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Welcome to the MRC WIMM blog, a blog aimed at a scientifc, but non-specialist, audience. All posts are written by members of the MRC WIMM!

Student Matt Dickinson discusses how he took the unusual decision to do a PhD in medical research following a degree (and practice) in veterinary medicine- and discusses the unexpected benefits of career changes.

A WIMMter Wonderland

In this festive post, we look at how MRC WIMM researchers turned their science into decorations as part of this year's Christmas decorations competition.

‘An evening with’ are informal events where established scientists with a connection to the MRC WIMM spend an evening with our students and staff, discussing their career and sharing their thoughts with the next generation of scientists. In this new feature in our blog, we interview the scientists who have kindly given their time to join this event, starting with Professor Sir Walter Bodmer, FRS, Emeritus Professor and Head of the Cancer and Immunogenetics Laboratory in the Department of Oncology.

How do multiple enhancers control the activity of a single gene? A new paper from Marieke Oudelaar in the Hughes/Higgs labs presents a novel approach called “Tri-C”, which uncovers how cis-regulatory elements interact together in higher-order structures.

Clone Wars: A New Model

How do rare mutations accumulate in tissues and how can this lead to cancer? In this post, Hannah discusses a new paper from Ed Morrissey's lab that uses mathematical modelling to study this process in the human colonic epithelium.

As a PhD student at MRC HIU, I usually spend my days in a white lab coat peering down a microscope, but this July I temporarily gave all that up to undertake a placement on the science desk at The Guardian newspaper.

Erdinc explains what preprints are, why he uses them.. and why he thinks you should too.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Gregorio Dias shares his personal journey as a PhD student and discusses how a better work-life-balance and spending more time with friends helped him overcome the stress and anxiety that he faced during his studies.

Blood production by haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells is complex, with multiple proposed models of differentiation. In this blog post, Zahra Aboukhalil, Bilyana Stoilova & Dimitris Karamitros discuss how the Vyas lab is using single-cell technologies to uncover the ways in which blood progenitors generate mature cells.

The intricate biological cascades that fine-tune cellular protein production are hugely complex – and so is the task of deciphering them. We found out more about a new technique developed in the Fulga lab to disentangle this regulatory web.

Melissa Bedard, a DPhil student in the Cerundolo Lab , writes about her research on invariant natural killer T cells, and the starring role they may be able to play in the fight against cancer.

Layal Liverpool, a DPhil student in the Rehwinkel lab, writes about her research on how cells are able to tell the difference between their own molecules and those of invading viruses.

On 29 September the University put on its largest-ever public engagement activity across several locations and well into the evening. The Curiosity Carnival aimed to engage people from all over Oxford in the exciting and varied research that goes on within the University. Dannielle Wellington, a postdoc in the Dong lab, spent the last 4 months organising one of the highlights of the night – The Blood Factory. In this piece she tells us more about what it was like to be involved.

A recent study from Jan Rehwinkel’s lab in the MRC Human Immunology Unit has revealed a new way in which cells sense and respond to invading viruses.

An important open question in biology is how different cells get directed to the right part of this manual to find the instructions for their specific tasks. A new study, published in in Nature Cell Biology today, by a team of scientists co-led by Doug Higgs and Ben Davies shines light on the underlying structural processes that help the cells work out which part of the manual to read to establish their identity.

Have you ever wondered where all the different cells in the blood come from? Believe it or not it is down to one type of cell, called hematopoietic stem cells, which can give rise to which ever blood cell type the body needs. Christina Rode discusses and visually explains where these cells come from, what they do and why they are so important.

A fully functioning immune system is dependent on good communication between many different types of cell. We know that one set of cells detects damage and infection, while another leaps into action to defend the body. But we weren’t entirely clear how the two ‘talked’ to each other. New research by the Jackson lab suggests that a special type of carbohydrate acts as the broker between the two.

Development is complex business – from the moment a sperm fertilises an egg, a cascade of biological processes is set in motion, and small changes in this cascade can cause a number of different developmental conditions. A new method developed by the Sauka-Spengler Lab can help understand the nuts and bolts that regulate these developmental changes in a very special set of cells.

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy generally work by causing damage to the DNA of cancer cells. Unfortunately, cancer cells can become resistant to this DNA damage and therefore resistant to the treatments. Recent collaborative research in the WIMM between labs in the Department of Oncology and the MRC Human Immunology Unit sheds light on this process, revealing new markers of treatment resistance in patients and potential future drug targets.

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