Today eight Oxford University academics have been awarded significant financial funding from the UKRI ‘Future Leaders Fellowships scheme’ that was created to help develop the next wave of world-class research and innovation leaders in academia and business. Science Minister Amanda Solloway announced nearly 100 new Fellows, who will share in £113 million funding, with individual researchers receiving up to £1.5 million.
Dr Regent Lee is a is a vascular surgeon and a clinician scientist. His research focuses on integrative assessments to define novel precision management for patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) – a condition that kills about 200,000 people globally each year. He will be developing novel blood and imaging tests to improve the management of these patients, as well as developing platform technologies that can be applied to other disease contexts.
During his fellowship, Dr Alex Davies and his team will investigate exactly how ‘killer’ cells target injured nerves, with the aim of developing a targeted immune therapy for neuropathic pain that avoids the side effects of existing treatments.
Chronic pain, often because of nerve injury, affects as many as 1 in 3 adults in the UK and costs the economy billions of pounds every year in treatment and lost productivity. The currently used drugs may either be ineffective or pose significant side effects for patients. Dr Davies’s previous research has shown that injured nerves display distress signals that are received by specialised ‘killer’ cells of the immune system. The activity of these killer immune cells in turn appears to help relieve the pain of a nerve injury.