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The MRC WIMM is still one of a relatively small number of international institutes in which outstanding medical research is so closely linked with basic science, with the aim of both producing pioneering translational research and training the next generation of scientists.

Many of the major scientific breakthroughs at our Institute have had a strong translational impact. Our scientists have clarified how the HIV virus and the malaria parasite avoid the immune system and have developed vaccines for meningitis. Our work has established the molecular basis of thalassaemia and identified key genes and processes in a variety of human genetic diseases. Our researchers have discovered the mechanism by which cells and tissues can sense and adapt to oxygen levels (for which they received the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 2019) and how paternal age can have an effect on disease. In addition we have shown how some severe neurological diseases result from immunological disorders that can be radically improved with new therapies. In 2018, work from our researchers led to a new set of national guidelines on leukaemia monitoring for children with Down Syndrome.

The translational impact of our research is also clear from our growing relationship with industrial partners. Half of our Faculty currently have productive relationships with biotech and pharma. Work at the Institute has generated many patents, and a number of start-up companies were founded by our scientists, including Avidex (now Immunocore), Orbit Discovery, Oxford Immunotec, Zegami (now Videntai), and Alethiomics.

Our contribution to science and society is evident in the awards received by the Institute and our academics. Since our foundation we have hosted 15 Fellows of the Royal Society and in 1996 we were awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education by her Majesty the Queen.

We are extremely proud of the way in which our staff and students have gone on to succeed in their careers after leaving the Institute. Many went on to establish complementary research institutes in Oxford and beyond. Some examples include:


Prof Charles Bangham, Chair of Immunology, Imperial College London
Sir John Bell FRS, Regius Chair of Medicine, University of Oxford
Prof Roy Bicknell, Professor of Functional Genomics, University of Birmingham
Dr Paul Crocker, Professor of Glycoimmunology, University of Dundee
Dame Kay Davies FRS, Professor of Anatomy, University of Oxford
Prof Jeremy Farrar FRS, Director of the Wellcome Trust
Prof Jonathan Frampton, Professor of Stem Cell Biology, University of Birmingham
Prof Frances Gotch, Emeritus Profess of Immunology, Imperial College London
Prof Ann Harris, Professor of Paediatrics, Northwestern University
Prof Chris Higgins, former Vice Chancellor, Durham University
Prof Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford
Prof Anthony Monaco, neuroscientist and President, Tufts University
Prof Paul Moss, Professor of Haematology, University of Birmingham
Sir Peter Ratcliffe FRS, Nobel Prize winner and Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford
Prof Gavin Screaton, Head of the Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford
Dr Swee Lay Thein, Chief of Sickle Cell Branch, NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute