Research behind Virtual Assay wins Prize

Janine Smith

Oliver Britton, a DPhil student in the Department of Computer Sciences, University of Oxford, has won an international prize for his paper on a new computer model of cardiac electrophysiology. The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) awarded Ollie the prize for its potential to reduce the number of animals used in drug testing. He plans to use the prize grant for further research to apply the methodology in neuroscience.

OCC has been working with Ollie and the Oxford University Department of Computer Science to bring his research to market. We have developed Virtual Assay, a tool enabling commercial and academic researchers to model the effects of drugs on populations of cell models that display the full range of electrophysiological responses seen in real heart cells. This is an improvement on previous models which have tended to ignore this natural variability. The tool can be used to screen out drug candidates that could be toxic to the heart before animal studies are done. The work has been supported by Oxford University Innovation and the EPSRC.

OCC would like to congratulate Ollie and his supervisors, Professor Blanca Rodriguez and Dr Alfonso Bueno-Orovio, for their well-deserved win!

For more information, please contact Dr. Fred Kemp, Deputy Head of Technology Transfer, Isis Innovation