The Ling Felce award promotes cross-disciplinary excellence in bioinformatics
Following the tragic death of Dr Ling Felce on The Plain roundabout, Oxford, on 1st March 2022, we have created a fund to sponsor researchers to gain skills to strengthen their portfolio for a future in research.
A scientist of extraordinary talent, Dr Ling Felce developed an interest in computational biology after completing the Oxford Biomedical Data Science Training Programme at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (MRC WIMM).
“Ling was one of the brightest and nicest people we’ve taught on the programme” says Dr David Sims, Associate Professor of Computational Genomics and director of the training programme, “she really leveraged it to take her career forward, which was great to see.”
Dr Felce’s work laid the groundwork for the bioinformatic research platform used by the Dong group at the Nuffield Department of Medicine and the MRC WIMM. After joining the team as a postdoctoral scientist in 2020, Dr Felce contributed to a number of projects investigating the immune response to infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The bioinformatic suite at the CAMS-Oxford Institute has now been named in honour of these invaluable contributions. Read more here.
The Ling Felce Award offers financial support for researchers to undertake training in the analysis and interpretation of large datasets. Awards will be made to support researchers wishing to sign up to the Oxford Biomedical Data Science Training Programme at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (MRC WIMM). We hope that, in memory of Dr Felce, this award will help support the next generation of world-leading computational biologists.
In addition, this award will be used to support COI career development fellows to start their own research groups by providing funding for leadership and group management training programmes. It is believed that Ling would have taken up one of these fellow positions during her time at COI.
Professor Dong shared the following tribute to Dr Felce:
"Dr Ling Felce joined our team in September 2020 as postdoctoral scientist, and immediately made significant contributions to several of our research projects studying the immune responses to the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. Due to the pandemic, most of Ling’s interactions during her first year with us were via Zoom, but she made such an effort to get to know all of her new colleagues, and quickly became a beloved member of our lab family.
"Ling provided invaluable help and advice on several scientific projects, and her contributions will be greatly missed. She was always willing to help and support her colleagues and especially the students within the group, and she laid the foundations for our Bioinformatic research platform (soon to become a dedicated Bioinformatics centre within the newly established CAMS-Oxford Institute at Oxford University). Ling was an incredibly kind and delightful colleague: we will miss her smiling face in group meetings.
"Ling was a very bright young scientist, excited about the future and everything it may bring for her and her young family. We are devastated by this tragedy that has taken her at such a promising point in her life. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time."
If you would like to donate to this award, please use this link.
In the first six months of the award, we have received £6000 in donations, with an additional £15,000 pledged by COI Director Prof. Tao Dong annually to allow the award to fund three researchers for the OBDS course annually.
Dr Guihai Liu, who recently completed her DPhil studies, is the first recipient of the Ling Felce Award and is currently attending the Oxford Biomedical Data Science (OBDS) programme. She explains how much it means to receive this award:
"I am really grateful for my Ling Felce award-funded place on the OBDS training course. Ling was an expert inbioinformatics 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."