Cambridge lies on the River Cam approximately 50 miles north of London. At the United Kingdom Census 2011, its population was 123,867 including 24,506 students. Cambridge became an important trading centre during the Roman and Viking ages, and there is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area as early as the Bronze Age. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although modern city status was not officially conferred until 1951.

The University of Cambridge, was founded in 1209. It includes King’s College Chapel, Cavendish Laboratory, and the Cambridge University Library, one of the largest legal deposit libraries in the world. Anglia Ruskin University, evolved from the Cambridge School of Art and the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, also has its main campus in the city.  Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology Silicon Fen with industries such as software and bioscience and many start-up companies born out of the university. More than 40% of the workforce has a higher education qualification, more than twice the national average.

Cambridge was the venue in 1986, with Alastair and Anne Smellie as hosts; champagne from his garden cellar was much appreciated. The meeting was held in the lecture theatre of the Clinical School, and included presentations on the History of the Cambridge Medical School and of Cambridge Surgery, followed by a comprehensive symposium on transplantation chaired by Professor Sir Roy Calne. Friday’s dinner in Queen’s College was followed by Saturday lunch in Pembroke.

On 14-16 September 2017 we had our second TSS visit to Cambridge, and it was unusual on several fronts. Because we had no local TSS host, our own David Ralphs of Norwich conferred with Cambridge’s retired Professor of Surgery Andrew Bradley who arranged for his transplant successor Professor Mike Nicholson to supervise our scientific meeting. Held in the lecture theatre of Trinity Hall College, the four sessions covered a great variety of topics, starting with an overview of the evolving Cambridge Biomedical Campus which will facilitate close cooperation between clinicians and scientists. There were then presentations on abdominal wall reconstruction, the management of upper gastro-intestinal perforation by vacuum drainage, managing necrotising pancreatitis with delayed surgery without prior antibiotics, the diminishing role of axillary lymphadenectomy in breast cancer, an overview of free-flap breast reconstruction, multi-visceral transplantation, ‘robotic’ laparoscopic surgery for resectable renal cancer, screening for and management of aortic aneurysms, hepato-biliary challenges, experimental studies on the regulatory pathways in the gut, and ex-vivo perfusion of the kidney and other donor organs for transplantation.

The final session consisted of six presentations for the Trainee Prize which was won by Surgical Research Fellow Dr Patrick Trotter who promoted the use of organs from donors with treated hepatitis C whilst other speakers touched on surgical training and medical student Olivia Sharpe discussed her elective experience of plastic surgery in Phnom Penh. This full scientific day underlined the strength and assured future of research in Cambridge, in transplantation especially but in other fields also, and it was unsurprising the programme over-ran by an hour.

The social side started on our arrival at the Quy Mill Hotel with a two hour visit to the National Trust property of Anglesey Abbey (now a private house and estate), and ended on the Saturday after the Business General Meeting with two hours on the River Cam beyond The Backs aboard the custom-built riverboat Georgina on which we had fish and chips and a detailed commentary. On Friday a tour of the heart of Cambridge had been enjoyed by those not at the science session. Our formal reception and dinner, arranged by Mark and Janet Watkins in the elegant black-panelled dining hall of Queens’ College, was held on our first night. On our second night, guests at the dinner in our hotel were Professor Andrew Bradley and his wife Eleanor (Dr Bolton), Professor Mike Nicholson and his scientific assistant Dr Sarah Hosgood, orthopaedic surgeon Professor Andrew McCaskie (the current Professor of Surgery) and hepato-biliary surgeons Mr Raj Praseedom and Mr Paul Gibbs (who is also a transplant surgeon).


The images above show King’s College (Right) and Queen’s College Dining Hall (Left)