Our biggest postgraduate success stories from around the College this year. Read more about the fantastic efforts of our postgraduate programmes in 2019, including staff awards, student achievements, new funding opportunities and much, much more!
ChM Clinical Ophthalmology
Earlier this year, the ChM Clinical Ophthalmology team secured £300k in funding from the David and Molly Pyott Foundation to fully-fund trainees from Low and Middle Income countries.
This was recently followed up by an additional Pyott gift agreement worth £538k which will provide scholarships for 30 total ChM CO applicants from 12 different countries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa.
Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, was photographed at the signing ceremony alongside benefactors David and Molly Pyott (see right).
Professor Baljean Dhillon is programme director of the ChM Clinical Ophthalmology. He reflects below on the impact that these generous donations will have on ophthalmologists living and working in Low and Middle Income countries around the world.
“This extremely generous support allows ophthalmologists serving populations with the greatest need to have access to high quality online postgraduate education and are able to continue living and working in their own communities.”
Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships
In February the University of Edinburgh won £600,000 of Commonwealth funding to enable 35 students from low-income countries to study for a part-time, online masters qualification. Successful applicants will be fully funded and can choose from a range of courses, under four headings - One Health, One Medicine; Global Health Innovation; Surgical Sciences; and Carbon Management - and will benefit from the University’s Global Academy network, including within CMVM.
Global focus for online masters courses
Staff and Teaching Excellence
MSc Clinical Education
The online MSc in Clinical Education performed extremely well in this year's Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) results. The programme scored 100% due to the outstanding teaching and learning experience provided by the Clinical Education team.
Congratulations to all staff members working on the programme for this remarkable achievement. Our Clinical Education graduates often mention staff support and teaching as one of the things they valued most during their studies.
"The people that I met here gave me a lot of support, a lot of knowledge and they really guided me during a time which was extremely interesting but also extremely challenging." Kamil Torres, MSc Clinical Education (Graduate 2018)
"I have already recommended this programme to other interested colleagues because of the wonderful experience that I have had so far with this programme and the amazing staff." Kristna Thompson, MSc Clinical Education (Current student)
On the back of these results, it should come as little surprise that the Clinical Education team were also nominated as the University's entry for the 2019 Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE). This award recognises and rewards collaborative work that has had a clear and demonstrable impact on teaching and learning in higher education.
MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine
Tilo Kunath wins prestigious award for Parkinson’s research
Group Leader Dr Tilo Kunath has been awarded the Tom Isaacs Award 2019 for his outstanding work in Parkinson’s research. The Tom Isaacs Award is presented annually to a researcher who has shown the greatest impact on the lives of people living with Parkinson’s and/or has involved people with Parkinson’s in a participatory way in their work. Dr Kunath was chosen as this year’s recipient in recognition of his empathy and enthusiastic engagement with the Parkinson’s community. He recently made headlines for his work with Joy Milne, who approached him about her ability to smell Parkinson’s. Dr Kunath pursued this idea further, contacting researchers at the University of Manchester who have now identified chemicals in the skin responsible for a unique scent in people with Parkinson’s disease.
Charles ffrench-Constant presented Chancellor’s Award
Professor Charles ffrench-Constant, Professor of Neurology at MRC-CRM and Dean of Research for the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, has been awarded the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Research. The Chancellor’s Awards are one of the most important ways in which the University of Edinburgh recognises current members of the University community. Professor ffrench-Constant was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Research in recognition of his outstanding internationally regarded research in the field of Neurobiology and also for inspiring and supporting colleagues, peers and younger scientists.
The Scale-Up BP team (pictured below) led by Brian McKinstry, with Elizabeth Payne (Telehealth Lead for NHS Lothian) and Mary Paterson (Project Manager) won the Clinical Improvement Award: Public Health and Prevention at the General Practice Awards in London on 29th November 2019.
You can read more about the awards ceremony via the link below:
The award was for the NHS Lothian project which integrates telemonitored BP readings texted from patients with the routine Docman reports sent directly to GP practices and has led to a high rate of take-up of telehealth in Lothian (78 practices and 3600 patients) and subsequent reductions in blood pressure and clinician-patient face-to-face time. This project was based on the Telescot programme of research led by Brian McKinstry.
A new anatomy book describing the wonder and beauty of the human body has been published by Big Picture Press as part of the ‘Welcome to the Museum’ series, and in collaboration with the Wellcome Collection.
