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March 28th saw the annual WIMM Day at the Saïd Business School, Oxford. Presentations from all departments of the WIMM were made along with nearly 50 posters.

Dr Stuart Orkin was the guest speaker of the day and presented the 3rd Weatherall Lecture with a seminar entitled 'Bringing genetics and epigenetics to fetal hemoglobin'.

Professor Sir David Weatherall talked about '25 Years of the WIMM' and the Ita Askonas Medal for the best student presentation went to Dan Puleston from Katja Simon's group.

Graduate Studies Committee Chair Marella de Bruijn with the 2014 winner of the Ita Askonas Medal, Dan Puleston

Speaking about the award, Dan said, 'My work pertains to how the body forms long-lasting immunity to infection. The basis of this protection stems from the ability of the immune system to "remember" previous infections. This phenomenon is broadly termed 'immunological memory', and is the reason why we fail to contract chicken pox for a second time following childhood infection. We have discovered an internal cellular process that is essential for immune memory. Interestingly, this process becomes defective in old age, possibly explaining why immunity declines with age. By targeting this pathway with drugs, we can restore effective immune responses in the elderly, offering the prospect of improving vaccination in older adults. For presenting this work it was a great privilege to be the inaugural recipient of the Ita Askonas Medal. Ita’s contribution to immunology was beyond what most scientists can hope to achieve in their career. I hope in some small way I can follow in her footsteps.'

To read more about the day see the blog article here.

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