Biomedical Research in the UK is to Benefit from a £25.5m Cash Injection
News Feb 20, 2013
Three of the UK's research councils - the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council – have invested £20.1m, £2.4m and £2m respectively, to establish 17 microscopy platforms that will bring about ground breaking advances in biological and biomedical research.
Many of the initiatives funded combine different and sometimes entirely new microscopy techniques to answer crucial questions about biological processes. The revolution in microscopy builds dramatically on the previous limits of electron and light (optical) microscopy. Electron microscopy has very high resolution but can not be used to image living cells or organisms. Traditional light microscopy can look at living materials but has far lower resolution.
The new generation of imaging techniques are now able to greatly increase the resolution – sometimes to close to molecular level – when studying an intact and living cell. These structures are some of the smallest things that scientists have been able to visualise. For example, a cell membrane is about 6-10 nanometres (a nanometre is 1 millionth of a millimetre).
As well as increasing the magnification, researchers are now able to study live biological processes as they are taking place at fractions of a second. Being able to visualise these tiny biological structures, such as the proteins involved in cell function and the biological and chemical processes in which they are involved, will allow researchers to understand more about what causes disease.
Professor Steve Hill, who chaired the expert panel which assessed the proposals, said:
“Microscopy is one of the most important tools scientists have for discovery-based research but the high costs associated with this technology are often a barrier to expansion. This funding is crucial to help the UK capitalise on the latest technologies and maintain its internationally leading position in biological and biomedical research.
”This type of microscopy relies on scientists in very different disciplines coming together to solve very specific imaging problems. All seventeen projects were able to demonstrate extremely strong partnerships between biologists, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, engineers, technologists and equipment manufacturers.”
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said:
“These substantial funding awards will bring together the UK’s world-class research base and industry to keep our life sciences sector at the forefront of discovery. Through exploring innovative new uses for microscopy they will improve our understanding of disease and ultimately deliver benefits for patients.”
The cross-Council Next Generation Optical Microscopy initiative was launched in May 2012 and received 34 applications of a very high standard. An international panel of experts awarded funding to seventeen cutting edge microscopy projects in November 2012.
Some examples of the seventeen awards:
• Scientists at the University of York are combining both electron and light microscopy techniques. One application will be to find out more about neurodegenerative disease by visualising the processes in a nerve cell which govern learning and memory.
• A partnership between biological researchers at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre and physicists at Imperial College London to visualise fundamental biological mechanisms and benefit on-going research in areas such as the behaviour of chromosomes in developing reproductive cells, the function of nerve cells and the regulation of gene expression.
• At the University of Leeds, researchers will be building a new microscope to observe the internal structure of cells and gain insights into the development of conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Microscopy Technique Could Enable More Informative BiopsiesNews
MIT and Harvard Medical School researchers have devised a way to image biopsy samples with much higher resolution — an advance that could help doctors develop more accurate and inexpensive diagnostic tests.READ MORE
New Algorithms Help Extract 3-D Biological Structure from Limited DataNews
CAMERA researchers capitalize on their Multi-Tiered Iterative Phasing approach to determine molecular structure of proteins and viruses from X-ray free electron laser data.READ MORE
Visualizing Whole-body Cancer Metastasis at the Single-cell LevelNews
A new method combines the generation of transparent mice with statistical analysis to create 3-D maps of cancer cells throughout the body and organs.READ MORE
Comments | 0 ADD COMMENT
18th International Conference and Exhibition on Analytical & Bioanalytical Chromatographic Techniques
Nov 02 - Nov 03, 2017
8th Edition of International Conference on Mass Spectromerty
Mar 12 - Mar 13, 2018