Page 1



Science in her Genes Improving health in East London East London Genes & Health A memoir of music and The London Your news and reunions

The research of Karen Vousden

The results are in… Last year we conducted our first mass survey of Barts and The London alumni. Almost 1,000 of you around the world took part and one lucky alumnus received an iPad Mini in our prize draw.

Here are some of the findings…

Where did you live?

How did you meet your friends? 85%

92% said you are proud to have studied here

South Woodford 11%

What are you doing now?

Dawson Hall (aka College Hall) 16%


Home 22%

Sports Floyer House (aka The Student Hostel) 26%


family connection to Barts and The London


Rented accommodation 32%

Halls of residence

24% of you have a

Clubs and Societies


You said it’s important to help the next generation of Barts and The London students with… 1. Financial aid for those in hardship 2. Getting good jobs 3. Rewarding academic excellence

Employed 49%

43% of you are in touch with 1-4 friends

Retired 29% Self-employed 17% Studying 2% Looking after home/family 1% Volunteering 1% Taking time out 1%

Your extra-curricular time 67% of you were involved with recreational and sports clubs and societies as a student

Thank you for taking part in our Alumni Survey Have your say next time! Make sure that you receive future surveys by providing us with a valid email address. Register with the Alumni Portal at www.qmul.ac.uk/alumni/portal or email batlaa@qmul.ac.uk.

4. Encouraging them to volunteer in the community

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

QMA | Queen Mary’s Alumni magazine | 2015

Contents 03 Barts and The London news.......................................... 04 Q & A with Professor Steve Thornton............................. 05 Science in her Genes: Professor Karen Vousden............ 06 Improving health in East London................................... 10 Your gifts to the Annual Fund........................................ 12 A memoir of music and The London............................... 14 BLSA news.................................................................. 16 BATLAA events............................................................. 17 Reunions galore........................................................... 18 BATLAA Alumni news.................................................... 20 Alumni remembered..................................................... 21 Welcome.....................................................................

A welcome from the President of BATLAA Welcome to this year’s issue of the BLC, or Barts and The London Chronicle to give it its full title. I hope you will enjoy reading it. We are delighted to welcome Professor Steve Thornton as new Vice-Principal (Health) at the School of Medicine and Dentistry and we have included a short interview with him by way of introduction. Professor Thornton joined the School from the University of Exeter in January and some of you will have had the opportunity to meet him at the BATLAA-BLSA Dinner in April. The magazine also includes an interview with the distinguished scientist, Professor Karen Vousden CBE, who is currently Director of the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow. You can find out more about East London Genes & Health, one of the world’s largest community-based genetics studies which is being undertaken at the School. The inaugural BATLAA-BLSA Captains’ and Presidents’ Dinner, which was held at the Charterhouse, was a resounding success with over 100 attendees. These included former and current members of Clubs and Societies and many other alumni who wanted to take the opportunity to connect with friends old and new - you can see some photos in the following pages. We are hoping that the dinner will become an annual event and we look forward to having more of you on board. Please ensure that you are kept informed of future dates by registering your interest as below. It is encouraging to see that so many of you are working with the Alumni Engagement Team to organise class reunions. If you are organising a get together and would like help promoting your reunion or if you would like support getting started, please contact us. We are keen to receive your news, so do get in touch to let us know what you are doing now. Likewise, if you would like to contribute to future issues of BLC, please contact the Team at batlaa@qmul.ac.uk. Your input is very welcome. Best wishes

Barts and The London Alumni Association (BATLAA) Development and Alumni Directorate Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) Mile End Road London E1 4NS Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5042 email: batlaa@qmul.ac.uk www.qmul.ac.uk/alumni/batlaa Read our BATLAA e-Newsletter for medical and dental alumni online at www.qmul.ac.uk/alumni/communications If you would like to subscribe, please register with the Alumni Portal at www.qmul.ac.uk/alumni/portal or email batlaa@qmul.ac.uk

Cover: Professor Karen Vousden CBE © The Royal Society/Anne Purkiss

Any section of this publication is available in large print upon request. If you require this publication in a different accessible format we will endeavour to provide this where possible. For further information and assistance, please contact: hr-equality@qmul.ac.uk; +44 (0)20 7882 5585. The information given in this publication is correct at the time of going to press. The university reserves the right to modify or cancel any statement in it and accepts no responsibility for the consequences of any such changes. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the website www.qmul.ac.uk.

Professor Paul Wright (q BDS, The London, 1969) President of Barts and The London Alumni Association (BATLAA)

Disclaimer: opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the individual writers and contributors. Editorial: Nick Sarson, Photos: Gary Schwartz, Design: www.neilsimmons.co.uk, Icons: www.flaticon.com, ISSN: 2058-4768. This magazine has been printed on environmentally friendly material from well‑managed sources.


QMA | Queen Mary’s Alumni magazine | 2015

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

Barts and The London news Simple blood test identifies illness-prone surgery patients

A simple blood test can predict, with over 90 per cent accuracy, whether a patient is likely to suffer life-threatening complications after major surgery, according to research published in the Annals of Surgery. Researchers at the Blizard Institute have identified how key differences in a person’s immune system - caused by white blood cells called monocytes - can be used to predict who will recover well after surgery and who is likely to develop serious illnesses. Blood samples were taken from patients undergoing liver and pancreatic surgery and the team found that the monocytes taken from the 12 patients who developed serious post-surgery complications behaved very differently to the monocytes found in the blood of the 27 patients who recovered without complication.

