Imperial Festival fun

Last weekend, lab members Sek Shir and Sally helped welcome 45 to 50,000 members of the public to the first Great Exhibition Road Festival, a three-day celebration of curiosity, discovery and exploration.  Imperial have collaborated with 20 institutions in and around South Kensington. Partners included the Royal Albert Hall, the V&A, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Royal Colleges of Art and Music as well as the Goethe-Institut, the Ismaili Centre, the Serpentine Gallery and the Institut Français. 

With the support, creativity and generosity of these partners, 11 interactive themed zones were devised, full of creative activities, live experiments, and friendly experts, alongside an extensive programme of talks, workshops and performances. The partnership also involved a lucky dip, pairing unexpected partners together to co-create content.

Both Sally and Sek Shir had a really enjoyable day interacting with the guests of all ages an are looking forward to the Festival in 2020. 

Advaith Foundation, Bengaluru : Anatomy Explorers Outreach Workshop

Leigh Chambers recently re-visited The Advaith Foundation at The Samhita Academy in South Bengaluru to conduct a follow-up workshop with 45 children aged 11-14, entitled Anatomy Explorers. The program aimed to introduce creative approaches to science education and worked closely with teachers and program leaders to develop mutual understanding of the advantages of an arts based learning approach.

Anatomy Explorers 2019
Nervous system construction using rope
Neuron pebbles

Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship 2019

Biomedical Vacation Scholarships – 2019 competition

Congratulations to Jin Ju Lee on her successful application to the Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship scheme. In collaboration with Mark Griffiths and Vania Braga, Jin Ju will be using a novel software programme ‘junction mapper’ to look at cell:cell adhesion in lung epithelial cells. We look forward to Jin Ju joining the group in July. Welcome back to Jin Ju!

Anatomical Society Summer Vacation Research Scholarship awarded

Anatomical Society Undergraduate Student Research Scholarship Awards 2019

Congratulations to Ms Ambreen Muhammad who was awarded the prestigious Anatomical Society Summer Research Scholarship for her project entitled “Investigating the role of Dishevelled Associated Activator of Morphogenesis 2 (Daam2) in lung development”.

We look forward to welcoming Ambreen to the Dean lab in July.

‘Regenerative pharmacology for COPD: breathing new life into old lungs’

A new State of the art review in Thorax entitled ‘Regenerative pharmacology for COPD: breathing new life into old lungs’ has been published by Ng-Blichfeldt et al.

Authors discuss the vital importance of increasing our understanding of the cell-specific molecular control of regeneration, the regenerative potential of the human lung and regenerative competencies of patients with
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Regenerative pharmacology for COPD: breathing new life into old lungs. Ng-Blichfeldt, J-P., Reinoud, G., Dean, D., Griffiths, M. & Hind, M.
Thorax Published Online First: 02 April 2019. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2018-212630

John C Harsanyi Graduate Medal for Innovation 2019 – Congratulations to Sally Kim

Alumni Awards and Graduate Medals 2019

The annual Alumni Awards recognise outstanding achievements of the University of Sydney alumni community. The awards are bestowed for leadership, innovation and compassion.

Sally was responsible for developing an award-winning, innovative aerosol technology to deliver stem cells directly to lungs.

Sally’s publication ‘Atomized Human Amniotic Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for Direct Delivery to the Airway for Treatment of Lung Injury’
demonstrated that hAMSCs are able to survive after being sprayed onto substrates with different stiffness, especially in the presence of collagen I. This lays the foundations for advancing the effectiveness of cell therapy for lung regeneration.

‘AeroCELL’ Technology
Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery

‘A novel ex-vivo approach to study lung injury and repair’

Lung Science Conference 2019, Estoril, Portugal

Sally Kim presented recent work on 8th March 2019 at the 17th European Respiratory Society Lung Science Conference: ‘Mechanisms of Acute Exacerbation of Respiratory Disease’. 

In an oral presentation titled ‘A novel ex-vivo approach to study lung injury and repair’, Sally presented the key highlights of the precision cut lung slice model our lab uses to study lung injury and repair. Our ex-vivo model received attention as a promising tool for multiple applications in pulmonary research. Sally won a bursary to attend this conference and as a bursary recipient, she was involved in the mentorship programme in which she received valuable mentorship critical for early career researchers. She was also given the opportunity to co-chair a session. She found the conference exceptionally supportive and worthwhile for early career and junior researchers.

Nature Communications publication

Live imaging of alveologenesis in precision-cut lung slices reveals dynamic epithelial cell behaviour

Precision cut lung slice

Researchers in the Dean lab have published exciting exciting novel insights into alveoli development. Alveoli are the site of gas exchange in the lungs. Damage to alveoli, is a component of many chronic and acute lung diseases such as emphysema and Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. In addition, insufficient generation of alveoli results in bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which affects many babies born prematurely. Visualising the process of alveolar development (alveologenesis) is important so that we can begin to explore potential ways to repair and regenerate lung tissue. Because the lungs are situated deep inside the body, it is difficult to see alveologenesis happening in the body. In this study, we have established a new method to visualise this process live, in slices of lung tissue. This is the first time that we have been able to see the process of alveologenesis in real-time.  Our study finds that during alveologenesis, a key type of cells, epithelial cells are highly mobile and we have identified how epithelial cells associate with each other to form new alveoli. We also show that by adding drugs to the slices, we can interfere with the process of alveologenesis. Our study has established a new system that enables us to conduct research on how alveoli form and to test potential treatments to repair damaged alveoli.

Tweet link :

Paper link:

Akram, K. M., Yates, L. L., Mongey, R., Rothery, S., Gaboriau, D. C. A., Sanderson, J., Hind, M., Griffiths, M. & Dean, C. H. 2019 (published 12 March). Nature Communications 10, Article number: 1178

NHLI Athena Lecture

9th January 2019

How can we celebrate and support diversity in STEM – a younger perspective’.

 Introduced by Professor Sara Rankin, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the NHLI, this year’s lecture broke from tradition by offering a younger perspective on the representation and advancement of women in science. The three guest speakers had been recognised for their commitment to campaigning for diversity in STEM. They each give a 10-15 minute talk followed by a 15 minute Q&A panel facilitated by Dr Mike Cox, a postdoctoral research associate (PDRA) at NHLI and member of the NHLI Athena Self-Assessment Team.

Inspiring and thought-provoking talks from Dr Jess Wade, Dr Faith Uwadiae and Siena Castellon covered many vital themes promoting gender and race equality as well as advocating Neurodiversity.

See here to watch the lectures.