Wednesday 6 February 2013

Research successes
Congratulations to all involved in our latest batch of research grant successes: £158K from the ESRC to Dr Ben Wheeler for his project ‘Beyond Greenspace’; £143K from ESRC to Dr Ginny Russell for her project ‘Recent trends in the diagnosis of developmental disorders: are there really more children with autism, dyslexia and ADHD?’; £360K from BUPA to Professor Mike Depledge to support a Senior Research Fellow working on the Well World Index; £161K from the NIHR for a RfPB award to Dr Bev Shields entitled ‘Systematic review to identify clinical criteria that predict Type 1 diabetes as defined by absolute insulin deficiency’; £120K from Shell UK to Professor Charles Abraham to support two PhDs; £360K from Merck Sharpe Dohme to Dr Tariq Ahmad for the project ‘study of anti-TNF therapy on Crohn's Disease’; £33K from the Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation to Dr Emma Dempster for her project ‘Epigenetic profiling of monogzgotic twins discordant for schizophrenia’; £83K from Diabetes UK to Dr Kim Gooding for her project ‘An investigation into the mechanisms of action of incretin based anti-diabetes therapies in the human vasculature’; Drs Anne Spencer and Antonieta Medina-Lara, both Assoc Profs in Health Economics, who were co-applicants on the Business School-led major ESRC award of the ‘Centre for the Study of Risk and Ambiguity.’

Transfer to Medicine
The Medical School has agreed to allow up to ten per cent of Medical Sciences students to transfer to the first year of the BMBS Medicine programme after completion of their first year. This will be for students with AAB at A level or equivalent qualifications, who have achieved high average scores of 1st or 2:1 level. These students will be invited to attend a selection interview. No UKCAT scores will be required although further conditions may apply. For more details of the admission process via this route please contact BMBS admissions team at

PGR students grow
The number of new PGR students in UEMS has now reached double figures and is continuing to grow. The full range of PGR degrees is now available to study via UEMS namely MPhil and PhD but also MD and MS (Master of Surgery) in both full-time and part-time modes. A UEMS Research Degrees Committee has been formed and is being chaired by Professor Noel Morgan. For any information on PGR degrees in UEMS or any other PGR matter please contact Nick Church ( in the first instance.

Email Migration
Evaluation of the task to transfer staff mailboxes from PCMD/PMS accounts to UoE has been completed. Staff in Exeter IT will plan and undertake the migration in batches; the work will hopefully be completed by the end of April.

Online expenses
The new on-line expenses system in the Medical School will be launched during the week commencing 11 February 2013. A further communication with more specific details will be issued on Friday 8 February. This will be followed by your individual Welcome email which will give details of how to access the system.

Veysey developments
Veysey Building is on lease from Plymouth University until 2015 and now comes under UEMS for administration and infrastructure management, and UoE Campus Services for most maintenance work. As a result of this agreement, and the demerger from Plymouth, new UoE swipe cards will be issued in the near future for all Veysey staff and those with a bona fide need for access. The room booking arrangements will also change over the coming weeks to an Exeter system. The land adjacent to Veysey building has been sold by Plymouth to David Wilson Homes, and is now subject to a housing development of approximately 30 new homes. Building works will commence in the next few months. Whilst we will be liaising with the contractors during the construction period to minimise disruption, the development of the site will permanently reduce the number of car parking spaces available at Veysey. UEMS and the UEMS Project Team are reviewing the options to try to reduce the impact of this on staff. All suggestions to:

GMC bid progressing
UEMS has submitted its application for recognition as a new medical school to the General Medical Council. The submission was over a thousand pages long and marks the beginning of a five year cycle of visits and intense scrutiny. Many members of the education team have experience of successfully navigating this process from their work in the early years of PCMD. The first GMC visit to UEMS is scheduled for May.

Preparedness for practice
PCMD medical students are among the best prepared for practice as F1 doctors. The UK Medical Careers Research Group have just published the results of the 2008 and 2009 preparedness for practice survey. They found that PCMD ranked second out of 32 medical schools when graduates were asked how well their medical school had prepared them for work as a F1 doctor. In addition, the UK Foundation Programme F2 Career Destination Survey reports that PCMD medical students are equally well prepared for hospital-based specialty training as GP training. 26% of 2010 graduates are now training as GPs and 31% have entered training programmes in other specialties.

Study afternoon
‘Mojitos, Marijuana and Medicine’is the subject of a study afternoon on Wednesday 6 March 2013 at the Knowledge Spa in Truro which is designed to raise awareness of drug and alcohol abuse in doctors, dentists and medical and dental students. Contact:

Health Economics ‘comes home’ to Exeter
The Health Economists’ Study Group 2013 winter meeting hosted more than 120 delegates from research groups around the UK and elsewhere. As well as discussing a diverse range of health economics papers, two celebratory lectures were given by Professor Tony Culyer and Professor Alan Maynard OBE, who were both lecturers in economics at the University of Exeter in the late 60s and early 70s. See and

Health and medicine showcase
A dynamic event highlighted the wide range of medical and health research involving the University of Exeter, the NHS and business partners. Staff from a number of University departments, the NHS, local charities and businesses, as well as students, gathered in the Forum, to speak to researchers first-hand about their pioneering work as part of a poster display. Interdisciplinary opportunities in research were highlighted by the key note speeches from Professor Nick Stone of Physics, Dr Natalia Lawrence of Psychology, and Professor Jonathan Mill, of the University of Exeter Medical School (UEMS). Photos from the event can be viewed here.

Institute of Health Service Research Seminar
The medicalisation of everyday life: Medical domination or social progress? Is the subject of a seminar to be delivered by Sir Denis Pereira Gray OBE on Wednesday 20 Feb from 1-2pm in the Lecture Theatre, Veysey Building, Exeter. Sir Denis will illustrate the growing influence of medicine through recent history, citing the extension of interventions and novel medical technologies, the lowering of thresholds required for treatment, and the extension of medical jurisdiction to cover behaviour and lifestyle choices. Contact:

Artist in residence
A new grant awarded to the European Centre for Environment & Human Health, at the University of Exeter Medical School, will allow researchers to explore their work through the contrasting medium of art. With the support of funding from The Leverhulme Trust, academics at the Centre will be working with resident artist Jonty Lees to help make environment and human health issues visible to a wider audience.

Hazardous appointment
Professor Michael Depledge, Chair of Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School, has been appointed as a member of the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee. The new committee is designed to provide government ministers with expert advice and ensure that rigorous science underpins policy decisions on hazardous substances.

How to leave hospital earlier – or avoid it altogether
A new report by the UEMS researchers sheds new light on how health and social care arrangements can avoid hospital admissions or enable people to leave hospital earlier. The report suggests when and for which types of patient such arrangements are likely to be more effective, and concludes that service users, carers and professionals must plan care together for successful outcomes.

Study Identifies Key Indicators for Oesophago-Gastric Cancer
A study by the University of Exeter and supported by PenCLAHRC has analysed electronic primary care records and found sixteen features (symptoms, or abnormal blood results) which helped to identify oesophago-gastric cancer.Over 15,000 new cases of the condition are diagnosed each year in the UK. The study showed that the symptoms identified and reported in secondary care were also important in a primary care setting, and that the results should inform guidance and commissioning policy for upper GI endoscopy. The study is published in the British Journal of Cancer. The findings have already been adopted by the National Cancer Action team, and are being disseminated to GPs early in 2013.

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