UCL Proximity to Discovery: Industry Engagement Fund (PtD4) 2018

Lead Research Organisation: University College London

Abstract

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.

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.

Publications

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Description Alexandra Pike (Oliver Robinson) on-way secondment to Roche 
Organisation F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Test and develop a new wearable (a modified 'Samsung Gear Sport Smartwatch') to measure heart rate variability as a surrogate measure of anxiety. We will assess heart rate variability in healthy individuals during 1) a validated, controlled, translational anxiety indication in the lab (threat of unpredictable shock) as well as 2) during real world naturalistic anxiety-provoking situations.
Collaborator Contribution The UCL lab will get access to the new wearable (Roche have 130 devices that they will provide to the UCL lab) and the extensive experience of the Roche in-house analysis team in analysing heart rate variability data. This new kit and analysis can be used in, for example, MSc projects to train new scientists, and UCLbased research projects investigating anxiety disorders. Critically, measurement of peripheral anxiety measures is presently difficult and our lack of measurement is a limitation of our current setup - developing this measure will increase the impact of our research, and allow us to corroborate the data provided by participant self-report measures. Building bridges with industry is also a critical part of the MRC's future strategy and will therefore complement Dr Robinson's current MRC Senior Fellowship.
Impact too early
Start Year 2019
 
Description Bhavisha Parmar (Jenny Bizley) two-way secondment to Oticon A/S 
Organisation Oticon
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The project will allow Oticon to gain knowledge about the perceptual consequences of new advanced processing strategies in hearing-aids and to what extent these different strategies benefit hearing-aid users. This will contribute to the development of new hearing aid features and to the refinement of existing strategies under development. The project is also expected to provide valuable independent clinical data supporting evidence for or against specific hearing-aid compensation strategies. This is expected to strengthen Oticon's philosophy of building new products based on independent evidence-based audiological benefits for users. Importantly, the project will supplement technical data about hearing-aid audiological features with human data.
Collaborator Contribution - Advice, training and guidance of advanced hearing aid technology and how to assess performance in dynamic testing environments. - Technical measurements and assistance/support during testing - Supply of top of the range hearing aids and consumables during the study for all participants and public liability insurance for testing with these devices. - Currently UCL does not have the necessary equipment or expertise to carry out lab based hearing aid outcome studies and links with hearing aid manufacturers are vital for this to improve
Impact too early
Start Year 2019
 
Description Divya Shah & Cristina Venturini two-way secondment to Health Services Laboratories (HSL) and to UCL 
Organisation Health Services Laboratories
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution UCL/GOSH have recently developed a RNAseq pipeline which includes innovative bioinformatics tools developed by us and appropriate quality assurance controls, for detection of pathogens in tissue from patients where an infectious or autoimmune aetiology is suspected but not proven. The pipeline involves existing technologies and therefore no associated IP. However the UCL/GOSH pipeline includes specific bioinformatic tools, and know how that would be difficult to reproduce elsewhere. With the establishment of the pipeline at UCL/GOSH and its upgrading to conform to laboratory ISO accreditation standards, RNA+DNAseq has become an essential for management of undiagnosed encephalitis at GOSH and is also becoming more widely used by NHND/UCLH. Increasing requests from around the UK and world, suggests a wider unmet need. Partnership with HSL, a joint venture with The Doctors Laboratory (TDL), UCLH and RFH, to scale up the assay will therefore offer unparalleled opportunity for UCL to take this lead in providing this service while completing the R&D will move the assay closer to being a disruptive technology in microbiology.
Collaborator Contribution Currently GOSH is not part of the HSL grouping and this will provide a new opportunity for HSL to explore how the two organisations might partner in the future. HSL and TDL are also part of the international SONIC group which provides diagnostic services worldwide. SONIC currently has no equivalent NGS service for pathogen detection and is also interested to explore this new area. By seconding a clinical scientist to UCL and GOSH for 2-3 days per week for 6 months, where he/she will be supervised by Drs Cristina Venturini (bioinformatician UCL/GOSH) and Divya Shah (Scientist UCL/GOSH) HSL will gain experience of the pipeline and the technical and clinical expertise that is needed. HSL will be strongly placed to market the assay more widely thus increasing sample requests.Maintaining our pre-eminence and with HSL partnership upscaling to a state-of-the-art diagnostic pipeline will immediately benefit the many patients with undiagnosed infections, establish UCL/HSL as the centre for diagnosing and managing difficult infections and attract further research funding , including with industry ( who are already contacting us) into improved diagnostics and patient management. The full time post doc at UCL will spend 3 days supervising and training the HSL clinical scientist and 2 days developing and testing the low biomass methods and controls and writing the necessary SOPs for sharing with the HSL scientist
Impact too early
Start Year 2018
 
Description Dr Gerold Baier one way secondment to GOSH clinical setting 
Organisation Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution - To bring state-of-the-art quantitative multivariate data analysis and control approaches to the clinical setting - To understand the clinical needs and clinical realities for the implementation of machine learning algorithms and stimulation protocols for offline and real-time application - To start a research project for the automated classification of newborn and infant EEG in the context of Ohtahara and West syndrome - To connect with industrial partners (Renishaw, BESA) - To translate academic expertise to practical clinical resources to support EEG inspection; diagnoses based on EEG, real-time classification of ongoing EEG - To develop stimulation protocols for the presurgical evaluation based on real-time state detection using machine learning models.
Collaborator Contribution Possibility to get additional information displayed on EEG / ECoG that are conventionally only analysed visually (for example hemispheric distribution of abnormalities, distribution of correlations) Possibility to express their needs to an expert who understands aspects of both EEG in epilepsy and novel computational approaches Get solid introduction to concepts of network medicine and machine learning approaches for clinical EEG Get support with data formats and import for machine learning Get to witness multivariate real-time analysis of EEG Grant application to MRC or related for a joined translational project for computational approaches in pediatric EEG Advice on proper budgeting of software development, testing and Pilot study for an application for support from existing industrial partner Renishaw Workshop with computational researchers working specifically on machine learning for epileptic EEG from UCL, King's College and University of Newcastle.
Impact too early
Start Year 2019
 
