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On Thursday 9 May, the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) held its best Away Day yet at St Catherine’s College in Oxford.

Professor Sir John Bell, Professor Caroline Moore, Professor Dorry Segev, Daljit Dhariwal and Dr Gurdeep S. Mannu presenting at the Away Day, and Dr Edward O’Neil receiving his NDS Staff Award from Professor Freddie Hamdy.

The 2024 NDS Away Day offered attendees the chance to discover more about the work being undertaken within the department, as well as an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the wealth of achievement and talent across our community.

The event comprised of short research talks by Fungai Dengu, Alex Gordon-Weeks, Catherine Lovegrove and Gurdeep S. Mannu, whilst Alex Green, Richard Bryant and Sheraz Markar highlighted three surgical trials from the SITU NDS trials portfolio. 

The day also featured presentations from Ashok Handa, Mei Nortley and Daljit Dhariwal who provided an insight into the changing face of undergraduate surgical education, and Kokila Lakhoo who spoke about the Oxford University Global Surgery Group

We were excited to welcome many guest speakers. Professor Sir John Bell, Former Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, talked about the trials, tribulations and the joys of the Regius Professor. For the Andrew Bushell Memorial Lecture, Professor Dorry Segev from New York University gave a talk on how artificial intelligence will impact surgical care, and Professor Caroline Moore from UCL spoke about her journey in prostate cancer. 

Plus, Dr Hannah McGivern introduced the Bodleian Health Care Libraries' Services, Megan Morys-Carter presented an overview of digital innovation in the NHS and Frances Parkes provided information on the Thriving at Oxford wellbeing programme.

At the end of the day, Head of Department Professor Freddie Hamdy announced the winners of the NDS Staff Awards for the year 2023. All members of the department were asked to nominate colleagues in six categories, and the winners were decided by the NDS Staffing Committee.


Community Advocate of the Year 

Valentine Macaulay 

Val invests in the growth and development of her colleagues, offering guidance, mentorship, and support to help others succeed in their roles. She consistently demonstrates a selfless attitude, consistently placing the well-being and interests of others ahead of her own, without seeking reciprocation. She is also the departmental disability lead.

Nominees: Nicky Iyer, Martin Gillies, Dimitrios Doultsinos

Administrative Professional of the Year  

Elizabeth Latham 

Liz is a very strong team member and a vital part of the small OCHRE team. She will always offer her time and expertise to help and support others, even when her own workload is demanding. In preparation and during the recent HTA inspection, Liz went above and beyond to help support the team and ensure processes were in place. She is approachable, compassionate and caring, and has a strong work ethic which she radiates throughout the team. 

Nominees: Zoe Uttley, Louise Stile, Ana Gil-Bernabe, Monica Dolton, Jo Snoeck, Tim Eden, Emily Hotine

Sir Peter Morris Scientific Achievement of the Year 

Edward O’Neil 

Ed has been successful in securing a prestigious Prostate Cancer UK Career Acceleration Fellowship worth £784K. His research will focus on improving radionuclide therapy for prostate cancer, a new form of targeted radiation therapy that seeks out and irradiates prostate tumour cells within the body.

Nominees: Sheraz Markar, Srinivasa Rao Rao

Technician of the Year 

Alison Horne 

Alison is a data manager in NDS SITU and primarily works with the REDCap database used for most clinical trials. She has been instrumental in ensuring the creation, and maintenance of a number of trials, using her years of experience and wisdom to guide Trial Managers and Chief Investigators alike to create databases that collect trial data in an efficient and practical way, whilst minimising effort for sites and users. 

Nominees: Kerry Clare, Marta Oliveria, Adam Lambert

Early Stage Researcher of the Year 

Olivia Lounsbury 

Since arriving in the department, Olivia has rapidly progressed to successfully filling roles which would normally be held by someone many years her senior. She is currently leading work as the first author on two upcoming publications related to the RESPOND trial. She presented on behalf of the trial at the NDS Surgical Grand Rounds last year and is mentoring a group of junior doctors across England in implementing Quality Improvement projects that align with the aims of the trial. Outside of NDS, Olivia has continued to pioneer patient safety research in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Hospital, Imperial College London, and others.  

Nominees: Catherine Lovegrove, Oliver McCallion 

SPACE Group - Collaborative Effort of the Year 

Members: Alastair Lamb, Sandy FigielWencheng YinSophia AbusamraThineskrishna AnbarasanNithesh Ranasinha

The SPACE group receiving their NDS Staff Award from Professor Freddie Hamdy. From L-R: Alastair Lamb, Nithesh Ranasinha, Sandy Figiel, Thineskrishna Anbarasan, Wencheng Yin, Freddie Hamdy and Sophia Abusamra.

The SPACE Team have developed the first comprehensive Spatial Transcriptomic pipeline in Oxford. They have published a landmark paper in Nature, demonstrating, for the first time, that many mutations previously thought unique to cancer, were already present in benign prostate. The SPACE Team is a really supportive team. Alongside the team’s scientific endeavours, is an equal focus on developing team-members skills and, wherever possible, fostering happy and fulfilled workers.

Nominees: Oxford Islet Isolation Team, SITU, TRIG