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‘Wellcome’ funding for superbug research

 A new £5m research facility which will lead the fight against superbugs is to be established at the University of St Andrews.

The development, which will place Scottish scientists at the forefront in the battle against deadly diseases such as MRSA, has been made possible through a funding package from the Wellcome Trust announced today (Thursday 16 October 2008).

The state of the art facility will form part of the University’s Biomedical Sciences Research Complex (BSRC), and will lead in the study of emerging serious viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases including rift valley fever and malaria, as well as hospital acquired infections such as MRSA and C. difficile.

It will also expand on current work at St Andrews on the understanding of diseases such as cancer, bird flu and the rare genetic condition genetic condition XP (xeroderma pigmentosum), whose sufferers are known as `children of the moon’.

The new facility builds on the University’s Centre for Biomolecular Sciences (BMS), which was opened nearly 9 years ago by the late Donald Dewar.  It will bring together researchers from a range of scientific disciplines – medicine, physics, chemistry and biology – with multidisciplinary research being key to future studies.

Professor James Naismith, the Director of the new facility, said, “At St Andrews, our great strength is that we bring scientists together from across disciplines to target important health-related issues. This pioneering approach within the UK has not only resulted in significant discoveries but has attracted the interest of other leading universities who have replicated this template.

“Our aim is to improve human health, not just in Scotland, but across the world, by tackling these emerging pathogenic diseases.  This contribution from the Wellcome Trust is the first step to realising this vision.  Over twenty group leaders made this possible – this award recognises their and their teams’ outstanding contributions to biomedical science and what they will deliver in the future.”

The University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Dr Brian Lang welcomed the funding announcement, commenting, “This University is committed improving the quality of human life by fostering an interdisciplinary environment where cutting edge scientific discovery takes place.  St Andrews, perhaps due to its small size, has always innovated in teaching and research.

“This Wellcome Trust award confirms that our strategic goals, which emphasise bringing together people to make a difference, are recognised as distinctive and leading on the global stage.”  

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

PROFESSOR NAISMITH IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW ON 01334 463792, email jhn@st-andrews.ac.uk

The other twenty researchers (drawn from Chemistry, Biology, Physics and the Bute Medical School) on the Wellcome Trust application are:

Professor Malcolm White, Professor Garry Taylor, Professor Richard Elliott, Professor Richard Randall, Professor David O’Hagan, Professor Richard Iggo, Dr Olav Schiemann, Dr Uli Schwarz-Linek, Dr Rupert Russell, Dr Changjiang Dong, Dr Terry Smith,  Dr Jo Parish, Dr Nick Westwood, Dr Stuart Conway, Dr Catherine Botting, Dr John Ingledew, Dr Nigel Botting, Dr Carlos Penedo-Esterio, Dr Peter Coote and Dr Martin Ryan.

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

IMAGES RELATING TO THE RESEARCH ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk

Ref:  Wellcome funding 141008
View the latest University press releases at www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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