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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Knowledge Exchange at BSMS

BSMS > Research > Knowledge Exchange at BSMS

Knowledge Exchange at BSMS

We define Knowledge Exchange as a flow of skills, expertise, technology and/or information between Brighton and Sussex Medical School, our two partner institutions Universities of Brighton (see more here) and Sussex (see more here) and the outside world (to a non-academic audience). It is any collaborative endeavour that translates knowledge and research into meaningful impact that improves society and the economy.

Find out more about colloborations at Sussex here >


Benefits of knowledge exchange 

Throughout the University, KE enhances our collective capacity to contribute to social and economic growth while drawing in more funding from external sources.

In Brighton and Sussex Medical School, we aim to work together to invest in research activities that contribute to the evidence and science underpinning clinical practice and that benefits people and patients in their health and wellbeing.

Our research adds to interested parties (including beneficiaries) understanding of how medicine and healthcare develop, facilitate health dialogues, and increase the scope and impact of our deliverables through collaborative research initiatives.

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What might collaboration with BSMS look like?

Collaboration and knowledge exchange at BSMS/Sussex can take many forms, but some common activities include:

  • Industry funding
  • Filed patents
  • License agreements and spinouts
  • Industry-driven collaborative trials
  • Industry research facilities on campus
  • Consultancy services

Examples of our knowledge exchange activities

BSMS hosts Lifestyle and Cognitive Health Symposium

Dr Dorina Cadar, Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Epidemiology and Dementia at BSMS, led the Lifestyle and Cognitive Health Symposium on 13 July 2023 at the Jubilee Library in Brighton in collaboration with ARC KSS, Brighton & Hove City Council, and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). The symposium was attended by more than 35 people in person and 12 people online. The programme comprised various talks delivered by researchers from BSMS, the University of Sussex, the University of Brighton, University College London, Birkbeck College, ARC KSS, local public practitioners from Brighton & Hove City Council, and government representatives from the UKHSA. The topics covered included modifiable risk factors for cognitive impairment and dementia, social engagement and other determinants of successful cognitive ageing, types of fatigue and biological mechanisms, and governmental initiatives to support healthy ageing. The aims of the event were to break down barriers between research and community, offering opportunities for open dialogue to involve, interact with and listen to voices of wide sections of society with the goal of generating mutual benefit and enabling possibilities for community planning. Members of the public interacted with the speakers and shared their lived experiences.

A group of people listening to talks organised by BSMS for the Lifestyle and Cognitive Health Symposium in July 2023 at the Jubilee Library in Brighton

Sussex team’s deal takes them one step closer toward developing a treatment for ALS disease

A group of researchers led by a professor at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and backed by the University of Sussex, has signed an exclusive licence agreement with ILTOO Pharma in Paris, France to enable them to develop a potential treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

ALS is the most common type of Motor Neurone Disease. MND affects up to 5,000 people in the UK at any time and is a progressive disease for which there is no cure. The prospect of a treatment which could extend and improve patients’ lives could offer a ray of hope for many people. The group of researchers is called the “MIROCALS” consortium. They have signed a worldwide licensing agreement with ILTOO Pharma in Paris. The agreement means the pharmaceutical company can use the data from the research to develop low dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) as a treatment. 

Read the full story here >

Roundtable on Advances in Dementia care and living well with Dementia

Professor Naji Tabet, Katherine Sykes, and Dr Rebecca Atkinson led a round table discussion with key stakeholders working across dementia services throughout Sussex to explore the impact of new advances in dementia diagnosis and treatment on the care of people living with dementia in our region. After hearing about new developments, the dementia programme in Sussex, new NHSE proposals for Dementia, and the challenges faced by people diagnosed with dementia, the group explored how ready Sussex is for advances in Dementia diagnosis and treatment and how they can work better to deliver services for people living with dementia across our integrated system.

A group of people around a table having a discussion and listening to a speaker


CISC Open Day

On 8 December 2022, the Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre (CISC) celebrated its 15th anniversary with an open day. The event brought together almost 100 researchers and leaders in the area of imaging, including chemists, pharmacologists, biologists, physicists, computer scientists, clinicians and associated areas along with industrial communities to engage in thought-provoking discussions. The aim was to showcase CISC, its people, research and equipment, and thereby to facilitate and encourage new collaborations with researchers from our partner universities, clinicians and the industrial sector.

Read more about CISC here >

A group of people in a foyer talking next to poster boards at the CISC open day in 2022

Are we ready for personalised medicine to treat children’s asthma and allergy?

A public engagement event was facilitated by Professor Somnath Mukhopadhyay on 11 August 2022 at the Jubilee Library, Brighton. Professor Mukhopadhyay gave a talk highlighting the opportunities for a new "one-size-fits one" as opposed to our current "one-size-fits-all" approach for medicine. This could tackle current un-met needs within medicine. For example, despite improvements in protocols and large investments in healthcare, over a third of children with asthma continue to suffer from poor control. We explored the role of personalised medicine in addressing this problem. We explored how a recent BSMS-led trial has shown improvements in quality-of-life using this approach in children with inadequately controlled asthma. This facilitated a discussion on how the results of this trial and related work can be translated into practice, and whether that could lead to a meaningful impact on the lives of children with asthma. The participants were very motivated, and included parents, charity representatives, and hospital and university staff, and represented a primarily non-academic audience. The CEO of Rockinghorse Charity and officials from Action Medical Research attended the event and these charities are working collaboratively to advance research and co-create solutions.


Current projects with industry

We have a range of industry collaborators including major pharmaceutical companies (e.g. Gilead, Servier, Takeda), foreign government bodies (e.g. Ministries of Health in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda), non-governmental bodies (third sector, e.g. Pan-American Health Organisation, Impactt). In collaboration with a software company BSMS has developed a hugely popular online learning platform for medical students and doctors (‘CAPSULE’) which has been licensed to 23 medical schools so far. 

Here are some companies we are currently working with:


  • Gilead Sciences (Pharmaceutical)
  • GenPax (Pathogen Genomics)
  • Laboratoires Servier, France (Pharmaceutical)
  • ViiV Healthcare (Pharmaceuticals)
  • 113 Botanicals Ltd
  • Akrivia Health (advanced drug discovery & development in mental health and dementias)
  • Karl Storz (endoscopy); OpenMedical (Digital pathways)
  • Takeda Plc (Pharmaceutical); Protexin Plc (Probiotics)
  • JPT Peptide Technologies (Biotech)


  • Ministries of Health in Ethiopia (GHRU1, GAP), Rwanda (GAP, 5S, GHRU2), Kenya (GAP), Uganda (GAP)
  • Ethiopian National Podoconiosis Action Network (GHRU1, 5S, GHRU2); Heart & Sole Africa (5S Rwanda)
  • Impactt Limited (ethical trade, human rights)
  • PAHO (Pan-American Health Organisation); Bolivian Network of Women and Mining
  • The BSMS ‘CAPSULE’ medical content is currently licensed to 23 many medical schools

Our team


Prof Chris Pepper

Professor Chris Pepper, RM Phillips Chair in Experimental Medicine and BSMS Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange   

Prof Chris Pepper gained his PhD in medicinal chemistry from the Welsh School of Pharmacy in 1993. Since then his research career has been primarily focused on one disease, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). He has published more than 100 research papers, as well as numerous reviews and editorials, and has consistently secured grant funding from major sources including Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research (now Bloodwise), Cancer Research UK and the Association of International Cancer Research. His research has made a number of notable contributions to the field of CLL and is internationally recognised as demonstrated by sustained contributions to the world literature in high impact factor journals. In addition, he is an author of eight global patents and the co-founder of a Cardiff University spin-out company called TeloNostiX. 