Description Peter Keatin 3 way secondment to RNTNEH and World Hearing Center 
Organisation Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing
Department World Hearing Centre
Country Poland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The aim of this secondment is to establish a knowledge exchange programme (Explore-MD) between UCL, RNTNEH and the WHC. Once the programme has been established, our goal would be to scale this up to include other academic and industry partners. The Explore-MD programme will enhance the multidisciplinary research collaborations between academics, clinical scientists and engineers. Both academic scientists (and industrial scientists) will immerse themselves in the hectic and challenging schedule of clinical life for 1-2 weeks in a supervised experiential programme. Supervised by healthcare professionals, the Secondees would be exposed to multidisciplinary team meetings, clinical diagnostics, out-patient clinics, therapy units and clinical research facilities. This programme would also capitalize on UCL's reputation as a global hub for hearing and balance research and its translation into clinical benefit. This reputation reflects UCL's outstanding discovery science in this area (no 1 2015 RAND bibliometric ranking), the clinical excellence of the UCLH Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, and the extensive expertise of the Ear Institute's evidENT team in conducting clinical trials. In addition, this Explore-MD would closely align with the NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre 'Deafness and Hearing Problems' Theme, and drive greater engagement between associated researchers and clinicians.
Collaborator Contribution Knowledge Exchange to Deliver Clinical Services in Innovative Ways The specific impetus for an Explore-miniMD in Hearing and Balance Disorders arises from my own research into spatial hearing in clinical populations (Keating et al., 2013; 2015; 2016). Spatial hearing tests complement existing audiological tests nicely, providing additional information that has the potential to improve the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of hearing disorders. Despite this, spatial hearing is not routinely tested in the clinic. This is mainly because of practical constraints (clinician time, resources required etc.), which are often invisible to researchers. In my own case, this has encouraged me to better understand these constraints and focus my research on tests that could be delivered in innovative ways. One example of this is tele-audiology, in which tests are completed by patients remotely via the internet. The World Hearing Center is currently at the forefront of this approach. My own lab has developed virtual reality tests of spatial hearing that have the potential to be delivered in this way. Knowledge exchange in this area therefore has the potential to deliver real clinical impact.
Impact Too early
Start Year 2019
 
Description Peter Keatin 3 way secondment to RNTNEH and World Hearing Center 
Organisation Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution The aim of this secondment is to establish a knowledge exchange programme (Explore-MD) between UCL, RNTNEH and the WHC. Once the programme has been established, our goal would be to scale this up to include other academic and industry partners. The Explore-MD programme will enhance the multidisciplinary research collaborations between academics, clinical scientists and engineers. Both academic scientists (and industrial scientists) will immerse themselves in the hectic and challenging schedule of clinical life for 1-2 weeks in a supervised experiential programme. Supervised by healthcare professionals, the Secondees would be exposed to multidisciplinary team meetings, clinical diagnostics, out-patient clinics, therapy units and clinical research facilities. This programme would also capitalize on UCL's reputation as a global hub for hearing and balance research and its translation into clinical benefit. This reputation reflects UCL's outstanding discovery science in this area (no 1 2015 RAND bibliometric ranking), the clinical excellence of the UCLH Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, and the extensive expertise of the Ear Institute's evidENT team in conducting clinical trials. In addition, this Explore-MD would closely align with the NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre 'Deafness and Hearing Problems' Theme, and drive greater engagement between associated researchers and clinicians.
Collaborator Contribution Knowledge Exchange to Deliver Clinical Services in Innovative Ways The specific impetus for an Explore-miniMD in Hearing and Balance Disorders arises from my own research into spatial hearing in clinical populations (Keating et al., 2013; 2015; 2016). Spatial hearing tests complement existing audiological tests nicely, providing additional information that has the potential to improve the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of hearing disorders. Despite this, spatial hearing is not routinely tested in the clinic. This is mainly because of practical constraints (clinician time, resources required etc.), which are often invisible to researchers. In my own case, this has encouraged me to better understand these constraints and focus my research on tests that could be delivered in innovative ways. One example of this is tele-audiology, in which tests are completed by patients remotely via the internet. The World Hearing Center is currently at the forefront of this approach. My own lab has developed virtual reality tests of spatial hearing that have the potential to be delivered in this way. Knowledge exchange in this area therefore has the potential to deliver real clinical impact.
Impact Too early
Start Year 2019
 
Description Trevor Askwith one-way secondment to Astra Zeneca 
Organisation AstraZeneca
Department Research and Development AstraZeneca
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The aim of the project is to use the PI3Ka as a test-bed to develop an AMI-MS assay to measure PIP3 production by PI3Ka upon activating the enzyme and so use this to develop biochemical and cellular assays to measure direct lipid production for our PI3Kd project.
Collaborator Contribution Astra-Zeneca will provide access and training on the AMI-MS, one of only 4 machines in the world. AZ will also provide expert guidance with regard to establishing the assays specifically identifying peaks amongst a mixed population. AZ will also provide bench time to conduct experiments at the Darwin building, consumables in such as acoustic assay plates, cell culture media) Both secondees will benefit from working in a state-of-the-art mass spectrometry high throughput screening facility, learning the AMI-MS technique for biochemical and/or cellular screening and understanding how to apply these skills to their future work.
Impact too early
Start Year 2019