University of Edinburgh: £11.4m research boost aids quest for healthcare solutions


THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH has received a multi-million pound investment for drug discovery research.


The University of Edinburgh will receive £11.4 million over the next five years which will be used for a new research centre as well as help advance research in synthetic biology, DNA circuits and epigenetics.


The investment was made by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the UK Government.




Scientists at The University of Edinburgh will explore how stem cells can be reprogrammed for use in personalised medicines, help to create improved safety tests for new treatment, and build tools to help identify new types of drugs.


As part of the new investment, researchers at Edinburgh will also lead two collaborative projects. Scientists hope this will help create the building blocks of synthetic biology- fragments of DNA needed to create useful biological components.


The award to the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology was announced today by Secretary of State for Business, Industry and Skills Vince Cable. It is part of a £40 million UK-wide investment to a number of UK universities.


Professor Susan Rosser, Chair in Synthetic Biology at the School of Biological Sciences and Engineering, and Director of the Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology, said: “This further strengthens Edinburgh’s position as a leading centre for synthetic biology in the UK. Applying this powerful technology for human medicine is still in its infancy but Edinburgh is well positioned to take a lead with its pioneering research in cell biology, stem cells and epigenetics.”


Professor Peter Swain, Director of the University of Edinburgh’s synthetic biology research group SynthSys, said: “This new funding recognises Edinburgh’s role as one of the leaders of synthetic biology in the UK. We are excited about bringing together two of the university’s strengths: regenerative medicine and systems and synthetic biology.”


Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: “Through previous investments BBSRC, along with funding partners, has been able to position the UK as a world leader in synthetic biology. This new package of investments will ensure that the UK maintains this leadership position and continues to drive the potential of synthetic biology to contribute to the economy and society.”