research, education and training at Surrey to ensure continuity of strategic investment and provide further opportunities for research interaction with the NHS.

 

 

14.  Self Assessment

Performance Against Targets in the RAE 2001 Submission.  A primary objective outlined in the 2001 strategic plan was to increase interdisciplinary research activity, particularly at the biomedical-clinical interface.  A second objective was to extend research to the complete 'molecules to medicine' continuum.  The mergers and amalgamations which have taken place during the assessment period combined with the re-focusing of biomedical research activity into cross-cutting themes has enabled those objectives to be achieved.  In addition, the recruitment of quality staff, including the thirteen early career researchers identified in RA1, has enhanced our research base.  This reorganisation and refocusing has also ensured that our research is being pursued ever more vigorously.

 

Another issue identified in the 2001 submission was the need to ensure that expertise in novel animal models was maintained at Surrey.  This was addressed by the appointment of five new high-calibre staff (Chen, Crossey, Johnston, Li, Oviedo-Orta) whose research uses animal experimentation.  These staff are now leading a significant expansion in animal model studies and the production of new transgenic strains for use in systems biology approaches.

 

The continuity of core technology provision and the requirement in biomedical research for increasingly sophisticated and expensive equipment was also highlighted in 2001.  The introduction of a programme to develop specialist Core Technologists to maintain the equipment and to train new users has resulted in a greater utilisation of new technology and increased our capacity to undertake cutting-edge investigation evidenced by the award of larger grants for more ambitious programmes.

 

Improvement in Research Quality.  The current assessment period has seen an improvement in our research output as evidenced by increasing publication in high impact factor journals.  All category A staff have submitted four peer-reviewed journal publications in RA2 (including our thirteen early career researchers) with a mean impact factor of 5.1 as compared to 3.4 in the 2001 submission.  The increase in the 'last full year' research income on an FTE basis from £80K for 1999-2000 to £138K per FTE currently is a further indication of improved research quality as staff have bid with increasing success to the funding agencies.  While the overall success rate for competitive bids has risen to around 40%, a number of staff are now achieving substantially higher rates as their reputation for high quality research delivery has increased.  Indeed, for EU-FP6 bids the success rate was 80%.  We attribute this directly to the continuing investment in biomedical research at Surrey and the resulting enhancement in the vitality of our research environment.

 

Building a Sustainable Environment.  A key target since 2001 has been not just to increase research activity/capacity but also to ensure continuity/sustainability.  This we have attempted to achieve both by succession planning for key senior staff and by a commitment to academic staff promotion.  We have also invested heavily in our research infrastructure to provide a high quality environment and hence ensure retention of staff as their careers develop.  In addition, we have engaged all staff actively in the research planning/management process with the objective of ensuring they take direct responsibility for the development of biomedical research at Surrey and remain stakeholders in its continuing success.  The international peer recognition of our staff (see below) and their continuing contribution to research on the world stage confirms Surrey's continuing position as an international centre of excellence in biomedical science.

 

 

B. INDICATORS OF ESTEEM

 

 

1.  International & National awards or prizes  During the assessment period senior staff have received honorary degrees and awards, including elected fellowship status of several learned societies.  In addition a number of younger staff have received recognition for their scientific promise.

IUPAC Fellow; 'Doctor Honoris Causa’ Universidad Catolica Santa Maria, Peru (Danil de Namor). Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (de Vries, Westood).  DSc (Ferns, Lake, Lewis). Elected Fellow of the British Toxicology Society (Gibson, Goldfarb).  Young Investigator Award; XIV International Symposium on Drugs Affecting Lipid Metabolism New York, USA (Griffin).  Elected Member of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Physicians (UK) (Hindmarch). Elected Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society (Hourani, Kitchen).  French Société de Neuroendocrinologie Prize (Johnston).  DSc, Finland (Kass).  Young Investigator Prize, International Bone and Mineral Society; Nutrition Society Medal (Lanham-New).  International Osteoporosis Foundation Hologic Technology Award; (Lee). American Heart Association Merit Award for Young Investigators (Li).  Wellcome Trust International Prize Travelling Fellowship; Sleep Research Society Young Investigator Award (Lockley).  OBE for services to OECD (Lynch).  Elected Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (L. Morgan).  Rockefeller Residency at Bellagio, Italy (Mulholland).  British Toxicology Society Young Investigator Award (N. Plant).  BBSRC Wain fellowship (Roberts).  Nutrition Society Cuthbertson Award (D. Robertson).  Targa Piazzi prize for contributions to Science (Smith).  International Award; Excellence in Published Clinical Research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Umpleby).  Elected Fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (Westwood).

 

2.  Keynote & Plenary invited lectures  A selection of keynote and plenary presentations to prestigious international conferences is listed below:

UK-China Food Safety Workshop, 2006, China (Adams).  British Sleep Society Annual Meeting, 2005, UK (Archer).  4th International symposium on Cancer Research and Therapy, 2004, Japan (Coley).  Annual Congress of the Society for Medicinal Plant Research, 2003, Germany (Clifford). The Lisardo Lecture, Calorimetry and Thermal Analysis Conference, 2006, Spain (Danil de Namor).  Asian International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology, 2006, China (de Vries).  American Professional Sleep Societies, 2003, USA (Dijk).  Nutrition Society, 2007, UK (Ferns).  International Diabetes Federation, 2007, South Africa (Frost).  British Association of Research Quality Assurance Annual Conference, 2002, UK (Goldfarb).  World Allergy Organisation Congress, 2003, Mumbai (Hindmarch).  American Chemical Society, 2001, USA (Ioannides).  Gordon Research Conference on Pineal Cell Biology, 2004, UK (Johnston).  British Toxicology Society, 2005 (Kass).  International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism, 2006, Australia (Kitchen).  American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, 2006, USA (Lanham-New).  New York Academy of Sciences, Vitamin E and Health, 2004, USA (Lodge). 12th Benelux congress of Zoology. 2005, Netherlands (McFadden).  Makedonian Nutrition Conference, 2004, Greece (Millward). International Congress of Applied Chronobiology and Chronomedicine, 2005, Turkey (L. Morgan).  Eurasian Meeting on Heterocycles in Organic and Combinatorial Chemistry, 2004, Russia (Mulholland).   Joint Meeting of Federation of European Physiological Societies, 2007, Slovakia (Oviedo-Orta).   International Congress on Toxicology, 2001, Australia (N. Plant).  International Symposium on Selenium in Biology and Medicine, 2006, USA (Rayman).  Wageningen Food Summit, 2005, The Netherlands (D. Robertson).  European Association for the Study of Diabetes, 2006, Denmark (Russell-Jones).  Gordon Research Conference on Pineal Cell Biology, 2004, UK (Skene).  International Symposium on the Biology of Actinomycetes, 2003, Australia (Smith).  Oligonucleotide and Peptide Technologies meeting, 2001 Germany; (Stetsenko).  Joint China-UK Forum on the Metabolic Syndrome, 2006, China (Umpleby).  Brazilian Congress of Sleep, 2005, Brazil (von Schantz).

 

3.  Membership of government/industry strategic or advisory committees  During the assessment period many of the submitted staff have been invited to serve as members on advisory, evaluation or expert committees for government and research councils, as well as on consultant advisory boards for the pharmaceutical and food industries.

Research Quality Assessment Review Panel, University of Queensland; SfAM representative on FSA Foodborne Disease Consultative Group (Adams).  NRPB Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation; MRC Advisory Group on shift work and breast cancer (Arendt).  BBSRC Metabolomics Panel (EBS committee); BBSRC Plant and Microbial Sciences committee; BBSRC Technology Development Initiative Panel; International Establishment Panel for Biological Sciences, University of Cyprus (Bushell).  BBSRC Studentships and Fellowships Panel; NERC advisory network, food and environmental virology (Carter).  South African MRC, Review panel: Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology (Dale).  UK Representative to the IUPAC General Assembly; Panel of Evaluators of the International Cooperation Programme of the European Commission (Danil de Namor).  Member, Committee on Toxicity of the FSA; Member, MHRA independent scientific advisory committee (de Vries).  MRC Advisory Board; British Heart Foundation Project Grants Committee; British Nutrition Foundation Task Force on Emerging Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease; International Life Science Institute Workforce on Inflammation in Disease; NICE advisory Committee on Ezetimibe (Ferns).  Member of expert groups: International Life Sciences Institute (Frost, Gibson, Griffin, L. Morgan).  Panel member: Diabetes UK; NICE Type 1 Diabetes guidelines group; DoH/MRC review of diabetes research; Type 2 diabetes guideline committee (Frost).  Advisor to FSA Programme on Risk Assessment; Advisor to FSA Programme on Phytoestrogens (Gibson).  Member: Board of Councillors, International Fibrinogen Research Society (Green)  Advisor to FDS dietary lipid and vascular function workshops; FSA scientific advisor, 2002, 2004, 2006; Consultant member: Swedish Nutrition Council, British Dairy Council (Griffin).  Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Transport Safety; Panel member, Swiss Health Service, MRC, ESRC, Canadian MRC, Mental Health Foundation, College of Surgeons in Ireland, Welsh Development Council, Wellcome Trust, The Scottish Office, Home & Health Dept, The PPP Foundation, Israel Science Foundation (Hindmarch).  Advisory Research Panel, Ministry of Public Education, University and Research, Italy (Kass).  MRC Advisory Panel on Foetal Pain; Panel member, MRC Brain Sciences Initiative and Experimental Medicine panel; RAE sub-panel member, Allied Health Professions and Studies (Kitchen).  British Nutrition Foundation Taskforce on Nutrition and Ageing (Lanham-New)  Reviewing panel, International Atomic Energy Agency, United Nations; Scientific Committee, Danone Institute of The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention; Advisory Committee, Jockey Club Centre for Osteoporosis Care and Control, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Lee).  Uniformed Services University, Exploratory Research Program Committee, USA (Lockley).  Expert Panel of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods; Member, MHRA scientific advisory committee; UK Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment; Member, Validation Management Group for OECD Guidelines; WHO expert group on risk assessment modelling (Lovell).  MRC Medical Advisory Board; Meningitis Trust Medical Research Advisory panel; BBSRC Engineering & Biological Systems Committee; BBRSC CEDFAS Panel; Advisory Panel member, Institute of Ideas (McFadden).  Co-chairman, WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition; International Olympic Committee on Nutrition and Sport; Member of Standing Advisory Committee on Nutrition working party on Human Energy Requirements (Millward).  Member, Prostate Cancer Advisory Group, Department of Health; Renal Studies Group, National Cancer Research Network (Pandha).  DTI Healthcare and Biosciences Panel; Member, Government advisory Committee on Toxicology (N. Plant).  EPSRC Chemistry Panel; RSC/EPSRC Studentships panel (Reddy).  Secretariat and working party, Commission for Assisted Reproduction; Irish Council for Science Technology and Innovation; Expert Group on Future Skills Needs for Ireland (Biotechnology); Irish Health Research Board (W.R. Robertson.).  Smith Institute government think-tank on chronically ill patients (Russell-Jones).  BBSRC Streptomyces functional genomics advisory group; Steering Committee, Wellcome Trust Funded Multi-Collaborative Microbial Pathogen Microarray facility; Infectious Diseases and Microbiology grant review panel for the US National Institutes of Health; BBSRC UK delegation to Korea reviewing microbial genomics (Smith).  Member, Central Institutional Research Board, Cancer Research UK (Thomas).

 

4.  Membership of executive/management committees of professional bodies  Many staff in this submission contribute to the strategic planning and organisation of learned societies, playing key roles in shaping research effort in the biomedical sciences.

