UoA4: Other Hospital Based Clinical Subjects

UCL’s UoA4 submission embraces 306 Category A staff in the Faculties of Biomedical Sciences and Life Sciences. This represents a world-leading grouping of basic and clinical hospital-based research, underpinned by other UCL Faculties, including Engineering and the Physical Sciences. Strong links with multiple, world-renowned NHS Trusts have recently been further consolidated by three Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Partnerships (one comprehensive and two specialist). TABLE 1 lists the component Divisions and Institutes of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences central to this return, their companion Trusts and the BRCs.


Institutes and Divisions of the Faculty of Biomedical Science returned under UoA4:

10 Institute of Ophthalmology
EI Ear Institute
EM Experimental Medicine comprising:
  Division of Medicine
  Division of Surgery and Interventional Sciences (incorporating Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science)
IWH Institute for Women’s Health
ICH Institute of Child Health

Companion NHS Trusts

MEH Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
RNTH Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
RFH Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust
RNOH Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust
GOSH Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust
WN Whittington Hospital NHS Trust

Biomedical Research Centres (BRC)

Comprehensive BRC UCL/UCLH
Specialist BRC in Child Health ICH/GOSH
Specialist BRC in Ophthalmology IO/MEH

UoA4 comprises six of the 13 research Institutes/Divisions of the UCL Faculty of Biomedical Sciences (FBS).  Other components of the FBS are being returned to UoA2, Cancer Studies; UoA3, Infection and Immunity; UoA6, Epidemiology and Public Health; UoA9, Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology; UoA10, Dentistry; and UoA11, Nursing and Midwifery. The FBS co-ordinates its components, and interacts closely with the Faculty of Life Sciences (FLS) and other Faculties of UCL. Indeed it is the increasing integration across UCL, and with partner NHS Trusts, which enables a translational research agenda and lies at the heart of UCL’s recent successes and its strategy for future growth and accomplishment. Clear examples of this success include large numbers of high impact publications (see below), significant impact on UK biomedicine and substantial grant income. In addition, under the NCCRCD training initiative, UCL and NHS partners now host 111 Academic Clinical Fellows, 48 Clinical Lecturers and 17 Clinical Senior Lecturers.

Integration across UCL has been facilitated by major structural change since 2001. Then, UCL Biomedicine consisted of two Faculties (Clinical Sciences – FCS and Life Sciences - FLS) plus five recently incorporated Research Institutes of which 4 were separately submitted to RAE2001. The opportunity to optimise integration and multidisciplinary working culminated in the 2005 Provost’s Review (Chair: Professor Sir Keith Peters).  As a result, the FCS and Research Institutes were amalgamated in 2006 as the FBS, with 13 thematically based research Divisions/Institutes.  The new FBS, led by Professor Ed Byrne, building on the foundations of the last few years has developed many cross-Faculty collaborative ventures in research and teaching.  The Provost’s review of Life Sciences followed in 2006 (Chair: Professor Alan North) and resulted in the formation of two main FLS Divisions. Co-ordination of research and teaching between FBS and FLS has been achieved by the creation of the UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences, with the aim of delivering a joint strategy.  

Clinical impact: new diagnostics and treatment

Gene and stem cell therapy

  • Successful somatic gene therapy for X-linked and ADA-deficient severe combined immuno-deficiencies (Thrasher).
  • First gene therapy trial for eye disease (Ali).
  • Stem cell therapy for ocular surface disease (Daniels).
  • Phase III trials in cancer cachexia and gene therapy for cardiovascular disease arising from Martin patentsO1&2.

Other novel therapies

  • First robust demonstration of the clinical benefits of biventricular pacing in chronic heart failure (McKenna).
  • First 59 cases of non-invasive percutaneous pulmonary valve replacement in children (Bonhoeffer).
  • Identification of the renoprotective effects of eprosidate in systemic amyloidosis (Hawkins).
  • First treatment for high risk proliferative vitreoretinopathy (Khaw).
  • MRC trial for per-operative control of scarring has influenced treatment worldwide (Khaw).
  • Identification of IL-1 antagonism as new treatment for Neonatal Onset Multisystem Inflammatory Disease and Muckle-Wells syndrome (Hawkins).
  • First international multicentre randomised controlled trial of neonatal cooling to prevent perinatal hypoxic ischaemic injury (Wyatt).

Advances in diagnosis and management

  • Risk algorithm to predict sudden death in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HOCM), now part of US, European and UK-NSF management guidelines (McKenna).
  • Establishment of national network for the identification, genetic testing and treatment of familial hypercholesterolaemia informing NICE guidelines (Humphries).
  • More accurate diagnosis of amyloidosis subtypes leading to individualised therapy (Hawkins).
  • Discovery that phytosterolaemia is the single cause of Mediterranean macrothrombocytopenia; now successfully treated with low-sterol diet (Stewart).
  • Sentinel node biopsy as the preferred method for breast cancer staging per-operatively (Ell).
  • Demonstration that infant formula feeding predisposes to later development of insulin resistance and vascular dysfunction (Lucas).
  • Molecular detection of micro-metastases in gynaecological cancer (Jacobs).
  • Development of first comprehensive biostatistical data on UK childhood obesity (Cole).


Numbers of high impact publications published by staff in UoA4 are listed in TABLE 2.

TABLE 2: High impact publications (generally IF ≥ 10)

JOURNAL Number returned in RA2 Not returned including reviews
Nature Journals* 64 28
Circulation 31
Am J Human Genetics 22 4
New Eng J Med (NEJM) 14
Gastroenterology 13 1
J Clin Invest 12
J Exp Med 9 1
Science 9
Cell Journals
Current Biology
Trends and Physiol Reviews 0 31

* Including 18 in Nature

Despite the major reconfiguration of UoAs between RAE2001 and RAE2008, research funding for the 3 main research clusters of Children’s and Women’s Health, Special Senses and Experimental Medicine can be compared in the 2 assessment periods. In RAE2001, research income was £142 M (260 Category A); in RAE 2008 it has risen to £286M (306 Category A). Yearly totals are given in Table 3. The 2003-2004 peak is largely attributable to Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF) monies. Total JIF and SRIF2 amounts to £17.5M. From 2002 to 2007, net of JIF there was a 40% increase in income (15% from 2006 to 2007). OSI Research Council income increased by 45%, NHS R+D support has trebled and UK Government income quadrupled. In 2007 the average research income per Cat A returnee was £160K.

TABLE 3: Research Income

Year 2002
Income £M

Substantial programme-type funding (awards of 4 years or longer) of over £153M was held during the assessment period, 65% from Research Councils, Wellcome Trust, BHF, CRUK and Foundation Fighting Blindness. Infrastructure support to maintain the high research activity and impact amounted to £81M in new facilities, laboratory refurbishment and major items of equipment (2001-2007). Current grants and contracts are over £186M.

Download full text of the RA5a statement for Other Hospital based Clinical Subjects (pdf 288Kb)

Staff names below link to submitted publications:

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