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New £23m Research Unit will use Advances in Genetics to Help Reduce Risk of Disease

Published: Monday, May 20, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, May 20, 2013
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Unit will exploit the latest advances in genetics to improve understanding of how changes to lifestyle or environment can reduce the risk of disease.

The Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU), jointly funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Bristol, will launch on 1 June 2013.

The IEU will be directed by Professor George Davey Smith from Bristol’s School of Social and Community Medicine, and involves scientists from across the University representing disciplines including epidemiology, genetics, epigenetics, psychology, computer science, chemistry, mathematics and economic and social sciences. The unit will also capitalise on major University investments in new technologies that allow processing of large numbers of samples in unprecedented detail, with the aim of understanding the biological mechanisms underlying disease.

Some of this work will be carried out within the world-leading Children of the 90s study a long-term health research project already co-funded by the MRC, the Wellcome Trust and the University.

Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the MRC, said:

“The vision proposed by Professor Davey Smith and his team fits perfectly with the mission of the MRC to improve human health through world-class medical research. We are delighted that the University of Bristol has joined us in this long-term strategic partnership which will deliver added value to both partners and hopefully provide richer research opportunities for the scientists within the IEU.”

Professor Eric Thomas, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said:

“The University is delighted to announce the launch of this innovative new Integrative Epidemiology Unit that will build on the pioneering work undertaken by scientists at Bristol.

“Advances in genetics allow us to further our understanding of the many risk factors associated with poor health and we are proud that this new partnership combined with our world-class research will help contribute to reduce the global burden of disease.”

Professor Davey Smith added:

"The exponential increase in molecular data that can be generated should transform both the scope and power of epidemiological methods to improve understanding of human development and disease. We hope that with the MRC and University of Bristol support the IEU will play a part in this transformation."

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