Chris Holmes appointed Programme Director for Health Data in a partnership between Health Data Research UK and the Alan Turing Institute

We are delighted to congratulate Professor Chris Holmes, member of the Centre Management Group, on his new joint role for the Alan Turing Institute and Health Data Research UK (HDR UK).

Chris, who is Professor in Biostatistics at the University of Oxford, has considerable expertise in data science and artificial intelligence methodologies, specifically statistics and machine learning and its application to health and biomedical science problems. He has been employing computational statistics and machine learning approaches to integrate the multi-omics data (DNA sequence, methylation, transcriptome and patient records) generated by the S-CORT consortium to provide a greater biological understanding of colorectal cancer.

In his new role, Chris will facilitate direct scientific collaboration and leadership between the two national centres. He will develop and coordinate a programme of research involving collaboration across The Alan Turing Institute’s growing university network, creating opportunities with HDR UK’s six substantive sites and the broader health and data science sector. His programme will build on an already established set of health projects underway at the Turing, including partnerships with Cystic Fibrosis Trust applying machine learning to improve treatment plans, a set of interdisciplinary projects awarded jointly with the British Heart Foundation through the BHF-Turing Cardiovascular Data Science Awards and cross-cutting foundational research looking into data security and privacy.

Commenting on his appointment, Chris remarked:
“Already we are seeing data science and AI innovation bear fruit in the health sector; with areas like medical imaging now opening up to machine learning algorithms. There are many other areas of opportunity; including using data to inform adaptive clinical drug trials, personalised medicine, addressing operational challenges within the health service and using theoretical mathematics and statistics to help connect and understand the algorithms that can extract information from large datasets.”

“I am delighted to join with the Turing and HDR UK and look forward to working with these two national centres to improve human health and the scientific understanding of biomedical systems.”

Vincenzo Cerundolo and Neil Brockdorff elected as Fellows of the Royal Society

We a delighted to congratulate two Cancer Research UK Centre Members, Professor Neil Brockdorff of the Department of Biochemistry and Professor Vincenzo Cerundolo of the MRC Human Immunology Unit on their election as Fellows of the Royal Society. Fellows have made ‘a substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science’. Oxford University academics were well represented in this week’s elections to the Royal Society, with six of the new Fellows, more than any other single Institution.

On receiving the news, Professor Cerundolo said ‘I am extremely honoured and humbled to be receiving such an important recognition…. I am certain that working in the exciting and vibrant environment of the Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine and being able to collaborate with so many outstanding colleagues has contributed enormously to this achievement.’

Professor Cerundolo has strong collaborative links across the Centre and is undertaking work, supported through Centre and BRC NIHR funds, to understand complementary aspects of the immune response against solid tumours. His team are analysing the mechanisms by which tumour cells can evade immune responses focusing on expression of amino acid degrading enzymes; and the ability of tissue stroma to modulate the expression of tissue homing receptors expressed by T lymphocytes.