Urine test for pancreatic cancer Researchers from Barts Cancer Institute have discovered that a combination of proteins found at high levels in urine can be used to detect early-stage pancreatic cancer. Over 80 per cent of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed when the cancer has already spread which means they are not eligible for surgery to remove the tumour - currently the only potentially curative treatment. The team looked at 488 urine samples and found that patients with pancreatic cancer had increased levels of three specific proteins, compared to samples from healthy patients. When combined, the three proteins could be used to detect pancreatic cancer with over 90 per cent accuracy. Dr Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic said: “We’ve always been keen to develop a diagnostic test in urine as it has several advantages over using blood. It’s an inert and far less complex fluid than blood and can be repeatedly and noninvasively tested. We’re hopeful that a simple, inexpensive test can be developed and be in clinical use within the next few years.”

New strategy for treating arthritis

Reducing sugar in drinks could prevent one million obesity cases A study conducted by researchers at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, has shown that a 40 per cent reduction in sugars added to sugar-sweetened beverages over five years would lead to an average body weight loss of 1.20kg in adults. This would mean a decrease of 500,000 overweight adults and one million obese adults, in turn preventing around 300,000 cases of obesity-related type 2 diabetes over the next two decades. The predicted impact was greater in adolescents, young adults, and individuals from low income families. Professor Graham MacGregor and his co-authors commented: “The proposed strategy could lead to a profound reduction in energy intake from sugar-sweetened beverages and could therefore lower the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes in the long term.” 4

An early study conducted by researchers at the William Harvey Research Institute suggests that arthritic cartilage, previously thought to be impenetrable to therapies, could be treated by a patient’s own ‘microvesicles’ - fragments of plasma membrane released by cells - which can travel into cartilage cells and deliver therapies. The team discovered that vesicles released from white blood cells can travel into the cartilage and deliver their cargo, and that they also have a protective effect on cartilage affected by arthritis.

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

QMA | Queen Mary’s Alumni magazine | 2015


with Professor Steve Thornton Vice-Principal (Health) What have you enjoyed most so far? We have excellent and diverse staff who have made me feel incredibly welcome. I also enjoyed meeting many alumni at the BATLAA-BLSA Captains’ and Presidents’ Dinner in April. London is so incredibly vibrant and the opportunities are enormous. It has been an amazing few months and I have enjoyed every minute of it. What do you do in your spare time? I run, play squash and am a season ticket holder for a premier rugby team. I have recently become obsessed by kite surfing, although I am still trying to perfect my technique!

Professor Steve Thornton was appointed Vice-Principal (Health) and Executive Dean of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry in January. Tell us a bit about your background My speciality is Obstetrics, with a clinical and research interest in preterm labour. I love clinical work, but I have also spent many happy hours doing lab and applied research. My work has taken me around the country, from Southampton to Newcastle, Cambridge, Warwick and more recently Peninsula/University of Exeter, where I spent the last five and a half years as Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of Medicine. What attracted you to Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry? I have spent most of my working life outside London and I wanted to work at a global top 100 university in London. When the role of Vice-Principal (Health) arose I was really enthusiastic to apply as there was the opportunity to work in a university with an excellent record for education and research whilst continuing collaborative links with organisations such as the NHS, the Francis Crick Institute, UCLPartners and the Academic Health Science Centre. What are you most excited about in your new role? The opportunities for the future. Being part of a world leading university delivering the highest quality education, undertaking internationally excellent research and making a difference to the health of the population.

What do you plan to do in your new role? I see my role as being that of a facilitator and collaborator, enabling staff and students of the School to deliver the best education and research. I want to make sure that we are all working as well as we can and that we have the right structures in place so that people are happy, valued and content in their work. This includes equality, which is so important. I also believe that we should maximise our opportunities to work collaboratively with the other excellent faculties at QMUL. Furthermore, I would like the School to engage with more alumni and for us to celebrate the successes of our graduates. An active community of individuals who care about the advancement of the School is crucial for our success and I look forward to continue building these relationships. What are your priorities over the next few months? I will be looking to deliver the strategy for the School of Medicine and Dentistry with help from the institute directors. The Life Sciences Initiative is a unique opportunity to build on our strengths and work with the other faculties in QMUL. This will include linking the population served by Barts Health NHS Trust with genotyping and phenotyping. The results from the REF (Research Excellence Framework) were superb. We now need to build on this for 2020-21 to ensure that we demonstrate our impressive research impact, and also make sure we are positioned to enhance our teaching excellence with the introduction of TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework). Partnerships and collaborations are key for much of the work we do, both in the UK and overseas, and I want to continue to explore with partners how we can provide the best education possible for our students and further enhance our research.

45 5

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

Science in her Genes


© The Royal Society/Anne Purkiss

The research of Karen Vousden

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

Professor Karen Vousden CBE is one of the UK’s leading scientists working in cancer research. Currently Director of the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow, Professor Vousden grew up in Gravesend in Kent and did her undergraduate degree at Queen Mary College, studying Genetics and Microbiology from 1975-78. She then stayed on until 1982 to do a PhD. Here Professor Vousden talks about her time at the university, her career, how she balances so many commitments, and why she never wants to retire. When did you first become interested in science? I remember really enjoying O-level chemistry at school. At A-level we did Nuffield courses, which were based around doing experiments and discovering things for yourself. I always really enjoyed that. It’s like a fascinating puzzle. When I told my school careers advisor that I wanted to be a scientist, she was not very impressed and told me I ought to work for a bank. Luckily I ignored her. You studied Genetics and Microbiology at Queen Mary in the 1970s. What influenced this decision? I just liked the feel of the place when I came for my interview. Also, I lived in North Kent, so it was relatively close to home, and I liked the modular system, which allowed you to tailor your degree to your interests. I started off doing a broad biology degree, but ended up focusing on genetics, just before the revolution of sequencing and being able to directly determine gene structure. You then stayed on to do a PhD. Tell us about that. After my degree I knew that I really wanted to do a PhD. My thesis was an examination of tRNA suppressor mechanisms using classical genetics approaches, with Professor Lorna Casselton CBE [former Professor of Genetics at QMUL], who had supervised my undergraduate project. She was inspirational for me. Quite tough, but a wonderful teacher, role model and mentor. She had this passion for science, and taught me how exciting and fun it can be, and that’s stayed with me forever. For my PhD, we were using a fungus as a model - looking at what happens when you cross different

genetic strains to understand the mutations that help to correct defects in genes that are necessary for growth. It was mainly inference from the data that we were getting, rather than having the hard sequencing data that would be available today, and would easily allow you to identify mutations. I found the intellectual challenge fascinating. Then what happened? When I finished my PhD I was at a loose end. One day I was looking in the back of Nature and saw a post-doc position at the Institute of Cancer Research with the late Professor Chris Marshall. It wasn’t something that I’d considered before - I’d given very little thought to the possible applications of my PhD research, but it struck me as very interesting that you could apply your studies in biology to a disease. I don’t think my academic background made me a natural fit for the job, but Chris seemed to like the idea of me being a “geneticist.” Maybe I was the only person who applied! I’ve stayed in cancer research ever since. Have you been back to QMUL since you left? Actually, I came back in December 2014. I gave the Inaugural Women of Distinction in Science and Medicine Lecture at Barts Cancer Institute with Professor Fran Balkwill, Lead for the Centre for Cancer and Inflammation. Afterwards, we went over to Mile End and found my old lab from my PhD. It took me a while to get my bearings. But once we got up to the lab, I found that it had hardly changed at all. It was very surreal. I could easily have started working again.


BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

Tell us about your role at the Beatson Institute. The Beatson is one of five research institutes in the UK primarily funded by Cancer Research UK. There are around 250 scientists here, and our work is dedicated to cancer research, in particular areas related to tumour cell migration and invasion, metastasis, and also metabolism - how tumour cells survive. I’ve been the Director here for 13 years. What are the most rewarding aspects of your job? Lots. In terms of the science, it’s the aspect of discovery, and the hope that our research will translate into something that improves the lives of those with cancer. There’s also the satisfaction of helping other people to develop their research. It’s really fulfilling to nurture and help, especially with scientists just starting out. What are the skills and challenges of running a big lab? Often, in the early part of a scientific career, you are chosen for your ability to drive your own project, and manage your own work. At some point, if you do well, you’re moved into the position of looking after other people. But, in fact, you’ve never been selected for being good at that. It can be quite a challenge. I tried to learn from the people who looked after me. I was fortunate to have had a series of fantastic people who helped me and ran labs, from Lorna, to Chris to Dr George Vande Woude. All really successful scientists and fantastic mentors. One of your main roles in running a lab is to keep positive and enthusiastic, because a lot of it is failure - experiments that don’t work, papers that don’t get published, or disproving what you thought was true. It can be demoralising. Your job is to see the bright side, and keep people enthusiastic and engaged. That passion rubs off on other people.


Do you still do hands-on research? I don’t do experiments myself. But I have 10 people doing experiments for the research group that I run, which we discuss on a daily basis. We talk about what the results mean, how they can be interpreted, and what the next experiment is. The other, more strategic, work that I do running the Institute is great, but if I had to do only one, I would choose to stay in the lab and do science. Cancer research is a well-funded area. Does that make it easier? People see that it’s important, but with that comes responsibility. We are funded through the generosity of the British public to do a particular job - to improve the life of cancer patients. That expectation and responsibility is always there in your mind. We take it very seriously and it’s another big positive to the job.

It’s impossible to be an expert at everything: you need informaticians, computational biologists, clinicians, and chemists for drug development and discovery. Harnessing all these other areas of science is so important to developing our understanding and ability to develop new therapies.

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

Images from the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow

What are you particularly proud of in your career? Every area of science like this is always a team effort, involving people around the world. In my field, we have been trying to understand a gene and protein that is important in preventing cancer - a tumour suppressor called p53. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to change the activity of p53 in cells, and there are drugs in clinical trial that are based on work that we’ve contributed to. What have been the biggest changes in science during you career? The biggest change is the amount of information you can gather. Sequencing has completely revolutionised the study of many diseases. It is much easier to gather hard data, rather than inferring from secondary observations. That’s wonderful, but in some ways data gathering has become an end in itself. I sometimes look back fondly on the days when people worked through the problem in a more intellectual way. Science has also become more interdisciplinary. It’s impossible to be an expert at everything: you need informaticians, computational biologists, clinicians, and chemists for drug development and discovery. Harnessing all these other areas of science is so important to developing our understanding and ability to develop new therapies. As a result, I think people coming through today are more open to working with other people. They have to be more collaborative. Any advice for young graduates just starting out? Find something that you are absolutely passionate about and go for it. Don’t let people put you off or dissuade you. If it feels right in your heart, it’s probably the right decision.

