Anneliese steps inside virtual reality and explores challenges facing Oxford’s scientists

The Medical Research Council Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (MRC WIMM), University of Oxford, invited Anneliese to learn more about cutting edge research taking place in her constituency and learn more from researchers about the challenges they face. The visit took place on 30 August.

The MRC WIMM is an internationally renowned Institute, which aims to unravel the causes of disease and use this knowledge to improve human health. During the visit, organised by the Medical Research Council, Anneliese learnt more about government-funded research taking place at the MRC WIMM to better understand and treat human disease. Researchers from the Institute showcased expertise in immunology and blood cancer, highlighting the need for collaborative working with patients to drive research progress.

After discussion with scientists from a range of career stages about what messages should be taken to parliament about the UK research climate, Anneliese had the opportunity to take a virtual tour around the human genome. Researchers at the MRC WIMM are using virtual reality to better understand how DNA is packaged inside our cells and the consequences of miss-folding on human health.

Speaking about the visit, Anneliese said: ‘It was wonderful to see the innovative ways in which researchers here in Oxford are tackling some of our biggest medical challenges. Just like the scientists work at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine and elsewhere in Oxford, I am committed to working collaboratively to make the case for UK science. Brexit is a cause for concern for both established researchers and those just starting their careers, both from a funding and immigration view point. It is important that we seek clarity as soon as possible, so as not to hinder scientific progress.’

Professor Doug Higgs, Director of the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, said: ‘It was a pleasure to welcome Anneliese Dodds to our Institute, to showcase our research and discuss some of the key concerns facing our community. I hope that the visit to our Institute helped Ms Dodds put into context some the arguments for funding ‘blue-sky’ thinking, in order to make a difference to those living with diseases such as cancer and blood conditions.’