Drug Discovery at Dundee
The Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest medical charities, has awarded £8.1 million over 5 years to a team of six scientists at the University of Dundee to help discover new drugs to treat some of the world’s most neglected tropical diseases.
The grant awarded to Professor Mike Ferguson, Professor Alan Fairlamb, Professor Bill Hunter, Professor Ian Gilbert, Professor Julie Frearson and Dr Daan van Aalten, all based within the School of Life Sciences at the University, is among the largest given by the Wellcome Trust.
No vaccines exist to prevent these debilitating and often lethal infections. Many of the current drugs have serious side effects and would not meet current standards for safety and efficacy. Others are either too expensive for widespread use or becoming less effective because of resistance.
The University of Dundee team are renowned for their academic contributions to tropical disease research. Together, they integrate many disciplines directed towards the discovery of new therapies for tropical diseases.
The £8.1 million grant will allow them to add a team of 16 scientists to their existing 60 and to span all the disciplines needed to go from biology to drug design, synthesis and testing. The new activities will be housed in the newly completed Centre for Interdisciplinary Research at the University, a £20 million building specialising in tropical disease research, diabetes and cancer. Professors Ferguson said, “We are delighted with the enthusiasm, good-will and financial support we have received from The University and the Wellcome Trust to get this underway. This initiative will have a major impact on those suffering from these appalling diseases.”
The total project, including the construction and equipping of the new state-of-the-art laboratories, will cost about £13 million over the next 5 years. While the lion’s share of the additional research and development activity will be met by the Wellcome Trust award, very significant investments in infrastructure and academic appointments have been made by The University of Dundee itself, by the Scottish Higher-Education Funding Council (in the form of a strategic research development grant of £1.5 million to Dundee, Glasgow and St Andrews Universities) and by The Wolfson Foundation, who gave £2 million to help construct the new laboratories.
Professor Ferguson commented “Getting all the pieces in place to carry out a serious drug discovery programme in an academic environment is virtually unprecedented and quite demanding. Everyone in the team has done a fantastic job. We all bring different blends of scientific expertise to the project and, most importantly, share the vision of translating our knowledge into new therapies for neglected diseases.
“We are particularly pleased to welcome on board Professor Julie Frearson, recruited from the company Cambridge BioFocus plc, who will set up and oversee our compound screening facility, Professor Ian Gilbert, recruited from Cardiff University, who will supervise the medicinal chemistry, and Dr Ruth Brenk, recruited from The University of California, San Francisco, who will bolster our computational chemistry and drug design.”
Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust said, “Many drugs currently used to treat important diseases in the world’s poorest countries, such as sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis, are no longer effective and may have serious side effects. “We hope that this exciting project will translate the insights arising from basic research into new or improved treatments for the millions of people whose lives and livelihoods are threatened daily by tropical infectious diseases.
“Wellcome Trust funding is bridging a wide funding gap in the UK allowing health researchers involved in early-stage drug discovery projects to advance promising innovations to a stage where they become attractive to public/private partnerships and the commercial sector for further development.”
Roddy Isles | alfa
NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology
07.12.2016 | Nanyang Technological University
How to turn white fat brown
07.12.2016 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine