Pathways to Impact Award : Queen Mary Univesity of London

Lead Research Organisation: Queen Mary, University of London
Department Name: English


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.
Description Four projects and a series of communication exercises were funded under this heading:
• Dr Matthew Purver (School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science) and Dr Rosemarie McCabe (School of Medicine and Dentistry) collaborated on a project predicting patient adherence to treatment from consultation transcripts. • Dr Francesca Pugliese (School of Medicine and Dentistry), Dr Fabrizio Smeraldi and Dr Lourdes Agapito (School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science) worked on enhanced 3D- visualization of small vessels in the heart.
• Dr Himadri Gupta (School of Engineering and Materials Science) and Professor Maurice Elphick (School of Biological and Chemical Sciences) explored the properties of the starfish to create novel biomaterials.
• Dr Asa Barber (School of Engineering and Materials Science), Dr Michael Cattell and Dr Simon Rawlinson (School of Medicine and Dentistry) evaluated electrospun nanofibre membranes for bone regeneration.
In addition to projects listed above, we used the funds to deploy a dedicated communications officer who was funded for six months in order to showcase the impact of our research in EPSRC remit areas and to facilitate its dissemination. Her project focused on capturing some of this activity with the aim of sharing it with a wider audience. She worked closely with principle investigators, and in some cases the industry partners too, in order to gain an understanding of the intended economic and societal impacts, see:
Exploitation Route The Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging Centre has expressed interest in participating in the new Centre for Intelligent Sensing that academics in the Vision and Multimedia and Vision groups are currently establishing within EECS. This will strengthen our links and provide a platform for new interdisciplinary collaboration. We have also identified a number of projects where we are hoping to collaborate including the new London Cardiovascular Atlas project. The grant has produced a fully annotated and computer-readable dataset of schizophrenia consultations, annotated with clarification, questioning and topic discussion behaviours.

Membranes made from electrospun nanofibers are potentially excellent for promoting bone growth for next-generation tissue scaffolds. The effectiveness of an electrospun membrane is shown here using high resolution 3D imaging to visualize the interaction between cells and the nanofibers within the membrane. Nanofibers that are aligned in one direction control cell growth at the surface of the membrane whereas random nanofibers cause cell growth into the membrane. Such observations are important and indicate that lateral cell growth at the membrane surface using aligned nanofibers could be used for rapid tissue repair whereas slower but more extensive tissue production is promoted by membranes containing random nanofibers.

There is also the potential for these fibres to be used in Dental Prosthesis including Dentures, maxillo facial appliances to allow drug delivery. Use of nanofibres developed in this project are also useful once aligned to increase the mechanical properties of Dental filling materials and composite resins used to construct Dental inlays, onlays and crown prosthesis.

The aim of this new collaborative project was to develop the starfish (Asterias rubens) body wall as an experimental system for investigating mechanisms of collagenous tissue mutability in echinoderms. Histological studies were performed to characterize the tissue composition and structure of the starfish body wall. In collaboration with Dr. G. Davis (SMD), X-ray microtomography was employed to characterize the 3D structure of the starfish body wall skeleton. In vitro tests were performed to characterize the mechanical properties of the starfish body wall. Lastly, immunocytochemical techniques and transcriptome sequencing was employed to characterize candidate neural signaling systems involved in control of collagenous tissue mutability in starfish and other echinoderms. This pilot study provided the foundations for subsequent funded projects, which are detailed below under "Further Funding". The transcriptome sequencing gave rise to a publication (Semmens et al., 2016) and a paper reporting a multi-technique analysis of the structure and properties of the starfish body wall is in preparation.
Sectors Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description The project itself represents a new collaboration between EECS (Purver) and SMD (McCabe); given the positive initial results this will be pursued further and follow-on funding is being applied for (see below). Presentation of results at the University of Cambridge has led to new contacts in the area both in academia (Prof E Briscoe, Cambridge, medical data anonymisation) and industry (Psychology Online Ltd, text-based psychiatric therapy software); these will be the basis of a new collaboration for follow-on funding (see below). Our enhanced visualisation prototype was showcased at the Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival that took place in Charterhouse Square on 10 July 2012. This public engagement activity allowed us to show the enhanced visualisation of the septal anatomy on CT images to final year secondary school children. Our exhibit was visited by many students who could also listen and visualise their heartbeat signal via the amplification tool designed by Dr. Smeraldi.