Wednesday 12 December 2018

Sharing our vision at the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre Impact Showcase event

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) recently held its inaugural Impact Showcase.

Watch our NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre Showcase film, which highlights the main points of the day.

The full day event brought together almost 300 delegates from across the Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals Partnership as well as attendees from a number of North East Hospital Trusts, research funders and national and regional research infrastructure.

Delegates heard a range of engaging and informative presentations from the BRC themes, as well as from the key leaders in the University and Hospital Trust Partnership and outstanding external key note speakers.

Taking place in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University, the day began at 9am with a coffee and networking session, before delegates were welcomed by Director of the NIHR Newcastle BRC, Professor Avan Sayer who provided an overview of the BRC.

Ahead of the morning break, delegates heard about the importance of the NIHR Newcastle BRC to the partnership from Professor Chris Day, Vice Chancellor and President of Newcastle University, and Professor Sir John Burn, Chairman of Newcastle Hospitals.

The first keynote talk of the day was given by Dr Louise Wood, Director of Science, Research and Evidence in the Department of Health and Social Care, who shared the impact priorities for the National Institute for Health Research and challenged the NIHR BRCs to live up to their BRC acronym – to be bold, have reach, and collaborate.

Click here for the Key facts from the NIHR Newcastle BRC Impact Showcase

Hearing from the Newcastle BRC themes

Following the morning refreshment break, where delegates had the chance to network and view NIHR Newcastle BRC supported PhD posters, presentations from the NIHR Newcastle BRC Research themes, illustrated the breadth and depth of activity taking place across the partnership. This included:

Dementia – Professor Ian McKeith, Dr John-Paul Taylor and former NIHR Newcastle BRC trainee, Dr Daniel Erskine spoke about the pioneering work taking place in Lewy Body Dementia including the development of improved tools for diagnosis, the use of new technology to develop novel clinical biomarkers and the trainee experience.

Liver Disease – presented by Professor Quentin Anstee, this session provided information on the ground-breaking work in Primary Biliary Cholangitis, including the latest developments in the collaboration with the Dementia theme addressing cognitive symptoms. Joining Professor Anstee was Dr Julia Brosnan, Senior Director for Pfizer Inc USA, who outlined why Newcastle’s track record of effective collaborations made it the perfect partner for the €34m LITMUS project, which aims to develop new biomarkers for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis.

Musculoskeletal Disease – Professor John Isaacs, Dr Ken Baker, and Research Nurse Helen Hanson joined forces to talk about new clinical trials that are pioneering the use of cellular therapies in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This session included powerful testimonies from patients on the impact research has had on their own lives.

Skin and Oral Disease – Professor Nick Reynolds presented with NIHR Clinical Academic Fellow, Dr Mehgan Acres, on how Newcastle is leading the way in developing new diagnosis and treatment for the global challenges of skin and oral diseases such as atopic eczema, psoriasis and periodontitis, through its involvement with cutting edge research collaborations including the Human Cell Atlas and Psoriasis Stratification to Optimise Relevant Therapy (PSORT).

Neuromuscular Disease – Professor Doug Turnbull spoke about the mission to transform the lives of patients with mitochondrial diseases which is impacting on government legislation and policy, as well as leading to the development of a new clinical service. Professor Volker Straub presented on how the NIHR Newcastle BRC is helping provide the tools and resources to accelerate the delivery of new therapies for rare neuromuscular diseases.

Ageing Syndromes  – Professors Miles Witham and Helen Hancock demonstrated how the NIHR Newcastle BRC’s cross cutting theme on ageing syndromes is harnessing the outstanding experimental medicine expertise in individual long-term conditions to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ageing syndromes such as sarcopenia, frailty, and multimorbidity.

Access presentations from the day here

Translating research into successful ageing

In the second and final keynote talk of the day, Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Director of the Mercer Institute for Successful Ageing, Trinity College Dublin, presented a bold vision of how to address the challenges of translating research into successful ageing for all.

To end the day Professor David Burn, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Medical Sciences, and Dame Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spoke about the value that the NIHR Newcastle BRC brings to both Newcastle University and the Newcastle Hospitals and its place in the partnership’s future plans.

Throughout the day, delegates had the chance to visit the poster displays and talk with the NIHR Newcastle BRC funded Biomedical and Clinical PhD students. Students were able to explain what their research involved and how this linked to the overall aims of the NIHR Newcastle BRC. The poster prize was awarded to Lucy Gee whose PhD spans both the Liver Disease and Dementia themes.

Professor Avan Sayer, Director of the Newcastle BRC commented: “It was a wonderful day and inspiring to see so many people engage with our work.

“From our theme leads, to our core team, students and partners, everyone was involved in preparing and making this day such a huge success.

“Impact to us is about making positive changes to people’s lives through our research in ageing and long-term conditions, and this event was designed to give our stakeholders an insight into some of the fantastic work that is being funded by us with these aims.

“We’re delighted to have had such great interest from people across the wider university and healthcare community, and we look forward to strong collaborations in the future”.

Participants were equally enthusiastic in their feedback, some examples include:  “Really enjoyable event, great to showcase all the excellent work going on in other areas of the NIHR BRC”.

“It was great to see Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals presenting together the importance of joint working”.