Haematology

Immune cell functions in lymphoid malignancies

About 5,000 people in the UK annually develop aggressive lymphoid malignancies. The genetic and cellular causes underlying their pathogenesis remain unknown.  Since individuals with primary and iatrogenic immunodeficiencies have increased risk of developing lymphoma, we hypothesise that covert defects in the immune system may predispose.

Furthermore, immune cell frequency may be important prognostically and predict treatment responses, particularly with checkpoint inhibitors and bispecific antibody constructs.

The ACF will join a team using multi-omics technologies to characterise immune populations and functions in patients with aggressive lymphoid malignancies. Single cell approaches will be used to identify not only tumour heterogeneity (using bio-banked biopsy samples) but also rare cell populations

The ACF will develop B cell antibody panels for CyTOF and undertake analysis of circulating immune cells. The ACF will perform detailed analysis of peripheral blood and tumour immune B cell populations using this technique to study cellular subsets and identify alterations that may be important in the development of disease.  Results will be correlated with clinical outcome. They will work alongside members of the team currently utilising 10x single cell RNA sequencing technology (in collaboration with the NUCLEUS genomics facility, Leicester).

Determining the clinically relevant anatomy to teach UG medical students

Human anatomy has been a core component of undergraduate medical education for many years, and while it continues to be a key theme, the depth of anatomy taught has seen a steady decline. The need for a solid foundation of anatomical knowledge, while more readily appreciated as essential for those pursuing surgical careers, is important for any practicing clinician. Clearly, which areas of anatomy are most relevant will vary depending on the postgraduate speciality. With ever increasing pressures on space within the UG curriculum, there is obvious priority to ensuring what is taught best enables students to meet the demands of the breadth of future clinical practice.

While the GMC do not currently stipulate specific outcomes for the level of anatomy within the UG medical curriculum, the future introduction of the UK Medical Licensing Assessment will likely lead to efforts to better establish ILOs for the basic sciences, as a whole. In 2016, in response to the lack of consensus and guidance on the appropriate level of anatomy, the Anatomical Society defined a core regional anatomy syllabus of 156 ILOs, which were to help curriculum planners determine the clinically relevant anatomy to teach UG medical students. The proposed ILOs were determined by a Delphi panel of experts, which included surgeons, radiologists and anatomists.

The first step of the project will involve a series of focus groups and surveys with a variety of early clinical trainees from medicine, surgery and primary care. The purpose of this will be to identify whether there are elements of the 156 identified ILOs that represent a base of anatomical knowledge common across a breadth of specialities (surgical and non-surgical). The second step will be to explore how well they perceive (by self-report) to have retained knowledge of those areas of anatomy (identified in the first step of the project).

The findings from this project will help to better define areas of anatomy that are seen as most important, relevant and common to a breadth of clinical specialities. Further work/projects could explore how this anatomy could be prioritised or given greater attention within the UG medical curriculum, or early postgraduate period and whether there are any interventions that can be applied to improve retention of knowledge in those areas.

Education

If you are interested in progressing an educational research project within the speciality please contact Professor Bob Norman who is based in the Leicester Medical School.