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Medical Research Council commends Oxford computational medicine research

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Blanca Rodriguez has been awarded an MRC Centenary Award.    To mark 100 years of achievements by Medical Research Council scientists, the MRC launched the prize as a way of recognising the very best of its early career researchers and giving them the opportunity to accelerate their research and their career development.

Blanca’s main research interest is in the investigation of the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias and their diagnosis and therapies using synergistic combinations of advanced computational modelling and simulation, experimental and clinical methods.  Cardiac arrhythmias are disturbances in the rhythm of the heart. They are a major cause of concern because they affect a large part of the population, they can be lethal and they result in high socio-economic cost. Cardiac arrhythmias can be caused by disease, drugs, mechanical impacts and mutations but nobody knows exactly how they start or how to diagnose and treat them optimally.

Her work in advanced modelling and simulation in combination with experimental and clinical investigations represents an ideal methodology to overcome some of the challenges involved in dissecting mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias.

The Oxford computational medicine proposal was one of 38 successful proposals to be recognized by the MRC, Her work, according to the panel, demonstrates:

  • a bold move into new and challenging research direction
  • significant development of the applicant’s own skills, and broadening of their experience and collaborations
  • adopting technologies or methodologies new to them, with appropriate support from others with the expertise
  • a succinct, logical and accessible description of what the previous work the new project would build on, and what could be achieved with the resources in a year.

Previously, Blanca completed her undergraduate degree in Electronics Engineering at the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Spain, before going on complete a PhD in the Integrated Laboratory of Bioengineering. Before coming to Oxford University in 2004, Blanca was based at Tulane University in New Orleans. She has held a Medical Research Council Career Development award at Oxford since October 2007, so this new award will represent a supplement to her fellowship from the MRC.

A total prize fund of £12 million is available, to be distributed variously between the winners.

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