When I told my school careers advisor that I wanted to be a scientist, she was not very impressed and told me I ought to work for a bank. Luckily I ignored her. How do you balance the demands of a senior role in science with life outside work? In my opinion, if you want to do it, you find time to organise your life to accommodate it. I have a happy life. I’m married and have a child. I didn’t have to give up on a home life to do science, although I do have a very supportive and understanding husband. I don’t think it’s so impossible. I’ve never felt any impediment to my career from being a woman or having a child. What do you like doing outside work? My husband and I enjoy hill walking, entertaining and we really enjoy travelling. We’ve recently been to Chile for a couple of weeks. I love being somewhere new exploring, getting a feel for a place. It’s a way off, but will you enjoy retirement? I used to think I’d retire when I was 60. But it’s hard to imagine not doing this job. To me, it’s not a chore. I love every day and will carry on for as long as I’m useful. At the same, I’d like to spend more time in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South East Asia. Maybe one day I might do that.


BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

Improving health in East London

East London Genes & Health

East London Genes & Health is one of the world’s largest community-based genetics studies, aiming to improve health among people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage in East London by analysing the genes and health of 100,000 local people. The study started in March 2015 and at the end of April this year already had 10,100 volunteers taking part in the first stage, involving a saliva DNA sample. Professor David van Heel, Chief Investigator and Joint Lead, from the Blizard Institute at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, gave us an overview of the project.


BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

Zoinul Abidin was the study’s 4,000th participant

Why is the study needed and what will it do? East London boroughs, and Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities in particular, have some of the highest rates of poor health in the UK. For example: • Pakistani men have the highest rate of heart disease in the UK and the risk of dying early from heart disease is twice as high among South Asian groups compared with the general population • People from South Asian communities are five times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than the general population • Tower Hamlets and Newham have the lowest life expectancy of all London boroughs. The study’s 4,000th participant Mr Zoinul Abidin, who presents on local radio station BetarBangla 1503 AM, commented about his involvement: “I am taking part to make a difference. I want to lead by example to encourage people from the local community to come forward and take part in this significant piece of research. I lost my father to diabetes and my mother also has it. In future years this research will play its part in saving lives, and I want to play my very small part in helping make a huge difference.“ The research program will last for at least two decades and support further research, including investigators studying our priority areas for East London of diabetes and heart disease. We will link genes with health records, to study disease and treatments. In the second stage, some volunteers may be invited to participate in further health research studies on the basis of data gathered from their samples, health records and information provided. The study is non-profit, where summary genetic data will be provided without restriction and any scientific investigator worldwide can apply to use the resource. Primary funding for the study is from a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award, with further funding from Barts Charity. It has also received a funding boost of £5m from the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) Catalyst scheme to build an East London Genes & Health Centre for Population Genomic Medicine on Newark Street in Whitechapel. Equipment for the new Centre has been provided by a £2m Medical Research Council Clinical

Infrastructure award. The Centre will let us invite volunteers for further research studies; one of the first will be a “metabolism check” where, as well as providing research samples and information, volunteers will receive their own detailed body composition scan and back of the eye digital photo. The Centre will provide a permanent base for the project, and include a public access area engaging people around genome science and art. The Centre will encourage interaction with other institutions, scientists and the private sector, led by QMUL in partnership with UCL and King’s College London. We published our first research study, in the journal Science in April 2016, on naturally occurring genes that are knocked out (switched off) in healthy adults. With our science education Centre of the Cell partners, we made a knockout game Gene Quest which is free to download on GooglePlay and iTunes. We have also made genome shows for younger and older children. In partnership with QMUL, East London Genes & Health is supported by Barts Health NHS Trust, local Clinical Commissioning Groups, and local charity Social Action for Health. Who can take part and what does it involve? East London Genes & Health is open to adults with and without health problems who regard themselves as of Bangladeshi, British-Bangladeshi, Pakistani or BritishPakistani origin. After giving consent, volunteers will donate a saliva sample which will then be examined for genetic information and this will be linked with an individual’s health records. Participation in the study is completely confidential, and no identifiable details (such as name or address) will be passed on or shared. For details on how to volunteer in the East London Genes & Health study or for more information, visit www.genesandhealth.org. Follow us on Twitter @EastLondonGenes, where we tweet about interesting things in human genomics and genetics, science education, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions relevant to people in East London.


BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

Your gifts to the Annual Fund This has been a wonderful year for our medical and dental students thanks to the kind support of people like you. Each year hundreds of alumni give generously to the Annual Fund, which helps our students to make the most out of their time at university and reach their full potential. With over 500 students and young people benefitting from your donations this past year, the impact of your support has never been greater.

December 2015 Club Sport Hardship Fund The Club Sport Hardship Fund subsidises costs associated with sports participation for students in financial hardship. This widens access to sport for students who are unable to participate due to financial barriers.

January 2016 The 100,000 Genomes project

September 2015 Honduras Global Brigades

Thanks to alumni donations, a group of 10 medical and dental students travelled to Honduras to provide medical, dental and public hygiene support to rural communities. The students assisted around 1,000 people during their stay.