Meetings Secretary, Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) (Adams).  Vice President (Europe), The Melatonin Club; Council Member, World Federation of Societies for Chronobiology; Life Member of Council, The European Pineal and Biological Rhythms Society; Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms; Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Expert Group on Human Biology and Medicine; Society for Research on Biological Rhythms (Arendt).  European Federation for Biotechnology bioreactor committee (Bushell).  Member: Committee of University Professors of Food Science and Technology (Clifford, Howell).  Secretary, ORM group, Royal Society of Chemistry (Cunningham).  Vice President, International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (de Vries).  Chairman, Scientific Committee ESRS; Advisory Committee, Society for Research on Biological Rhythms; Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (Belgium) Jury Member for the Interbrew-Baillet Latour Health Prize 2004 (sleep disorders); Member, Executive Committee, British Sleep Society; Program Committee 8th Meeting of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms; Scientific Advisory Committee, Sleep Research Society/Society for Research on Biological Rhythms (Dijk).  President, Lipid in Clinical Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine; Council Member, Royal College of Pathologists; Chair, Association of Clinical Biochemists Scientific Committee for Focus 2006 (Ferns).  Publications Committee, ISSX (Gibson).  Executive Committee, British Toxicology Society; Research Committee, Royal College of Pathologists; Toxicology Advisory Committee, Royal College of Pathologists (Goldfarb).  Co-organiser, XIXth International Fibronogen Workshop, UK; Member, Board of Councillors, International Fibrinogen Research Society (Green).  British Hyperlipidaemia Association Committee (Griffin).  Depression Alliance, Scientific and Research Committee (Hindmarch).  RSC Occupational and Environmental Toxicology group (Hinton).  SE Branch Committee of the IFST (Howell).  Science Committee, Society for Endocrinology; Committee Member, British Society for Neuroendocrinology (Johnston).  British Toxicology Society Science Sub-committee; Executive Committee, In Vitro Toxicology Society (Kass).  President, European Opioid Conference; Executive Committee, International Narcotics Research Conference; British Pharmacological Society, Finance Sub-committee, Chair and host, 2003 BPS meeting; IUPHAR opioid receptor nomenclature sub-committee; Deputy Chair, Executive Committee of UK Committee of Heads of Pharmacology (Kitchen).  British Nutrition Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee; National Osteoporosis Society Nutrition Forum; Honorary Communications Officer of the Nutrition Society (Lanham-New).  President, Hong Kong Nutrition Association; International Union of Nutritional Sciences representative (Lee).  Chair, Association of Professors of Human Nutrition; Presidential Think Tank, Nutrition Society (Millward).  National representative, International Society for the Development of Natural Products (Mulholland).  Chair, UK Drug Metabolism Group; British Toxicology Society Education Sub-Committee; Chair, British Toxicology Society Young Toxicologists Committee (N. Plant).  Society for General Microbiology Virus Group Committee (Roberts).  Register Board, Association of Clinical Biochemists in Ireland (W.R. Robertson).  Committee member, International Association for the study of obesity (D. Robertson).  Secretary-Treasurer, European Biological Rhythms Society; Assistant Secretary, European Sleep Research Society (Skene).  Elected member, scientific sub-committee, European Sleep Research Society (von Schantz).  Committee member, WACE (Ward).  International Association for Inter-professional education and collaborative care; Universities Board for Medical Care Practitioners; Member of Council of the Association for the Study of Medical Education (Westwood).

 

5.  Journal editorships The majority of the staff in the submission have acted in an editorial capacity for journals (including Editors in Chief (Gibson, Hindmarch) and Associate/Deputy Editors (Adams, Arendt, Cunningham, Goldfarb, Hourani, Ioannides, N. Plant,  Umpleby) during the review period.  A selection of the Journals are listed below:

International Journal of Food Science & Technology (Adams).  Marine Ecology Progress Series (Archer).  Journal of Biological Rhythms; Chronobiology International; Biological Rhythm Research; Sleep Online (Arendt).  ASM Journal of Virology; ASM Journal Applied Environmental Microbiology; SfAM Letters in Applied Microbiology; SfAM Journal of Applied Microbiology (Carter).  Food and Agricultural Immunology; Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (Clifford).  British Journal of Cancer (Coley).  RSC Annual report on the Progress of Chemistry (Cunningham).  Journal of Medical Microbiology (Dale).  Sleep; Journal of Sleep Research; Sleep and Biological Rhythms (Dijk).  British Journal of Pharmacology (Ferns).  Journal of Food Science and Technology (Frost). Xenobiotica; Reviews on Drug Metabolism and Drug Interactions; European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics; Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Journal of Biochemical Toxicology; Toxicology Modelling; Drug Metabolism & Disposition (Gibson).  Journal of Applied Toxicology (Goldfarb).  Transplantation; Clincial Science (Green).  Atherosclerosis; British Journal of Nutrition (Griffin).  Human Psychopharmacology; Psychopharmacology; Neuropsychobiology; International Clinical Psychopharmacology; CNS Drugs; Primary Care Psychiatry (Hindmarch).  Pharmacology and Therapeutics; Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (Hourani).  Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (Howell).  Xenobiotica; Environmental Toxicology (Ioannides).  Journal of Neuroendocrinology (Johnston).  Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (Kass).  Osteoporosis Review (Lanham-New).  Nutrition & Dietetics (Lee).  Toxicology in Vitro; Biomarkers (Lovell). Advanced Science Letters (McFadden). Biochemical Journal; British Journal of Nutrition; Nutrition Research Reviews; American Journal of Physiology (Millward).  Journal of Ethnopharmacology; Letters in Organic Chemistry; Planta Medica (Mulholland).  Journal for Applied Microbiology; Letters in Applied Microbiology (Park).  Xenobiotica (K. Plant).  Xenobiotica (N. Plant).  International Society of Trace Element Research in Humans (Rayman).  British Journal of Nutrition (Robertson D).  Chronobiology International (Skene).  Microbiology (Stewart).  Growth hormone and IGF Research (Umpleby).  Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology (Ward).