Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Alex is one of eight Oxford University academics who have been awarded significant financial funding from the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships Scheme

Sensory axons (magenta) peppered with ligands for ‘killer’ immune receptors (green)

The scheme was created to help develop the next wave of world-class research and innovation leaders in academia and business. Science Minister Amanda Solloway announced a total of nearly 100 new Fellows, who will share in £113 million funding, with individual researchers receiving up to £1.5 million.

This fellowship gives me the support and resources I need to realise my vision of enhancing the body's own ability to repair and resolve painful nerve injury.
- Dr Alexander Davies

During his fellowship, Dr 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.

Alex'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.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, UKRI Chief Executive, said: ‘I am delighted that UKRI is able to support the next generation of research and innovation leaders through our Future Leaders Fellowship programme. The new Fellows announced today will have the support and freedom they need to pursue their research and innovation ideas, delivering new knowledge and understanding and tackling some of the greatest challenges of our time.’  

Similar stories

New insights into the effect of exposure to dim light in the evening on the biology of the sleep-wake cycle

A new study has revealed more about how exposure to dim light in the evening affects circadian health. The findings emphasise the need to optimise our artificial light exposure if we are to avoid shifting our biological clocks.

Blood lipoprotein levels linked to future risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Greater understanding of the role of lipoproteins could support screening and efforts to develop treatments.

International study finds insomnia, anxiety and depression very prevalent during first phase of COVID-19 pandemic

Researchers are recommending public health interventions to reduce the long-term adverse outcomes associated with chronic insomnia and mental health problems.

New study on link between autoimmunity and pain

Patients with autoantibodies which target neuronal proteins can have pain as an under-recognised clinical manifestation.