Underpinning the research themes, the Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre supports infrastructure capabilities to address bottlenecks and facilitate translational research. This infrastructure complements the project-specific support from the Centre used to seed new collaborations and for PhD training

 

The Centre supported infrastructure is a mixture of scientific equipment, research facilities and dedicated personnel housed across both Imperial College London and The Institute of Cancer Research, London. It is accessible to researchers from the ICR and Imperial at low/no cost for work that aligns with our remit and research theme priorities.

 

Please get in touch with the Centre team for general infrastructure information or for specific enquiries, please use the contact details below.

The Centre provides an organoid culture and biobank facility, housed at the ICR (Chelsea) with dedicated technical support, which has three objectives:

 

  • To provide on-site training in the use and propagation of organoid cultures to engineering and physical sciences laboratories working with such systems for the first time
  • To ensure the robustness and reproducibility of organoids, in particular when associated with the development of new technologies and methodologies
  • To establish new cancer organoid models and disseminate clinically annotated organoids to the ICR and Imperial research communities.

Access to the facility will be on a competitive basis with requests for project proposals made throughout the year with timings dependent on capacity. As with all Convergence Science Centre funding, proposals must be from cross-institution collaborative teams and use engineering/physical sciences expertise to address research or clinical questions in cancer.

 

For information, contact Axel Behrens (a.behrens@imperial.ac.uk).

 

The Centre provides a microfabrication and prototyping facility, housed at Imperial (South Kensington and White City campuses) for the rapid production of small devices for pre-clinical in vitro studies. Supported by a dedicated technician, the facility has access to clean room facilities and a range of equipment for the development of bespoke devices. This includes 3D printing, laser cutting, electronics and access to an SU8 system for the mask free production of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) multilayer devices at 2-micron resolution. The facility can be used for the production of, for example, microfluidic devices, organs-on-chip, biosensors, electrochemical sensors, microneedles and others. 

 

The facility will provide training for researchers undertaking device fabrication for the first time. Access to the facility will be on a competitive basis with requests for project proposals made throughout the year with timings dependent on capacity. As with all Convergence Science Centre funding, proposals must be from cross-institution collaborative teams and use engineering/physical sciences expertise to address research or clinical questions in cancer.

 

For information, please contact Miguel Hermida Ayala (m.hermida-ayala@imperial.ac.uk).

The Centre offers a digital histopathology facility, housed at the ICR (Sutton), for the generation of large clinically annotated imaging datasets for Artificial Intelligence analysis. Using a CODEX system for multiplex immunohistochemistry (IHC) and with dedicated technicial support, the facility aims to leverage the large amount of patient specimens, especially from clinical trials, available at the ICR, Royal Marsden Hospital and Imperial. These will be used to feed a data generation pipeline producing high dimensional geospatial IHC maps of a range of cancers to allow study of the tumour, tumour microenvironment, protein expression profiles and characterisation of tumour associated stromal and immune cell populations. In addition to providing this facility to Centre funded researchers, we aim to make the data available to ICR and Imperial research teams developing automated AI driven image analysis tools thereby expanding the repertoire of AI pathology solutions available to cancer biologists.

 

Access to the facility will be via on a competitive basis with requests for project proposals made throughout the year with timings dependent on capacity. Priority will be given to projects that address demonstrably important clinical/cancer research questions that require AI approaches to address them and have samples with detailed clinical annotation.

 

For information, please contact Chirine Sakr (Chirine.sakr@icr.ac.uk).


The Centre has access to a Fluidigm Hyperion mass spectrometry imaging system (UK Dementia Research Institute, Imperial) available for use at reduced cost by our funded researchers.  The Hyperion Imaging System is a time-of-flight ICP-MS instrument and can achieve a resolution (1 μm2), which is comparable to light microscopy. It allows simultaneous interrogation of up to 37 protein markers using Maxpar® metal-tagged antibodies, and with the ability to utilize up to 135 channels, it is a highly multiparametric and quantitative approach for the identification of phenotypes and proteins on cells within tissue architecture.

 

For information, please contact Zoltan Takats (z.takats@imperial.ac.uk).

 

The Centre has funded the purchase of a Muvicyte microscope, housed at the ICR (Chelsea) as part of its imaging core facility. It supports the development of assays prior to testing using new microscopy/analytical techniques to confirm the reproducibility across different platforms. It is an automated live-cell imaging system designed to operate inside a cell culture incubator allowing the long term visualisation of cells under optimal conditions. It has an open design allowing the use of a wide variety of culture vessels and can accommodate microfluidics platforms. The microscope features three-color fluorescence plus brightfield imaging and has 4x, 10x, and 20x (LWD) objectives with digital zoom. Image stitching enables the analysis of larger objects such as tissue sections, stem cell colonies, or an entire well. Z-stacking extends the range of imaging in the z-direction for 3D objects or thicker samples such as spheroids. The microscope has image quantification software for commonly used assays and supports the easy generation of cellular movies.

 

For information, please contact Chris Bakal (chris.bakal@icr.ac.uk).


The Centre provides access to a human factors researcher to provide advice on the clinical impact of their research and its integration into existing standard of care protocols. This uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to generate evidence designed to support the development and adoption of technologies, in particular point of care devices. Using systems analysis, usability evaluation, stakeholder interviews and process mapping research, advice can be provided at the initial project design stage, for follow-up funding applications or during clinical implementation to ensure the greatest scope for clinical utility.

 

For information, please contact Patrick Kierkegaard (p.kierkegaard@imperial.ac.uk).