Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The annual symposium brought together researchers from across the Institute to discuss the latest research and celebrate this year’s achievements.

In a wonderfully sunny day, the 12 talks and 45 posters presented at the MRC WIMM Day provided an excellent opportunity to showcase the Institute’s research on rare diseases, haematology, immunology and infection, stem cells and developmental biology and cancer biology.

Student speakers at MRC WIMM day© Erdinc SezginStudent speakers at MRC WIMM dayA particular highlight of the day was the student session, where 4 students (selected at the student day earlier in the year) competed for the Ita Askonas Medal. The topics ranged from immune checkpoints to genome engineering, and clearly showed the high level of research conducted by our DPhil students. Choosing a winner was a tough task for our Scientific Advisory Board, and two students- Yale Michaels (Fulga group) and Alba Rodriguez Meira (Mead group), both from the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, were jointly awarded the medal this year. Poster prizes were awarded to Marieke Oudelaar (1st prize, Hughes group), Isabelle Stewart (2nd prize, Bannard group) and Tiago Luis (3rd prize, Jacobsen group).


A real treat was the 7th Weatherall lecture, delivered by Prof Aviv Regev from the Broad Institute in the USA. Named after our founder, Prof Sir Weatherall, the lecture has, over the years, attracted speakers of the highest calibre. Prof Regev’s talk did not disappoint, as she explained how computational biology is integrating a wide range of data to bring us closer to produce a ‘periodic table of our cells’, a project called the Human Cell Atlas.


Celebrating public engagement

Prof Kay Davies (MRC Scientific Advisory Board) tries out the VR headsetProf Kay Davies (MRC Scientific Advisory Board) tries out the VR headsetThe symposium was also an opportunity to highlight some of the best examples of engagement with the public by researchers from across the Institute. The individual prize (£300 Amazon vouchers and £300 towards a public engagement activity or conference) was awarded to Eleni Louka from the Mead and Roberts groups. Eleni set up the first UK parent group for families with children that suffer from a rare and aggressive form of childhood leukaemia called JMML. The meeting brought together parents, presented current research and discussed ways in which the group could help affected children in the future. Those involved are now taking steps to establish this as an ongoing group, set up a patient website, organising fund raising for future research and encouraging patient recruitment.


DNA origami team© Erdinc SezginDNA origami team


Prof Hal Drakesmith, winner of this year's Andrew McMichael prize© Erdinc SezginProf Hal Drakesmith, winner of this year's Andrew McMichael prizeThe team prize was awarded to the DNA origami team, which developed a set of hands on activities and virtual reality experience that explored the size of the genome, the tools being used to explore DNA packaging in the cell, and how important this packaging is for health. This was originally taken to the Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2017, but has now branched out into a variety of other public engagement and scientific projects. The winning team was awarded a restaurant voucher to celebrate their success. Attendees could also have a go in the virtual reality experience over the coffee breaks. Honourable mentions were also given to the Blood Factory team, that converted a room in the Oxford Museum of Natural History into an immersive and engaging experience on all things science and blood, and the team led by Dr Andrew Armitage and Hal Drakesmith that collaborated with STEM Science Learning Partnership to develop a one day course for science teachers.

Finally, this year’s Andrew McMichael Medal for excellent graduate supervision was awarded to Prof Hal Drakesmith, Associate Professor of Immunology at the MRC Human Immunology Unit.


A very enjoyable day

“WIMM Day was a great showcase for the progress in our basic and translational work in the MRC WIMM. It was a particular pleasure to hear the student talks which were of the highest quality both in terms of research and presentation.” Said Prof Doug Higgs “The Weatherall lecture continues to attract the most prominent biomedical scientists and this year’s presentation from Aviv Regev was outstanding. Overall a very enjoyable day which reflected the upward international trajectory of the MRC WIMM”

The symposium concluded with a trip to a nearby beer garden, a gathering organised by the Postdoc and Student Associations.


In the pub 1.jpg
In the pub 2.jpg



Similar stories

Giulia Orlando becomes a John Goldman Fellow

Many congratulations to Dr Giulia Orlando, who has become a 2021 Leukaemia UK John Goldman Fellow.

Join us at the IF Science and Ideas Festival

Come down to Templars Shopping Centre on 23rd or 24th October 2021 for ‘Science at the Shops’ as part of IF Oxford Science and Ideas Festival.

Hashem Koohy receives Turing Fellowship

Fellows are established scholars with proven research excellence in data science, artificial intelligence (AI), or a related field.

New atlas revealed of bone marrow haematopoiesis during development

A new study published this week in Nature, provides the most detailed analysis so far of the prenatal development of blood and immune cells in the bone marrow.

Changes in blood cell production over the human lifetime may hold clues to patterns of disease

A new paper published in Cell Reports reveals that changes in the gene expression of blood stem cells occur across the human lifetime; an important step in the understanding and treatment of blood disorders.

New Associate Professor appointments announced

Congratulations to Dr Bethan Psaila, Dr Benjamin Fairfax, Dr Hashem Koohy, Dr Andrew Blackford and Dr Oliver Bannard who have all been awarded the title of Associate Professor in recognition of their research achievements, contribution to teaching and contributions to the Medical Sciences Division.