CBMS celebrates 5 years

Monday 22 December 2003

A £9m scientific research centre established five years ago at the University of St Andrews, has evolved into a ‘model interdisciplinary research centre’ for universities throughout the UK to follow.

The University’s Centre for Biomolecular Sciences (CBMS) – opened on St Andrew’s Day 1998 by the late Donald Dewar – was designed to stimulate research at the boundary of Biology and Chemistry.

The Centre has had a successful first 5 years which has seen staff double in size and research income total £14 million. World-leading research in the Centre’s state-of- the-art labs focuses on infection, disease and immunity. Diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, foot-and-mouth disease, childhood croup and cancer are being studied at the Centre and current work is aimed at developing new drugs to treat such diseases.

The Centre, a stunning green glass and steel building, is the centrepiece for the University science buildings on the North Haugh in St Andrews.

Director of the Centre, Professor Garry Taylor, said:

“The Centre has just celebrated its fifth birthday, and has become a model interdisciplinary research centre that other UK Universities are seeking to emulate.

“When the Centre opened in 1998, we had just 10 academic staff with a total population of 50. Today, five years on, the Centre has 133 researchers associated with 17 academic staff, including 60 PhD students, 45 postdoctoral research fellows and 12 technical staff.

“Over the past few years, we have enjoyed visits from the Chief Executives of UK Research Councils and the Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury, who were keen to experience the unique research environment that has developed in St Andrews.”

Today, the value of grants held by members of the Centre total over £14M. Over the last 6 months, members of the Centre have won grants valued at over £2.7M, representing over 25% of the total research income of the University over this period.

The University’s Vice Principal (Research), Professor Alan Miller, said “I am delighted by the success of the Centre for Biomedical Sciences in establishing St Andrews as a world leader in such an important area of research. The substantial research income that this Centre has attracted, under intense competition from across the UK, is just one indication of the level of recognition and respect that these researchers have achieved”.

The research carried out in the Centre aims to understand the molecular basis of several microbial diseases, how viruses evade the immune system, how damaged genes are repaired, how natural antibiotics are made by complex biosynthetic pathways and how novel drugs can be synthesised. The recent award of funds from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC) to establish the Scottish Structural Proteomics Facility, in collaboration with the University of Dundee, will help researchers discover new drug targets and new drug compounds for a variety of microbial diseases.




Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050 103, or email [email protected] Ref: CBMS 5 years on pr 221203 View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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