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€2million grant to fund centre of excellence

Researchers in Portsmouth and Rouen, France studying important biomedical problems have won a €2million European Union grant to help them make leaps forward in understanding some of the specific processes in human cells.

The AdMiN grant will help support cutting edge equipment to allow scientists to study muscular dystrophy, brain tumours, brain development and stroke.

Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Portsmouth, Darek Gorecki and a team of five academics and eight researchers will share the grant with French partners led by Dr David Vaudry to build a cross-Channel centre of research excellence. Their key aim will be to integrate the latest cellular imaging methods with advances in understanding genes and proteins, the building blocks of life.

Professor Gorecki said: “Proteins are the principal constituents of cells and specific proteins determine what cells do, for example, contract (muscle), transmit signals (nerve cells), carry oxygen (red blood cells) etc. The integration of genomics and proteomics in biomedical sciences is important for understanding the physiological and pathological processes in human bodies and also for the pharmaceutical industry because most drugs work by interacting with protein and influencing their functions.”

The University of Portsmouth and fellow grant winner the University of Rouen have already employed advanced methods and cutting edge equipment for cellular imaging. With this new grant they will be able to integrate facilities into a cross-Channel network to give students, researchers clinicians and local companies an enhanced learning and research environment.

Professor Gorecki said: “We hope that through combined expertise, state of the art equipment and innovative ideas, the collaborating centres will be able to respond effectively to the challenges posed by rapidly changing technologies and to our growing research needs. Furthermore, by involving local biomedical enterprises like Portsmouth CanTech Ltd the project aims to convey new methodologies to a wider industrial base.

“Our application for the grant received strong support from Portsmouth City Council and local MP Mike Hancock. We will work closely with them to ensure that relevant local businesses are encouraged to take advantage of the new knowledge base and expertise that will now be made available.”

Kate Daniell | alfa
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