Press release issued 12 July 2012Learning how cells function and how they interact with one another is pivotal to scientists being able to work out what goes wrong in illness, ageing, infection and disease – furthering our understanding of all these processes is dependent upon research in cell biology. A new £715K laboratory, opened at the University of Bristol, will equip scientists with the facilities they need to carry out the latest techniques in cell biology research.
Funding in the form of a £715,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation, coupled with significant investment from the University of Bristol has enabled the refurbishment of space in the University’s School of Medical Sciences to provide a state-of-the art laboratory space for cell biologists.
The facility will house three research teams, led by Professor George Banting, Professor David Stephens and Dr Jon Lane, who share a common interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie cell function — how the tens of thousands of individual components within a cell work together for the cell to do its job.
Professors Banting and Stephens will use the facility to study how proteins are delivered to the right place(s) within cells, how they are exported from cells, and how cell membranes are organised. This research is fundamental to cell biology as it has implications for a range of disease states as well as for tissue organisation and responses to pathogen (bacterial and viral) infection.
Dr Lane’s lab applies an understanding of membrane and cytoskeletal dynamics to "autophagy" — a process of cellular quality control that is upregulated during cell stress. This process is vital for normal organismal development, but can give rise to degenerative diseases and cancer if it goes wrong.
Professor Leo Brady, Head of the University’s School of Biochemistry said: “Cells are the building blocks of most forms of life. This investment from the Wolfson Foundation helps to keep Bristol at the cutting edge in cell biology research.”
The refurbishment also provides bespoke space for sophisticated microscopy systems that have been purpose built within the Stephens and Lane research groups. These systems complement the excellent imaging equipment available in the nearby Wolfson Bioimaging Facility – this unique facility was funded from a £1 million investment from the Wolfson Foundation and completed in 2008. It is regularly used by around 100 research groups across the University. It is situated is in close proximity on the same floor as the new laboratory space.
The Wolfson Foundation is a charity that awards grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health, education, and the arts and humanities. http://www.wolfson.org.uk
The Wellcome Trust funds a 4-year PhD programme in Dynamic Cell Biology at Bristol University.
Cells are the building blocks of most forms of life. This investment from the Wolfson Foundation helps to keep Bristol at the cutting edge in cell biology research.