A head and shoulders shot of Nick Bull, smiling and wearing a grey shirt

Nick Bull, Business Partnerships Manager (BSMS and Life Sciences) 

Nick supports impactful and innovative collaborations with business working with academics across the School of Life Sciences and the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Nick can connect you with a range of engagement opportunities including contract research, consultancy services, Innovate UK funding including Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and IP licencing.



Deeptima Massey profile photo

Deeptima Massey, BSMS Research Manager

Deeptima provides support in developing the school's research environment and strengthen research capacity. This includes working closely with Chris and Nick in the planning and oversight of activities related to knowledge exchange and focusing on mechanisms of how to achieve impact through policy engagement and partnerships with industry.



Recent innovation projects

BSMS has funded several innovative projects in the last five year to create new or build existing activities. A few examples are: 

Permission taken from all three Pis to share the content 

A new sexual health and HIV digital vending machine has been launched at the University of Sussex Student Union Reception Building, funded by the Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) – project led by Professor Jaime Vera

As part of the intervention of using vending machines to improve access to STI testing around Brighton and Hove, the machine is aimed at students, and offers free, confidential and accessible testing for sexual health conditions. It’s the latest in an initiative that has now placed eight digital vending machines around the city, including the Jubilee Library and soon one at the University of Brighton Moulsecoomb campus. The award-winning machines were developed by the Martin Fisher Foundation in collaboration with academics from BSMS in 2017 and funded by Public Health England (PHE) as part of the HIV Prevention Innovation Fund. The machines provide STI testing kits for people without symptoms who want to check their sexual health or HIV status – The machines contain self-sampling swabs and blood sampling equipment which will be tested for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV when returned through the post to the Sexual Health Clinic. The machines also have  oral HIV self-tests which are extremely accurate (99.7%) and give a result in just 15 minutes.  We are conducting an evaluation of the implementation of this exciting initiative with results expected in early 2023.

HeartRater II: Realise your full potential through the power of interoception – project led by Professor Hugo Critchley and Dr Jessica Eccles

Anxiety costs the UK over £8.9 billion/yr. At Sussex, we developed a novel therapy for anxiety, Aligning Dimensions of Interoceptive Experience (ADIE) that targets bodily aspects of anxiety. A randomised clinical trial demonstrated ADIE's effectiveness in improving anxiety in autistic adults. During covid lockdowns our development of a digital platform HeartRater:Clinical successfully delivered ADIE to patients with complex physical conditions in their homes with online therapist guidance.  Using HEIF support, we are working with service users and contractors to develop HeartRater:Clinical to improve ADIE’s accessibility for underserved patient groups, notably those who do not benefit from standard treatments. We seek to implement better heartbeat sensors that improve reliability in patients with poor peripheral circulation and/or darker skin, and we will enhance the user-interface for self-administration, before testing in a multisite clinical trial. Lastly, we will secure pathways for commercialisation, including a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) NHS trial with health economic evaluation.

Resilience+: Building a Global Partnership to understand resilience during pandemics Led by Dr Marija Pantelic

The UKRI Higher Education Innovation Fund enabled us to form Resilience+, a partnership between BSMS and three international civil society organisations: the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), the International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW) and the Global Network of Young People Living with HIV (Y+). We also partnered with national community organisations in the UK, Zimbabwe, Philippines, Argentina and Trinidad. Together, we co-produced a participatory study on resilience during pandemics and a short film documenting the daily thoughts and lives of 30 people living with HIV during the Covid-19 pandemic in five countries. GNP+ provided additional funding and in-kind support for co-production workshops, subtitles for the film in multiple languages, and ten ‘watch parties’. The watch parties offered a safe space for people living with HIV to discuss their mental health and coping during the Covid pandemic – some of these watch parties were hosted in person within local communities and others were hosted virtually for regional and international audiences in English, Russian, Arabic and Spanish.