This year’s Clinical Academic Training Office (CATO) event showcased an array of inspiring projects from researchers at all stages of their training and from multiple professions.

With seven presentations and 23 posters the event was an opportunity to learn about the wealth of research conducted by Imperial clinical academic trainees and researchers.

Prof Levy CATO symp

Professor Jeremy Levy

Professor Jeremy Levy, Director of Academic Clinical Training, introduced the symposium, describing the event as ‘a chance for those who are undertaking clinical research or thinking about clinical research to get together, hear about some brilliant science and learn about what other colleagues are doing in their different specialist areas’.

The event was held on Wednesday 15 June at the W12 conference rooms at Hammersmith Hospital. There were 80 attendees with a broad mix of healthcare professionals including doctors, pharmacists, radiotherapists, speech & language therapists, nurses, occupational therapists, midwives and respiratory physiotherapists.

The research presentations covered a range of topics.

Big data

Amongst these were studies analysing large and varied data sets to inform practical decisions about diagnosis and treatment. Academic Foundation Programme Trainee, Sameer Zaman, gathered data from randomised controlled trials, clinician surveys and patient information leaflets. He then combined this to establish information on the risk of deferring treatment for heart failure to think about whether it is necessary to take consent for non-treatment.  Bowen Su, Physiotherapy Research Assistant, analysed huge amounts of data from primary care databases and hospital statistics to estimate the extent of undiagnosed rheumatoid arthritis.


Antonio CATO

Antonio De Marvao

Cutting edge technology was also a theme, both in treatment and in terms of acquiring data. Academic Clinical Fellow, Pasha Normahani assessed the degree to which wearable activity trackers help motivate patients with severely reduced blood circulation to take more exercise. Later on Antonio De Marvao, Clinical Lecturer, provided a very visual presentation to illustrate his work using 3-D cardiac magnetic resonance to provide insight into the structure and function of the heart.

Back to basics

There was also a series of talks using fundamental research to revisit current views on various conditions and therapies. Academic Clinical Fellow, Andrew Ritchie, presented work that shed light on why β2-agonists – the active ingredient in inhalers used to treat asthma – appear to have adverse effects and why steroids are needed to counteract these effects.

Lynne Sykes CATO

Lynne Sykes

In a different field John Wahba, Clinical Research Fellow, investigated the possibility of combining chemotherapy with immune-therapy to treat ovarian cancer by engineering a form of T cells that can target ovarian cancer cells.Whilst Clinical Lecturer, Lynne Sykes, presented her work investigating whether viruses increase the susceptibility of women to bacterial infections that trigger pre-term labour.


Prize winners

Prizes were awarded for the best presentations at each level of training. Best Academic Foundation Programme Trainee presentation went to Sameer Zaman for his research on deferring medical therapy for heart failure. Andrew Ritchie won best Academic Clinical Fellow trainee presentation for his work on the possible adverse effects of β2-agonists to treat asthma. Best PhD Research presentation went to John Wahba for his talk on immune-chemotherapy in ovarian cancer. Lastly Antonio de Marvao won best Clinical Lecturer presentation for his research using three-dimensional cardiac magnetic resonance phenotyping.

CATO prizewinners

Prizewinners (from left to right): Andrew Ritchie, Kayleigh Davis, John Wahba, Oliver Boughton, Antonio de Marvao, Sameer Zaman

There was also a prize for best poster which was won by Clinical Research Fellow Oliver Boughton for his poster on measuring the stiffness of the outer surface of bone.

For the first time this year there was a prize for the best press release which was won by Research Training Fellow Kayleigh Davis who wrote a release entitled ‘Blood test could improve diagnosis of ovarian cancer’.

Prizes were awarded by Alison McGregor, Professor of Musculoskeletal Biodynamics at Imperial College London, who gave a keynote speech on her research on osteoarthritis, her work with the GB Olympic rowing team and her development of new sensors. She also described her own research career from physiotherapist to professor, providing inspiration for all attendees who were both already involved in research or thinking about it.

For more details on clinical academic research support and opportunites at Imperial please see