The 7th Annual CRUK Oxford Centre Symposium was held on 15th June 2018 in the Mathematical Institute, Oxford. The day consisted of a varied programme of presentations, ranging from cancer epidemiology to cancer immunotherapy and ended with an inspiring talk from a patient who has benefited from Oxford’s research via an early phase clinical trial. In addition to the talks, the breadth of cancer research at Oxford was showcased by > 60 posters. ...
Ludwig Oxford’s Sarah De Val was selected to give the prestigious John French lecture at the British Cardiovascular Society Spring Meeting in Manchester. The lecture commemorates the work of John French, a vascular pathologist from the Dunn School of Pathology, Oxford, and is given by an early career scientist of exceptional promise. Sarah talked about her work on blood vessels in development and disease. (Image Copyright Jane Goodall 2018)
In this invited review for Trends in Genetics, Marketa Tomkova and Benjamin Schuster-Böckler explore how epigenetic modification of DNA influences mutagenesis. Some modifications such as methylation of DNA on cytosine bases are well known to increase the rate of mutation through a spontaneous chemical change to thymine. DNA modifications also affect the likelihood of DNA mutagenesis by both external factors e.g. UV light or smoking and cell-intrinsic processes e.g. DNA replication. This review discusses what is known to date and some of the outstanding questions in the field.
It is well known that environmental mutagens are associated with increased cancer risk. However, why cancers of different tissues tend to have their own specific collections of mutations remains unanswered. In a paper published in Nature Communications, Temko et al. from Benjamin Schuster-Böckler’s group have found that whilst mutational processes influence the spectrum of mutations in a cancer, the subsequent selection of certain mutations that give the cancer cell an advantage is also required to give the observed signatures.
On 26th April, Ludwig Oxford hosted the first of the student-organised ‘Distinguished Guest Speaker’ series. Ludwig students, led by Derek Leske from Mads Gyrd-Hansen’s group, voted to invite Salvador Aznar Benitah from IRB Barcelona to talk about his research on stem cell function in homeostasis, aging and cancer. The seminar was followed by a careers advice session over lunch and a dinner at Oriel College in the evening.
The Immunology Symposium, organised by the University of Oxford Immunology Network, showcased the breadth of immunology, infection and inflammation research across the University. The two-day event was held on 16-17th April 2018 at the Mathematical Institute, Oxford and featured a series of talks and poster sessions. Ludwig Oxford’s Prof Mads Gyrd-Hansen spoke about his research on ubiquitin signalling in inflammation and cancer.
The sequencing of RNA from individual cells is an increasingly used, powerful method for studying cellular heterogeneity. However, the analysis of single-cell RNA-seq is limited due to the high technical variability between experiments and the inability to perform true technical replicates on the same cell. David Severson and colleagues from the labs of Benjamin Schuster-Böckler and Xin Lu have developed a new algorithm, BEARscc, published in Nature Communications, which uses simulation to improve the biological interpretation of single-cell RNA-seq experiments.
In an exciting initiative to promote interdisciplinary research, Ludwig Oxford is teaming up with three Oxford Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs). From October 2018, a Ludwig-funded PhD student will join each of the three partner DTCs: Synthetic Biology, Systems Approaches to Biomedical Sciences and Autonomous Intelligent Machines and Systems. It is hoped that these joint studentships will be the start of many fruitful collaborations.
AI @ Oxford on 27th March 2018 is a unique opportunity for industry to see the state-of-the-art in artificial intelligence and machine learning at Oxford University, and meet Oxford’s AI experts one-to-one. At Ludwig Oxford, Jens Rittscher’s and Xin Lu’s labs are researching the use of machine learning to automate clinical image analysis.
Zinaida Dedeic and colleagues from Xin Lu’s group at Ludwig Oxford have shown how iASPP – a regulator of p53 and p63 – leads to cardiac and skin defects, in a paper published in Cell Death and Differentiation. Mutation of iASPP is known to cause cardiocutaneous syndrome, including cardiac dysfunction and impaired wound healing, but it wasn’t known whether these changes were due to iASPP-mediated regulation in heart and skin cells or via a widespread inflammatory response. Specific deletion of iASPP in either heart or skin cells in this new study supports a cell autonomous role of iASPP in cardiocutaneous disorder.