On 1st September 2022, the CAMS Oxford Institute (COI) within the Nuffield Department of Medicine launched a fund in honour of our late colleague, Dr Ling Felce. Ling was a Senior Bioinformatician in the department before her tragic death at The Plain roundabout in March 2022. The fund was set up by institute Co-Director, Professor Tao Dong, to secure Ling’s legacy.
Each year Prof. Tao Dong has pledged to channel £15,000 from the COI core fund into the award. In addition to this, we have raised over £7,000 through generous donations across the year.
In its first year, four recipients have been given funding to attend the Oxford Biomedical Data Science (OBDS) training programme at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. Dr Noushin Zibandeh is the latest recipient and will attend the course in October 2023.
The first recipient and previous close colleague of Ling, Dr Guihai Liu, attended the course in January 2023: 'I am really grateful for my Ling Felce award-funded place on the OBDS training course. Ling was an expert in bioinformatics and helped me a lot with RNAseq analysis for my DPhil project. Her enthusiasm motivated my interest in analysing large-scale datasets. My DPhil project focussed on SARS-CoV-2 spike specific CD4+ T cells and their anti-viral activity. To characterise spike specific CD4+ T cells, we carried out single-cell RNAseq and bulk RNAseq which required extensive bioinformatics analysis. Prior to joining the OBDS course, I had only minimal experience of R programme and Linux command. The intensive and formal training has hugely increased my understanding and knowledge of both of these aspects and helped me understand how to analyse my data. Hopefully, after the 4-weeks of full-time training, I will be able to analyse bulk and single-cell RNAseq data.'
The first non-COI affiliated researcher to be awarded funding, Peter Wan (Department of Oncology) attended the course in June 2023: 'I am very grateful to receive The Ling Felce Award which fully funded my place in the OBDS course. My project focuses on developing novel therapeutics for cancer treatment. Bulk RNA sequencing and single-cell RNA sequencing are important techniques for me to understand the tumour heterogenicity. This course covers all the materials that I need for analysing the sequencing data and provided me with adequate exercises to train my coding skills. More importantly, the teachers are knowledgeable, and the classes are interactive. The Ling Felce Award provided me with an opportunity to learn the R programming language and methods for analysing RNA sequencing data, which will be very useful for my DPhil study and future career.'
Zixi Yin also attended the course in June 2023 in the first year of her postdoctoral research: 'I was very grateful for receiving the Ling Felce Award-funded placement for the OBDS training course. My background is in immunology and lab-based research. One of my research projects involves using RNA-sequencing techniques to investigate the anti-viral activities of interferon-induced transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3) in the context of virus infections. Therefore, I took the course to start learning R programming. The thing I found really helpful about this course was the support from experienced trainers, as well as the time given for practice and discussion during the course. After several weeks of intensive training, I am now able to analyse my research data independently. The Ling Felce Award gave me the opportunity to take the course and opened the gateway to the realm of computational biology.'
The fund will continue to support researchers to attend the OBDS training programme across future years. In addition, the fund will be used to sponsor our career development fellows to attend leadership training as they start their own research groups.
To find out more about Ling and the fund click here.
To donate to the fund click here.