Proximity to Discovery 2014 - University of Glasgow

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow


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Technical Summary

The MRC Proximity to Discovery scheme awards universities funds to help develop new collaborations, and ways of exchanging knowledge and skills.  The awards can be used to support activities that promote the value of academic-industry partnership, and enhance academic and industry researchers’ understanding of each other’s needs and capabilities.  This may be through people exchanges, creation of technology demonstrators, showcase events, commercialisation workshops and ‘entrepreneurs in residence’ schemes.  Such exchanges of knowledge and skills will boost the most fruitful collaborations between UK universities and life science companies.


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Description SULSA Hi-Throughput assay development fund.
Amount £3,000 (GBP)
Organisation Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2015 
Description Developing a strategic relationship with GSK in adjuvant evaluation and mechanism of action. - Brewer 
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
Department GSK Biologicals SA
Country Belgium 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Wishing to promote his expertise in vaccine adjuvant mechanism of action, evaluation and discovery, Brewer was seeking collaborations beyond our long-running interactions with pharma in the area of anti-inflammatory biological and small molecule drugs. He saw an opportunity with GSK's recent acquisition of Novartis vaccines; GSK now had a rich adjuvant portfolio. While adjuvant development and screening has been often been considered the poor relation of vaccine technology, they are central to their success and have great commercial potential. They also have huge impact on vaccines for neglected diseases. Brewer felt there was scope for making the systems he had developed available to companies involved in adjuvant discovery and development. Using P2D funding his objective was to gain a much deeper strategic understanding of GSK's present and future needs in this area and explore potential for collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution GSK 2-day visit to Glasgow to allow GSK to evaluate MVLS capability and identify potential collaborative opportunities. GSK also gave guest lecture/adjuvant needs Masterclass entitled "Understanding the mode of action of adjuvant: a perspective from the industry" (40 academics) From GSK's visit to Glasgow tools were identified in the Brewer/Garside lab that could reveal important mechanism of action data on the GSK adjuvant portfolio
Impact Further translational projects are being explored.
Start Year 2016
Description Spatio-phenotypic analysis of tissue resident T cell subsets in clinical kidney transplantation using multispectral imaging 
Organisation Perkin Elmer
Department Cellular Imaging and Analysis
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution A series of engagement activities were conducted focusing on the acquisition and dissemination of the latest knowledge of technology and analytical methods, discussion and assessment of the realistic potential in the clinical and diagnostic use of this technology, and agreement of collaborations leading to future grant application and research output.
Collaborator Contribution PE's agreement in an in-kind contribution of the 6-month licence of InForm v 2.4, (worth approx. US$20k) to the TI's lab at SoMDN, Lab Medicine, QEUH, collaborations initiating the knowledge and sample pipelines, confirmation of feasibility and logistics towards pilot and future larger-scale studies.
Impact • A presentation was made by Dr Coulson at the Molecular Pathology Node Promoting Partnership event, held at ICE, QEUH, on Thu 31/5/18, targeting clinicians and pathologists. • TI and Dr David Coulson have been continuing to update each other's status of PE QPI projects and our interest/needs in immune-oncology field in GU. It was confirmed that PE will launch a new generation of QPI platform, Phenoptics 2.0, in early December 2018, which is targeting the clinical and diagnostic use. • The knowledge in PE Vectra 3.0 followed by "InForm" artificial-intelligence (AI) based digital pathology analysis was sought in Human Immune Monitoring Core (HIMC) in Columbia University, New York, through TI's two visits in April and August 2018. TI acquired of the knowledge of the latest platform, logistics and know-hows of HIMC as a service provider, and obtained the training for the use of this platform and InForm analysis. • Training was also provided to a PhD student, Miss Nur Faezah Ismail, as an early-career investigator, at the "Understanding Tumour Immunology" meeting held at Beatson Institute on 1-4/7/18, where potentials of QPI immune profiling were presented and discussed. Miss Ismail has been successful with the Principle's Early Career Mobility Scheme that will enable her visit to HMIC and a new Digital and Computational Pathology Laboratory (DCPL) (Dr Shana Coley) in Columbia University, NY, in early 2019, to conduct QPI research and obtain further training in downstream analysis of QPI. • The QPI project in bladder cancer biomarker was discussed with Professor Margaret Knowles (Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, St James's University Hospital) on two occasions (Mon 26/2/18 and Mon 15/5/18). Professor Knowles is one of the world-class experts in bladder cancer molecular pathology. Professor Knowles agreed to provide FFPE bladder cancer specimen for preliminary immune profiling study using the QPI, and a support or co-application to MRC grant. • The potential establishment of Glasgow-Columbia sample pipeline for QPI-immune profiling in bladder cancer and kidney transplantation for pilot and future larger-scale studies with Dr Shana Coley and Professor Cathy Mendelsohn (Irvine Cancer Research Center, Columbia University). • The clinical and diagnostic use of the QPI was also discussed with Newcastle Molecular Pathology Node, The Proximity Lab, with a haematology QPI expert, Dr Christopher Carey on Mon 30/7/18 confirmed a realistic potential in the use of QPI in clinical and diagnostic purposes. • In addition to the bladder project in TI's lab, the pancreatic cancer group in ICS/SoM (Dr Nigel Jamieson, Dr David Chang, Dr Stephen Dreyer, and Dr Fraser Duthie) will collaborate with TI in a pilot study in QPI assessing the biomarker potential in prediction and monitoring of CXCR2-based therapy in pancreatic cancer, taking advantage of the immune profile panel with CXCR2 that had been optimized by TI's research group. • PE has agreed to provide in-kind contribution, the 6-month licence (active during January -June 2019) of InForm v 2.4, QPI software that allows digital pathology analysis using artificial intelligence (AI) (worth approx. US$20k), to the TI's lab at SoMDN, Lab Medicine, QEUH.
Start Year 2016