November 2015 You helped Benedicta

Benedicta has been homeless on and off since the start of her course. A bursary from the Annual Fund helped Benedicta with rent payments and tube fares, meaning she could focus on her studies. She says: “When I found out I had received an alumni bursary I was over the moon. I cried! It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Now I can fulfil my dreams of becoming a qualified doctor.” 12

Five students from the Society of Rare Diseases were invited by Genomics England to attend the NHS Innovation Expo as a thank you for their hard work collecting clinical data for the 100,000 Genomes project. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students, made possible by your generosity.

March 2016 BCI STARS

Your support has enabled the BCI STARS (Barts Cancer Institute Science Training for Aspiring Research Scientists) programme to grow and flourish. BCI STARS gives postgraduate students the opportunity to engage with younger students to reinforce their science communication and teaching skills. The programme also offers pupils from the local community the opportunity to perform experiments, learn techniques and experience the research environment.

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

April 2016 Thanks from Harrison

July 2016 Intercalated Degree Hardship Bursaries

Five intercalated bursaries have been funded by the Annual Fund, giving medical students from poorer backgrounds the opportunity to intercalate. An intercalated degree creates extra points for their Foundation Programme application portfolio.

“Every year has been a financial struggle and things only seemed to be getting worse. Medicine is stressful enough as it is without having to worry about how you’re going to afford rent and food. I would like to thank you for your kindness and let you know this alumni bursary kept me going through some incredibly tough times.”

August 2016 Project Play

June 2016 Music scholarships

The Annual Fund supported 10 Music Scholarships this year. These scholarships make a significant and direct impact on talented and gifted students who have spent years studying music but have chosen to pursue another career path.

Alumni support has enabled Project Play to expand, building students’ skills through volunteering. Eighty student volunteers run out-of-hours activity sessions for children and their families, taking their minds off the fact that they are in hospital.

Will you join your fellow alumni and make a donation today? With your help we can provide more opportunities to students at Barts and The London across the next year. To show your support of current medical and dental students, please fill out the enclosed donation form and return it to the Development and Alumni Directorate. Alternatively, you can donate online at www.qmul.ac.uk/alumni/supportingqm. Thank you! 13

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

A memoir of music and The London Dr Anthea Holland (q The London, 1972) reflects on her longstanding connection with The London and how music has stayed with her.

neurological aspects of musical experience, which he explored in Music and the Brain - Studies in the Neurology of Music (Heinemann, 1977), the ground-breaking book he co-edited with Macdonald Critchley. How devastating therefore that, after a series of strokes, he himself developed receptive amusia. In my mother’s poignant words, “He couldn’t unravel music anymore.” Ronnie was the first member of my family to study medicine, joining The London Hospital Medical College in 1935 and appointed to the consultant staff in 1947, aged 32. The London played a significant part in our family life, especially around Christmas with children’s parties in the Old Library and tea parties on the wards; we offered posies of violets to the female patients and handkerchiefs to the men. Students on my father’s firm came to parties where we children would open up our pianola; music poured out as the pedals were pumped. We could never match the students in racing through The Blue Danube in the shortest time. My parents had fallen in love playing piano duets and my mother was also an accomplished singer. My father was President of The London Hospital Music Society for many years and a succession of extraordinarily talented musicians performed during musical evenings at home. There were also concerts in the Hospital Church (or Church of St Augustine with St Philip), now the Whitechapel Library for medical and dental students. Dame Janet Baker once sang here, her fee was £25.

My first, and still vivid, memory of The London was Christmas 1952, visiting my father who was convalescing after poliomyelitis, which caused a severe bulbar palsy. Ronald (“Ronnie”) Henson, Physician in Charge in the Neurological Department at The London, Physician at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Honorary Consultant Neurologist to the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain, President of the Association of British Neurologists, who in retirement served on the Arts Council and was Chairman of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music, was also my father. Caring for professional musicians enhanced his interest in 14

I joined the 1967 pre-clinical cohort at The London. Eight of us (less than 10 per cent) were female. I married Simon Holland, a fellow student, and enjoyed a career as a rural GP in the Forest of Dean. After retirement in 2000, I became medical director of a new day hospice in the Forest. In time this led me to look at the often inadequate palliative care provided for people with dementia.

Dr Ronald Henson (1915-94)

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

A concert at the Church of St Augustine with St Philip, 1966

And so for me Music and the Brain evolved into Mindsong - Music for Dementia - a practical response, using the burgeoning evidence of the value of music in general, and music therapy in particular, for people with dementia. I direct this Gloucestershire-based charity which works with upwards of 1,200 people with dementia annually. Music has always been there for me. As students we shared an eclectic mix of records in the Students’ Hostel, and queued overnight for tickets at Covent Garden. Singing in the hospital choir introduced me to Haydn’s Creation and Brahms Requiem and I played the oboe in the Hospital Orchestra. Choral singing remains an important part of my life. My younger sister, Felicity, joined me as a student four years later, also opting for general practice. Sadly she developed myeloma aged 34 and despite pioneering treatment at Homerton Hospital, died five years later leaving a young family. Her eldest daughter Susan (Howarth), has continued the family link, now through Barts and The London, and is a GP in Bethnal Green. I, meanwhile, am a patient, gratefully accessing world class treatment at Barts.

