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.

This is one of six new Oxford-Celgene Fellowships, which give postdoctoral researchers exposure to the field of commercial drug discovery and development.

I feel very lucky to have been awarded an Oxford-Celgene Fellowship and I am excited to start working on my project which will hopefully uncover new therapeutic targets involved in neuronal transport defects in ALS.
- Ruxandra Dafinca

The Oxford-Celgene Fellowship Programme was established in 2015 with the aim of stimulating new scientific discovery and translation and to facilitate skills and people transfer between researchers in academia and industry.

Oxford’s relationship with Celgene continues to grow year on year, with the new 2019 Fellowships taking the total of Oxford-Celgene Fellows to 22. The new Fellowships represent an additional investment of £3M into the University.

Ruxandra Dafinca models amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or motor neuron disease) in neurons obtained by differentiating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from patients. 

During her three-year research project she will collaborate with Celgene scientists, benefit from mentorship and training, and visit facilities at Celgene labs in the US and Spain.

Ruxandra is interested in a particular mutation found in ALS motor neurons. The protein TDP-43 is found in the wrong compartment of the cell in 97 per cent of ALS cases. She wants to understand what drives this change. Using microscopy and mouse models, she will investigate how transport both in and out of the nucleus, and across the cell, is generally different in patient cells compared to healthy neurons.

In year two of her project, Ruxandra hopes to use her understanding of how the protein is disregulated to begin screening for drugs that are able to restore normal function. She is excited about the potential of this work, which is based on good preliminary data.

Similar stories

Accidental awareness in obstetric surgery under general anaesthesia more frequent than expected

Anaesthetics Research

The largest ever study of awareness during obstetric general anaesthesia shows around 1 in 250 women may be affected, and some may experience long-term psychological harm.

Two neurologists awarded MRC Senior Clinical Fellowships

Clinical Neurology Research

Two of our Associate Professors, Sarosh Irani and George Tofaris, have been awarded MRC Senior Clinical Fellowships.

Developing diagnostics for COVID-19

Clinical Neurology Coronavirus Research

Associate Professor Sarosh Irani, who heads up our Autoimmune Neurology Group, has been funded by Mologic to help develop diagnostics for COVID-19.

COVID-19 and Guillain-Barré syndrome

Clinical Neurology Coronavirus Research

Multiple recent case reports have suggested a link between COVID-19 and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), an acute, disabling, immune-mediated disorder of the peripheral nervous system. It is currently unclear whether this simply represents a chance association.

Low-cost ventilator wins at E&T Innovation Awards

Anaesthetics Award Coronavirus

The OxVent is a rapidly deployable and scalable low-cost mechanical ventilator specially designed for COVID-19, which has now been recognised as one of the best innovations of the year by the Institute of Engineering and Technology.