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Gloucestershire Hospitals’ Biophotonics Research Unit scoop innovation award

BRU team photo

The Staff Awards 2015 for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust took place at Hatherley Manor last month, celebrating the hard work, loyalty and dedication of teams and individuals across the organisation.

The West of England AHSN was delighted to sponsor the Innovation Award, which was won by Professor Hugh Barr, Dr Catherine Kendall, Dr Gavin Lloyd of the Biophotonics Research Unit (BRU) team.

They were selected for their commitment to high quality research and innovation to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients – and also for that very special ability which each of them has to inspire others – their colleagues, their peers and the scientists and clinicians of the future.

The application of this science holds enormous potential for improving the diagnosis and treatment of disease, including cancer

Progress in medicine and clinical care would never come about without the skills and enthusiasm of our researchers and innovators. A number of the Trust’s clinicians and scientists have been at the leading edge of novel advances in medicine over the years – and amongst this group are the members of the BRU team.

Biophotonics is the science of the interaction of light with tissue, which holds enormous potential for improving the diagnosis and treatment of disease, including cancer.

The BRU is a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and scientists working closely together, focused on translating science into the clinical environment and driving innovation forward.

The Unit was established 20 years ago by Professor Barr, a Consultant Upper GI Surgeon, who was inspired to develop new ways of diagnosing and treating disease – in particular oesophageal cancer. He remains Clinical Lead for the Unit, alongside Dr Catherine Kendall, Consultant Clinical Scientist who is the Scientific Lead. Dr Gavin Lloyd is a research fellow, with expertise in the field of chemometrics (data analysis).

The Unit creates opportunities for a wider team of clinicians and scientists to carry out high quality research and to gain higher degrees. Their contribution is invaluable in developing the research, which is funded by national and international grants.

The research focuses particularly on the clinical applications of Raman and Infrared spectroscopy. These technologies are being developed as a diagnostic platform for a range of clinical applications.

Collaborations both national, international and with industry are vital for the development of this research, in particular with Prof Nick Stone at the University of Exeter and Dr John Day at University of Bristol. Commercialisation aspects of the work are explored in conjunction with NHS Innovations SW.

A particular strength is that the Unit is not isolated, but is embedded as a recognised department within the Trust, much valued by colleagues for the wider contribution which it makes to the work of the hospitals.

As well as being outstanding in their clinical and scientific fields, each of these three colleagues also have a very special ability to communicate their science and to inspire others – their colleagues, their peers, and through their work with young people, the scientists and clinicians of the future.

The United Nations designated 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, which makes it all the more fitting to these three leading members of the Biophotonics Research Unit won this award this year.

Posted on December 1, 2015

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