The London Hospital Music Society programmes Archive photos © The Royal London Hospital Archives and Museum

A Mindsong conference, Meaningful Music, took place in Gloucester Cathedral in April. A number of alumni participated including the Chair, Dr Peter Freedman (q The London, 1969); Professor Brian Colvin (q Cambridge/The London, 1969); Professor John Cox (q Oxford/The London, 1965); Dr Anthea Holland, and Mindsong President, James Gilchrist (q Cambridge/ The London, 1993), who abandoned his postgraduate medical training to become a singer on the international stage and who sang songs by Ravel and Schumann. It was also an occasion for a reunion of some Old Londoners from the 1966 pre-clinical cohort. Find out more about Mindsong at www.mindsong.org.uk.

And so the wheel has turned almost full circle…


BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

BLSA news William Atkins, BLSA President for 2015-16, reports… Barts and The London Students’ Association (BLSA) is going through an incredibly successful few years, with record numbers of students engaging with the opportunities the BL Boat Club Association offers. We now boast 17 sports clubs, 47 societies and five volunteering groups, many of which rely on input from alumni. So far this year we’ve seen phenomenal successes in all of these spheres. The BL Boat Club dominated in the United Hospitals Novice Sprints, winning every single race in which a boat was fielded; BL Drama put on a fantastic Senior Play (Kafka, no less!), and our Saving Londoners Lives group has helped to train more schoolchildren than ever before in first aid.

The BLSA itself has also gone from strength to strength. In July last year, Rites of Passage took place at St Paul’s Cathedral for the first time. It was a truly spectacular ceremony, with nearly 2,000 people there to see our graduands cross the stage and collect their scrolls. We have a full programme of events planned this year including the annual Association Dinner, the first Halfway Dinner in recent memory, and our graduation events, including Rites of Passage, which we will be holding at St Paul’s again. It is incredibly inspiring to see all of our new students getting stuck in to everything that makes Barts and The London great and we look forward to sharing future successes with you. Rites of Passage at St Paul’s Cathedral, July 2015

Highlights from the Barts and The London Sailing Club The Sailing Club returned to Burnham-on-Crouch for a weekend of sailing - a lovely sail topped off with a BBQ at the Yacht Club introduced our Freshers to the joys of Burnham. Thanks to our new partnership with Greig City Academy we had use of their minibus and there was no dodgy driving on Sunday to contend with.

BL Sailing Club 2015-16

This year has been extremely busy with lots of sailing and socialising. We began with our Taster Session at the Docklands in October, followed by a BBQ and a few drinks, which was popular with both Freshers and the old regulars, despite the threatening clouds. With our new members on board, we began participating in Race Training with new coach Katie, who has been helping us to develop our Fleet Racing skills. Our Royal Yachting Association level 1 course, which ran in November for beginners, saw triple the numbers of participants compared to last year.

We have also had a few socials with the Fresher Curry back in September, as well as a cracking Christmas dinner at the Royal Burnham Yacht Club (a return of the “Santa Sailing”) and thanks to the hard work of our committee, we have a new sponsorship deal with The White Hart in Whitechapel (£2 weekday pints…in London…they must really like us!). BL Sailing is also very proud to have Professor Bruce Kidd, Deputy Dean for Education, as our new Staff President. Finally, we now have a very stylish range of BL Sailing clothing, including rugby shirts, jackets, fleeces and ties. Do get in touch for more info. http://blsailing.wix.com/blsailing

BL Sailing @BartsLondonSC


BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

BATLAA events © Oliver Trampleasure

Inaugural BATLAA-BLSA Dinner a great success

Over 100 guests, including alumni, students and staff members, attended the inaugural BATLAA-BLSA Captains’ and Presidents’ Dinner at the Charterhouse on Friday 15 April. The evening commenced with a lively drinks reception and an overview of the history of the Charterhouse, followed

by a sumptuous three course meal and lots of swopping of memories of Barts and The London. Planning for next year is already underway. If you would like to be kept informed of arrangements, please email batlaa@qmul.ac.uk.

Bumper turnout for this year’s Dental ACM

The London Hospital Dental Club Annual Clinical Meeting, held on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 February, was our biggest Meeting in recent years with over 220 attendees joining us for networking and CPD lectures with expert speakers. Dr Phil Taylor, Club President for 2015-16 and Clinical Director for Dentistry in the School, commented: “So many people smiling and reliving experiences from so many years of Dental School history was a great experience to watch and I was not disappointed by the speakers who were all home grown consultants and showed the exceptional talent we currently

have at the School and Barts Health NHS Trust. Thank you for making me proud to be an adopted Londoner and, yes, we are the friendliest Dental School of all!” Next year’s Meeting is being curated by Dr Aditya Naidu (q BDS, Barts and The London, 2006; MClinDent Prosthodontics, Barts and The London, 2012) and will be held on Friday 24 - Saturday 25 February 2017. Register your interest to receive more details at batlaa@qmul.ac.uk.

See more photos from both events at www.qmul.ac.uk/alumni/events/previousevents. 17

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

Reunions galore Many of you have been busy organising reunions for your year groups. Here are some reports of recent events.

35 years on - Barts 1980/81 qualifiers: October 2015

Dr Wendy Adams and Dr Cheryl Jones (q Barts, 1980) write: Over 100 of us, guests included, enjoyed a sit-down buffet lunch in the Great Hall at Barts and entertaining stories of our student days from four highly witty speakers: Rob Hill, Lisa Harvey, Helen Spoudeas and Jeff Kaplan. We were reminded of a wonderful era when working hard and playing hard was the order of the day and that this particular group of doctors has produced many eminent medical personages. Several individuals provided proof of past tomfooleries in the form of photos highlighting events such as The Lord Mayor’s Shows and various Clubs and sporting activities. Sadly the day passed all too quickly but we are keen for a future reunion, emphasising the strong bond that was created all those years ago at our very special alma mater.


40 years on - The London (Dentists) 1975 qualifiers: December 2015

Dr Peter Williams (q BDS, The London, 1975) writes: We met in the new Dental School in Turner Street, where we instantly recognised each other despite some not having met up for 40 years. Three third year dental students showed us around and many of us felt we would have liked to swap their units with ours! It was interesting to get first-hand experience of how students feel about their future careers but we were also able to show them that we still love our profession 40 years on. You can guess where we went next…The Good Samaritan or “Sammy”, where we got into the swing of renewing friendships. I had to use all my powers of persuasion to get everyone to move from there to the Old Library, where a sparkling wine reception awaited us. After some introductory words of welcome and grace, we sat down to enjoy a good meal and wine. We were delighted to hear from Professor Paul Wright, who was a lecturer when we started. He told us about certain members of staff from our time, how the School has evolved and undergraduate training today. Russ Ladwa concluded with a few jokes and a vote of thanks for all those involved in the evening and I closed proceedings by raising a toast to all those who qualified 40 years ago, those who were not able to attend and others who are sadly no longer around. As we said goodbye, we all hoped that we would meet up again in the not-too-distant future.

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

Read the full reviews at www.qmul.ac.uk/alumni/events/previousevents.

40 years on - The London (Medics) 1975 starters: September 2015

Dr Paul Siggins (q The London, 1981) writes: Our reunion at the Alexandra House Hotel in Wroughton, near Swindon, started with teatime drinks and much reminiscing - some searching of the memory banks was necessary as some of us hadn’t seen each other for 35 years and hairlines change, beards come and go and waistlines expand with time! Many had to be persuaded to leave the bar to get changed for the main event with dinner and dancing, a photographer capturing the scenes, before bed or bar depending on their preference. The last carriage left the hotel bar at 5.30am! We even managed to do more “reunioning” over breakfast the next day, and are looking forward to the next event in five years’ time.

50 years on - The London (Dentists) 1965 starters: October 2015

Professor Paul Wright (q BDS, The London, 1969) writes: Fifty “Freshers” arrived at the Dental School in October 1965, 46 eventually graduated some years later and friendships that developed then have stood the test of time. Together with their partners, 25 made it to the Royal Society of Medicine in London for a reunion, one even travelled from Australia. The event was generally informal, the chatter hardly ceasing for eating, but was briefly subdued for a welcome from Laurence Lando, a brief update on The London from myself, and a short reminder from Brian Westbury of those who could not be with us. Later, Brian Skinner, in a reflective speech, reminded us how fortunate this group of “Baby Boomers” had been in the period of our active careers, in the earlier time when growing up post-war, and now in a comfortable retirement. And on that note we parted, hoping to meet again at another reunion in five or so years’ time.

Forthcoming reunions 2016 For more information about the following events or if you would like help organising or promoting a reunion, please contact batlaa@qmul.ac.uk. For an up-to-date list, visit www.qmul.ac.uk/alumni/events. 20-22 September The London (Medics) 1968 starters and 1974/75 qualifiers

3-4 November The London (Medics) 1961 starters and 1966/67 qualifiers

10 October The London (Medics) 1962 qualifiers

19 November The London (Medics) 1976 starters and 1981/82 qualifiers

14 October Barts 1966 starters 19

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

BATLAA Alumni news We are always pleased to hear from our former students so do keep in touch and share your news. Email batlaa@qmul.ac.uk or submit your update using the enclosed form. For more Barts and The London alumni news, visit www.qmul.ac.uk/alumni/news.



Dr Peter Olney (q The London): “After nearly 30 years of

Dr Chaand Nagpaul CBE (q Barts): Chair of the British

being a GP in Norwich, my wife and I moved to London to be close to our son and daughter, also a GP.” 1962

Professor Jeremy Hardie (q BDS, The London): Has

written two biographies since retiring and moving from London to Great Malvern in 2007. The first, Troyte Griffith: Malvern Architect and Elgar’s Friend (Aspect Design, 2012), is about the architect of his house, and the second, Variety is the Spice of Life: The Worlds of Eric Midwinter (Third Age Press, 2015), is about one of the co-founders of the U3A, the historian and prolific author Eric Midwinter. He is now writing a double biography about the lives of the organist, choirmaster and conductor Martindale Sidwell, and his wife Barbara Hill, who was a distinguished pianist and harpsichordist. It is hoped that this will be ready for publication in 2017. 1968

Dr Roy Palmer (q Barts, 1963; The London): Elected

Master of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of the City of London in August 2015. Having been medical director of the Medical Protection Society (1989-99) and a coroner for 16 years, he retired as full-time coroner for South London last year but retains a part-time appointment as coroner in the City, dealing with, among other cases, deaths at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee, received a CBE for services to primary care in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015. 1989

Dr Richard Pollok (q Barts): A Consultant

Gastroenterologist, has been promoted to Clinical Reader at St George’s Hospital in London. 1993

Professor Amrita Ahluwalia (q PhD, Barts): Professor of

Vascular Pharmacology and Deputy Director of the William Harvey Research Institute, has been appointed Editor-inChief of the British Journal of Pharmacology, for a five year term. She was awarded the 2015 Prize for Research by the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) Campaign, which celebrates women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. 1996

Professor Mauro Perretti (q PhD, Barts and The London): Professor of Immunopharmacology and Co-Director of the William Harvey Research Institute, has been appointed Dean for Research at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. He has also been elected Foreign Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences in recognition of his discoveries in biomedical sciences and contribution to pharmacology.