Anatomicum was written by Dr Jennifer Paxton (pictured right), a Lecturer in Anatomy and Programme Director of the online Anatomical Sciences programme. Her book takes the reader on an exciting journey through the Museum of Anatomy, exploring the body systems and organs in wonderful detail. It also features a series of stunning illustrations by Katy Wiedemann.
Jennifer attended a sell-out event at the Wellcome Collection, London on the 12th September 2019 where she spoke about her inspiration for Anatomicum and the process of writing a text for the public.
You can read more about the book via the link below:
And if you're interested in finding out more about postgraduate study in the field of Anatomy, visit their website for full details on the full range of options available to prospective students.
Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
The Postgraduate Taught team at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies received 9 nominations for the Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) teaching awards. You can read a full list of winners from this year's Teaching Awards via the link below.
Centre for Inflammation Research
Congratulations to Dr Valentina Rausch, who recently graduated with a PhD from the Deanery of Clinical Sciences. Valentina completed her work on the interplay between the cellular signalling pathway termed the Hippo pathway and caveolar genes under the supervision of Dr Carsten Gram Hansen, whose research group is located within the Centre for Inflammation Research.
You can read more about Valentina's thesis below:
"The cell is compartmentalized into distinct sub-cellular membrane bound regions, termed organelles. A prominent organelle discovered in the 1950'ies and located at the plasma-membrane is called caveola, from Latin meaning "little caves". How genes encoding essential caveolae proteins were regulated had up until Valentina's Rausch's PhD been elusive. Valentina during her three year PhD in the Hansen lab at the CIR discovered that the Hippo pathway directly dictate the expression of these caveolar genes, without the Hippo pathway transcriptional regulators, the cell lose an entire organelle."
The work was published in Current Biology and further described in a review in Trends of Cell Biology.
Review in Trends of Cell Biology
Elena Bernabeu (pictured right) is a 3rd year PhD student in Albert Tenesa's group in the Roslin Institute who works on the study of genetic sex differences using UK Biobank data. She recently presented her work at the Advances in Computational Biology Conference in Barcelona and won the best talk prize which was a HP laptop. Well done Elena!
Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences
Dr Sandy MacMillan wins best poster prize
Many congratulations to Dr Sandy MacMillan, a PhD student (now qualified) who recently won best poster prize in the Respiratory Section Trainee Poster Presentations at the Experimental Biology 2019 meeting in Florida, USA.
PhD Tissue Repair
The PhD Tissue Repair has seen three students from its 2015 cohort pass their PhD vivas this year. Jose Meseguer Ripollés, Dyana Markose and Stephen West have all successfully passed their vivas - congratulations to all of you on this massive achievement.
PhD Tissue Repair programme website
Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
At this year's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies Winter Graduation ceremony, 62 Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma, MSc and MVetSci graduates from 11 on-campus and online programmes attended either in person or virtually.
The Vet School was particularly pleased that Clinical Animal Behaviour, Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, Advanced Clinical Practice and Veterinary Epidemiology all had their first full MSc graduands, while Applied Poultry Science already had a PG Certificate (virtual) graduation for their new MSc which launched in September 2018.
MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine
New cell therapy for liver disease safe, trial suggests
Liver disease patients could one day benefit from a new cell therapy that has just completed its first clinical trial. Professor Stuart Forbes and a team of researchers at MRC-CRM have been developing a new treatment for liver cirrhosis, in collaboration with researchers from the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS). The new treatment involves taking cells from the blood of patients and turning them into macrophages (white blood cells which have the ability to help repair the liver) in the lab. The new cells are then re-injected into the patient in the hope of rebuilding the damaged organ from within. The results of a phase one clinical trial have confirmed the safety of the cell therapy and the team are now conducting a phase two clinical trial to assess how well it works.
Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences
Earlier this year, an Evans Lab study was published in Nature Communications concerning the discovery of the 'cell-wide web'. This ground-breaking research reveals for the first time how cells deliver function-specific calcium signals to coordinate the wide diversity of cellular processes that are modulated by this divalent cation.
The discovery by Duan et al has received significant press and online coverage. Please find a link below to the publication in Nature Communications from May this year, as well as a list of other articles and videos responding to this research.
