The Peter Beaconsfield Prize is awarded annually to a University of Oxford Physiological Sciences postgraduate student, with a winner's prize of £1000. The prize is part of the University's strategic vision for advancing the Medical Sciences Division's pioneering work in translational medicine; a critically important field where advances in the basic sciences are examined for their clinical implications for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. The prize is intended to reward young researchers who are capable of escaping from the stereotype of narrow specialisation to engage with translational medicine, and display a wider grasp of the significance and potential applicability of their research. Previous prize winners have gone on to develop their research internationally.
Ni Li, who is supervised by Professor David Paterson and Associate Professor Dan Li, has been named as this year's winner. For her application, she wrote an essay titled "Arrhythmia in a dish: Using human induced pluripotent stem cells to study neurocardiac communication in patients with a heart channelopathy".
Ni said: "In this essay, I demonstrated the induction of cardiac myocytes and sympathetic neurons from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and their phenotypes. Using catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) diseased patient derived hiPSCs, diseased phenotypes were found in CPVT neurons as well as myocytes, suggesting that neuronal targeting to reduce sympathetic excitability may provide a therapeutic target in this vulnerable patient group besides the well-studied myocytes defect."
Ni Li is also funded by CSC - CAMS/PUMC - Oxford High-level Innovative Talent Scholarships.