The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, where researchers look at the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms behind disease, has been awarded one of the prestigious Wellcome Trust Strategic Awards. The £4 million grant will enable the CIMR to stay at the leading edge of research into how diseases arise and to play a key role training tomorrow’s academic doctors and medical scientists.
The Institute is a multidisciplinary research centre whose outstanding feature is the interweaving of clinical medicine with molecular and cell biology. Since it opened in 1998, it has led key research into how viruses evade our immune system, genetic susceptibility to diabetes and progress towards novel treatments for Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease.
"What we are striving to provide in CIMR is an effective interface between basic and clinical science to underpin our goal of determining and understanding the molecular mechanisms of disease," says Professor Paul Luzio, Director of CIMR. "With the support of the Wellcome Trust we have attracted outstanding basic and clinical scientists to the Institute. The Strategic Award will underpin our scientific infrastructure, help us bring scientifically trained clinicians back into research after their specialist clinical training.
"Our Institute is not disease-specific but our focus over the next few years will provide insights into the molecular pathology of many diseases and help to identify novel therapeutic targets. CIMR will continue to be a great place to work for those whose primary interests are focused on disease and for some who are more interested in basic cellular mechanisms which, when they malfunction, result in disease. "
As well as facilitating collaboration between clinicians and basic scientists, the Institute also aims to play a key role in training tomorrow’s academic doctors and medical scientists. The strategic award will allow CIMR to run "Next Generation Fellowships", intended to attract clinicians into research at the conclusion of their clinical training. It will also establish a four-year PhD programme to provide basic scientists with an opportunity to undertake PhD training and explore interdisciplinary research opportunities.
"Training clinicians to undertake basic biomedical science is fundamentally important for the future of biomedicine in the UK," says Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust. “Building strong collaborative teams of clinicians and basic scientists, as CIMR does, is therefore essential."
Research at CIMR aims to understand a variety of human illnesses at a molecular and cellular level. To do this, research teams look at how our genes are constructed and operate, how molecules move around and function in cells, how proteins interact physically and how our bodies defend us against infection.
Key researchers at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research include:
Professor Fiona Karet
As a renal physician Professor Karet is particularly interested in how the kidney does its normal 'housekeeping' work - maintaining steady levels of many different substances such as salt and other ions in the body. To get at these important functions at the molecular level, her lab has been studying inherited disorders. One advantage of CIMR's location is that she combines her research activities with running a specialist clinic in Addenbrooke's Hospital, where patients with inherited kidney problems and their families are seen.
Professor Paul Lehner
Professor Lehner studies interactions between microbes and the immune system. His group identified two viral gene products from the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus which down regulate important cell surface receptors, including MHC class I molecules. Other work has focused on the important role of the receptor CCR5 in controlling infection by mycobacteria, such as TB.
Professor David Lomas
Professor Lomas has elucidated the molecular mechanism underlying a new class of disease that he has called the serpinopathies. The actual disease depends on the serpin that is affected but can lead to conditions such as cirrhosis, thrombosis and the early-onset dementia FENIB. His work has only been possible because of close links with basic scientists, which have allowed the use of biophysics, electron microscopy, crystallography, cell biology and fly models to provide fundamental insights into the mechanisms of disease and to develop novel strategies for therapeutic intervention.
Professor Margaret Robinson
Professor Margaret Robinson is a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow studying how proteins are transported between the various organelles of the cell by vesicles, which bud from one membrane and fuse with another. Professor Robinsons' team have discovered protein complexes that are involved in this process and when disrupted by mutation cause the genetic disorder Hermansky Pudlak syndrome.
Professor David Rubinsztein
Professor Rubinsztein's lab studies conditions like Huntington's disease that are caused by mutant proteins that form aggregates inside cells. The team uses a range of approaches to elucidate the different ways that such mutations result in pathology. For an in-depth Wellcome Science article see http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTX033583.html
Professor John Todd
Using an integrated combination of genetics, statistics, genome informatics and data mining, and gene expression and functional studies, Professor Todd's group aims to discover the molecular bases for the common autoimmune disease type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes.
Dr Geoff Woods
There are many rare genetic disorders which affect the development of the nervous system: the nerves, the spinal cord and the brain. Dr Woods has been trying to find some of the genes that cause these disorders. Whilst each condition is rare, collectively they are a significant problem in child health, for example causing mental retardation, fits and cerebral palsy. Working at the CIMR has allowed Dr Woods to start to achieve this marriage of clinical genetics and basic science. For an in-depth Wellcome Science article see http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD023441.html
Craig Brierley | alfa
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short
23.03.2017 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
24.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
24.03.2017 | Earth Sciences