Description Discussion with a potential industry partner 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Main Objective of this meeting was to discuss and identify strategies towards the clinical and diagnostic uses of Perkin Elmer (PE) Quantitative Pathology Imaging system in bladder cancer. The meeting was held at Laboratory Medicine, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital on 17th January 2018 involving the PI and a UK representative of PE. Main achievements was the bi-directional exchange of information between GU and the industry (Perkin Elmer). From GU to PE, the key points of the revised P2D proposal on immuno-oncology was described, including the contexts of "clinical and diagnostic use" of PE Quantitative Pathology Imaging system in contrast to that for "basic science"; The PI's research interest in bladder cancer was introduced; The main goals of the Glasgow Molecular Pathology Node were introduced. From PE to GU, PE provided the overview of PE structure, including the role of R&D headquarter in Boston, MA, USA. Clinical and diagnostic use of QPI was confirmed as one of the interests of PE, which include cancer and arthritis research; Industry Partnership PhD scheme is an unlikely interest of PE. PE representative agreed to the further plans in the activities described under P2D and confirmed his willingness to support.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Industry day event and official opening of Imaging cente of Excellence March 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This event is part of a series of regular "Industry Days" held by the college and designed to promote interaction of our research staff and industry. On this occasion Imaging, Innovation and Impact Industry Day 2017 was combined with the Official Opening of the Imaging Centre of Excellence.
On Wednesday 29th March the opening of the Imaging Centre for Excellence (ICE) at the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow, was attended by 359 academics, industrial partners, and clinicians, and with a range of talks by people involved throughout the day. This state of the art, £16M building houses a new Siemens 7 Tesla MRI scanner. The event began The event began with a speech from Professor Anton Muscatelli (Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of Glasgow) who introduced ICE as a centre for enterprise and a truly collaborative initiative. MSP Paul Wheelhouse continued along this theme highlighting that Scotland is a global leader in life science technologies and that this project allows partners to build on this reputation. Glasgow is in a prominent position to be at the forefront of this opportunity, and hubs like ICE will continue to develop people's skills to provide new innovation in life sciences. The ICE building was part funded by the Medical Research Council and the Glasgow City Region City Deal. This is only one part of the City Deal, which aims to improve infrastructure and employment around Glasgow. Lord Andrew James Dunlop (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State of Scotland) explained that the different partners that were involved (both the UK and Scottish Government together with 8 local authorities) worked closely together. The keynote speech was delivered by Professor Sir Mark Walport, chief scientific advisor for UK Government. Walport initially highlighted the history of Glasgow's innovation and reputation for collaboration. He related the story of Ian Donald, Regius Professor of Midwifery at the University of Glasgow from 1954. Donald was involved in developing the first medical ultrasound device by working with boiler engineers in the ship building industry. This story highlighted the resourcefulness of Donald but also the ease in which collaboration can be formed with different partners, which is nurtured and encouraged by Glasgow's industrial environment. It is thought that ICE will be central to bring clinical, academic, and commercial entities together for increased collaboration and therefore increase reward There was also a strong international element to the day with a presentation from her excellency the Singapore High Commissioner establishing a new link between ICE the City Scottish Development International. The Singapore companies were lead by the example of Clinnovate UK as new start up company from Singapore which had made its European base in Glasgow. The international reach of the event was further underlined were keynote presentations by Toshiba Siemens and our outstanding guest academic speaker Professor Kamil Ugurbil Director of the MRI research University of Minnesota. These complemented by internal presentations from new Imaging staff within the Imaging centre of excellence. In a parallel afternoon session for both companies and academic staff we also a very well attended KTN lead workshop with speakers from Precision Medicine Innovate UK, health and Life Sciences KTN, Enabling technologies KTN. overall the event was very well attended with over 390 delegates, 158 of whom where external to the University mainly from industry. There was a formal partnering session which lead to 6 sort term follow up meetings. There was also widespread media coverage of the event including from local television channels * . The key impacts of the event were firstly to hugely raise the profile of the college, its new imaging centre and associated clinical innovation both nationally and internationally. One specific collaborative outcome being closer links with Imaging in Minnesota University and appointment of Professor Ugurbil as an Honorary Chair in Glasgow. The KTN workshops have lead to a much closer interaction with KTN and lead directly to a follow up visit by MRCTech mediated by the Dean of Research. The focus on Imaging and Precision Medicine has also allowed the College and the University to lead on the a new regional Science and Innovation Audit in the latest wave of this influential Dept of Business Enterprise and Innovation programme. *
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2015,2017
Description Technology seminar at Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Main Objective of this event was to identify further collaborations between GU investigators and Perkin Elmer (PE) on clinical and diagnostic uses of PE Quantitative Pathology Imaging platform in wider cancer types. The PI and PE organized a technology seminar "Multiplex Immune Profiling and in-situ phenotyping by Vectra Polaris" at Beatson Institute Lecture Theatre on Tuesday 27th February at 10.00-11.00, followed by discussion and networking tea/coffee at the foyer. The PI also provided a brief presentation on the P2D objectives on clinical and diagnostic use of Quantitative Pathology Imaging, and how to get involved. The seminar had over 50 attendees, mostly from BICR, WWCRC and other GU Institutes. There were many questions following the seminar. Following the above event, the PI had a discussion with the head of BAIR (Beatson Advanced Imaging Resource). He will discuss the needs of PE Quantitative Imaging system further with his colleagues at the Beatson.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018