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Six new Oxford-Celgene Fellowships will support postdoctoral researchers and clinicians across six departments within the Medical Sciences Division, providing an opportunity for them to gain exposure to the field of commercial drug discovery and development. The new Fellowships represent an additional investment of £3M into the University.


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.

As with all Oxford-Celgene Fellows, the new Fellows will carry out world-leading research during their three-year postdoctoral research project and have a unique level of support available to them through the collaborations. Fellows also benefit from the direction and mentorship of Celgene project leads and have opportunities to carry out research and use facilities at Celgene labs in the US and Spain, in addition to accessing unique training opportunities.

The six new Fellowships for 2019 are:

Fellow Department & PI Project

Shivan Sivakumar     

Department of Oncology, PI – Mark Middleton

The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, NDORMS, PI – Mike Dustin

Single-cell characterisation of tumour-infiltrating immune cells in pancreatic cancer to uncover therapeutic vulnerabilities

Nan Yang

The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, NDORMS

PI’s - Jagdeep Nanchahal, Thomas Layton & David Adams (Birmingham)

Identification of novel therapeutic targets and disease biomarkers in human liver fibrosis by dissecting cellular heterogeneity
Ruxandra Dafinca

Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences

PI – Kevin Talbot

Targeting intracellular trafficking and nucleocytoplasmic transport in mouse and human motor neurons carrying ALS mutations in TDP-43
Kate Lines

Radcliffe Department of Medicine

PI - Rajesh Thakker

Targeting Epigenetic Mechanisms for the Treatment of Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours

Nuffield Department of Medicine

PI’s - Holm Uhlig, Paul Klenerman & Arian Laurence

Therapeutic potential of IL-18 targeting therapies in IBD - from computational biology and functional understanding towards a clinical trial

Supat Thongjuea   

MRC WIMM Centre for Computational Biology and MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Radcliffe Department of Medicine

PI’s - Paresh Vyas, Adam Mead & Claus Nerlov

Single-Cell Computational Biology for Translational Medicine


We are delighted to receive an Oxford-Celgene Fellowship to establish a collaborative study with Celgene aimed at targeting epigenetic mechanisms for the treatment of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours. Our study with Celgene to identify novel epigenetic-targeting compounds and combination therapies for these rare, but clinically important tumours also represents a strong collaborative initiative and link between academia and pharma. We are excited to uncover the epigenetic mechanisms occurring in these tumours, and to utilise the unique opportunities this fellowship provides to translate academic research into clinically applicable compounds.
- Rajesh Thakker (PI) and Kate Lines (Fellow) – 2019 Oxford Celgene Fellowships

Celgene’s focus on the discovery, development and commercialisation of innovative therapies for patients with cancer, immune-inflammatory and other unmet medical needs aligns well with Oxford’s research strengths, and current projects are running across several departments within Oxford’s Medical Sciences and Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Divisions, tackling challenging questions in acute myeloid leukaemia, Parkinson’s and a number of inflammatory diseases.

Spearheaded by Professor Sir Marc Feldmann FRS of the University of Oxford and Rupert Vessey, President, Research & Early Development at Celgene, this active alliance between Celgene and Oxford catalyses translational research having the potential to make a real difference to the lives of patients, and equip a cohort of researchers with an in-depth understanding of industry research and development.


The Oxford Celgene Fellowship scheme, now in its 5th year, has been a success for both parties, made possible by the enthusiasm of both Oxford and Celgene scientists. Fellows have benefitted from an unusual training scheme, with the resources of a first class company added to that of Oxford, providing an effective introduction on how to seek new therapies. For Celgene, there have been exciting new collaborations with talented researchers and their supervisors, often with access to clinical materials. Sharing resources as in this scheme is a well tried approach to better quality research.
- Professor Sir Marc Feldmann FRS, University of Oxford


The Celgene-Oxford fellowship advances translational research by supporting talented fellows mentored by top investigators.  Moreover, it strengthens the future of the entire field by training the next generation of translational investigators.  Not only do Celgene and Oxford benefit today from the research funded by these grants, but patients stand to benefit for many years to come -- from application of this science to drug development, and from seeding the discipline with young, well-trained minds having exposure to industry.  We are continually impressed by the quality of the applicants, and are excited to welcome the 5th class of fellows.
- Rupert Vessey, M.A., B.M, B.Ch., F.R.C.P., D.Phil. President, Research & Early Development, Celgene

Both Celgene and the University draw value from the opportunity to facilitate skills transfer between researchers in academia and industry and to stimulate new scientific discovery and translation. Fellows benefit from spending time at Celgene utilising equipment and accessing expertise to move their projects forward. This collaboration benefits from a dedicated alliance manager, Dr Charlotte Bell, who provides a point of contact for both Celgene and the University of Oxford, catalysing interactions and supporting the Fellows’ programme through the provision of dedicated training and networking events.

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