Study by Duan et al in Nature Communications
Youtube Video - Scientists find 'circuit boards' inside living cells
Article in The Scotsman - Human cells send signals like computers
MSc Food Safety
In October 2019 Alessandro Seguino and Cristina Soare, the directors of the online MSc in Food Safety, organised and hosted the European College of Veterinary Public Health for a successful and interesting scientific conference.
They were delighted to be able to welcome two of their online MSc Food Safety students to the conference, Joanna and Matthys, who had travelled from Ireland and South Africa as delegates (pictured right).
The conference proceedings, presentations and posters are available on the website.
ECVPH AGM and Annual Scientific Conference 2019
Matthys also produced a student blog for the University's 'Student Stories' website reflecting on his visit and his experience of the MSc Food Safety programme so far (link below).
Taking the road less travelled...
MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine
Seeing the success of community engagement
Over the last 4 years MRC-CRM has been working in partnership with the local Craigmillar community to create opportunities for engaging with science, through a community engagement project led by Dr Cathy Southworth. Earlier this year, the project was awarded the University of Edinburgh’s very first Social Responsibility and Sustainability Community Partnership Award, recognising the positive social impact for community partners. In November, Castleview Primary School were then named the overall winner of the Rolls Royce Science Prize, a national award which recognises excellence in science teaching. The winning project – People like me can do STEM – was developed in partnership with Dr Southworth.
CRM supports #StopMS campaign
On the 8th of October the MS Society’s Stop MS Appeal went live to the public. It aims to raise £100 million over the next 10 years in order to spur on the research going into treatments for multiple sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease which affects more than 100 000 people in the UK alone.
Anna Williams, Professor of Regenerative Neurology at the University of Edinburgh, was featured in the BBC News at Six alongside the announcement of the Stop MS Appeal launch because of her team’s ground-breaking research into the mechanisms by which the nerve-protecting myelin sheath becomes damaged during MS, and what can be done to stimulate its repair.
New Programme Launches
MSc Critical Care
In September 2019, a brand-new online MSc in Critical Care was launched in Edinburgh. The programme is part of a highly successful partnership between the University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and is being led by Dr David Griffith and Dr Graham Nimmo and a team from the department of Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine. The programme is being developed and taught by an international faculty of expert clinicians and academics.
Uniquely, the programme team have designed the entire programme and each individual course using Edinburgh Learning Design Roadmap (ELDeR) and have been benefiting from the guidance and expertise of Marshall Dozier who is the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine Lead for the Library and Academic Support Team.
In its very first year, the programme offered places to 31 students from a variety of healthcare contexts across the globe. The programme continues to create new elective clinical courses to allow students to personalise their learning experience and will be offering at least 2 new courses for academic year 2020/21.
Applications are now open for September 2020 entry.
Apply for the MSc Critical Care
Congratulations to the Critical Care team on the launch of this exciting new programme!
PhD Tissue Repair
Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD in Tissue Repair
The Wellcome Trust four-year PhD programme in Tissue Repair is run by the University of Edinburgh and funded by the Wellcome Trust. The Tissue Repair PhD programme provides cutting edge, cross-disciplinary PhD training which builds on the breath of world-class biomedical research performed at the University of Edinburgh's College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine (CMVM).
The programme welcomed its new cohort of students in September this year.
Warm welcome to the new Tissue Repair PhD students
MVetSci Advanced Clinical Practice
Sharon Boyd (pictured right) is a Senior Lecturer in Distance Student Learning and Deputy Director of the MVetSci in Advanced Clinical Practice. Sharon was named a finalist in the 2019 Green Gown Awards (UK and Ireland) in the Sustainability Champion: Staff category in November.
Her nomination was supported by the University as it built on the Social Responsibility and Sustainability Changemaker 2018 award Sharon received at the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability 2018 Sustainability Awards earlier in the year.
Both of these awards focused on the work Sharon has done with colleagues to embed social responsibility and sustainability into the Vet School curriculum, as well as making the link between student experience, student wellbeing and sustainability explicit.
This has led to the work Sharon is currently doing as part of the Vet Sustain group looking at sustainability in the veterinary curricula with colleagues from vet schools across the UK.
Green Gown Awards 2019 finalists
A huge well done to all of our wonderful staff and students for these fantastic achievements. 2019 has certainly been a bumper year for postgraduate success around the College.
Now we're looking forward to seeing what 2020 brings...
College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine Postgraduate Study homepage