The Dr Richard Callander Hudson legacy At the end of last year, the Trustees of the Barts and The London Alumni Association Benevolent Fund were informed that the late Dr Richard Callander Hudson (q The London, 1957) had very generously made a gift to the Fund in his Will. Dr Hudson, a former GP in Colchester, who passed away on 3 May 2014, has left a legacy in excess of £250,000 to provide hardship support


to current Barts and The London students. This gift will have a transformative impact on the experience of our medical and dental students and we are very grateful to Dr Hudson for his kindness and forethought. If you would like to find out more about making a bequest to Barts and The London in your Will, please email annualfund@qmul.ac.uk.

BLC | Barts and The London’s Alumni magazine | 2016

Alumni remembered A list of members of the Barts and The London community who have passed away can be found at www.qmul.ac.uk/alumni/batlaa. Obituaries can be submitted to batlaa@qmul.ac.uk.

Dr Dan Tunstall-Pedoe (1939-2015)

Professor Aubrey Sheiham (1936-2015)

Dan was an identical twin in a non-medical family, choosing Barts when his brother chose Guy’s. After Cambridge, before qualifying, they headed their student medical societies, arranging a joint meeting of the Abernethian and Pupils’ Physical Societies when © Natasha Lewer Barts and Guy’s had never previously met - traditionally Guy’s was Whig and Barts Tory!

Born in South Africa in 1936, Aubrey Sheiham qualified from the University of Witwatersrand in 1957 before moving to London, where he worked in general dental practice. Within a short period, he commenced his remarkable academic career: Lecturer in Prosthetics; a combined post of Lecturer in Oral Surgery at the University of London and Research Fellow in Dental Epidemiology at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria; and a senior lectureship in Periodontology, prior to moving into his adopted academic home in dental public health.

Dan married a Barts nurse, Robin Shankland, and later went to Oxford as a clinician and research fellow. There he studied invasive blood velocity measurement, when the cardiology norm was recording pressures. After time in the USA, he returned to a joint academic/NHS appointment in cardiology at Barts and Hackney. He developed an interest in non-invasive blood-flow measurement by Doppler ultrasound but was frustrated by lack of support for his research and publications - the subject only became fashionable later. Following his schoolboy interest in athletics, Dan moved into sports cardiology, pioneering marathon medicine. He ran a cardiology department single-handed for many years for Hackney district, was a respected undergraduate teacher, and started the London Sports Medicine Institute, with funding transferred at its last gasp from the Greater London Council. There he organised research and ran a postgraduate diploma course. He was the key clinician in the planning and commissioning of the new Homerton Hospital, supporting it when he thought it was being done down by big brother down the road. Dan was also responsible for sponsoring modern artworks around the site. As well as running, he continued his schoolboy hobby of photography, taking amazing macrophotographs of insects, leading to a touring exhibition. He continued this when progressively afflicted into retirement with Parkinsonism, which he bore with great courage. Dedicated to the NHS, and unpaid medical director of the London Marathon for 27 years, giving sensible advice to hundreds of thousands of runners, copied worldwide, his numerous lengthy and prominent obituaries raise the question why he was never honoured. He was irreverent of authority, and championed his patients, known by his juniors for writing ‘blistering’ letters when justified - not the way to get a gong. Predeceased by his wife, he is survived by three non-medical children, and by his twin, a cardiovascular epidemiologist. Professor Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe Emeritus Professor, University of Dundee

In 1975, Aubrey was appointed Lecturer in Dental Public Health at what was then The London Hospital Medical College. Within 12 months, he had been promoted to Senior Lecturer, and, in 1982, to Reader and Head of Department. Two years later, he was appointed as Professor of the Joint Department of Community Dental Health and General Dental Practice at UCL and The London Hospital and it was here that he laid the foundations to develop a generation of individuals from all over the world to help improve oral health and its management. Aubrey’s work can be summarised through his continual fight to address oral health inequalities, challenging both the food and drink industries and the dental profession. He had over 400 publications, the majority of which continue to be cited. He was awarded Honorary Doctorates by the University of Athens and University of Western Cape and received the International Association for Dental Research’s Distinguished Scientists Awards in Behavioral Sciences and Health and the American Association of Public Health’s Special Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Dentistry. His contribution to primary dental care cannot be understated. Based on data from national adult dental health surveys, he began to pose challenging questions on training, workforce and care modalities. Indeed, when appointed to his Chair, one of his key developments was that of outreach placements for dental students into practice to help the transition from dental school to practice, long before vocational training was even an option. Dr Paul Batchelor (q PhD Dentistry, Barts and The London, 1998) Honorary Lecturer, UCL


Profile for Queen Mary University of London Alumni Network

BLC 2016  

The magazine for alumni and friends of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

BLC 2016  

The magazine for alumni and friends of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Profile for qmalumni

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded