New £23m research unit will use advances in genetics to help reduce risk of disease
Press release issued: 20 May 2013
A new £23million research unit is announced today, that will exploit the latest advances in genetics to improve understanding of how changes to lifestyle or environment, as well as pharmacological interventions, can reduce the risk of disease. The Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU), jointly funded by the Medical Research Council 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.
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."
About the Medical Research Council
For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved the health of people in the UK and around the world by supporting the highest quality science. The MRC invests in world-class scientists. It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains a flourishing environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and provides the financial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs, including one of the first antibiotics penicillin, the structure of DNA and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of the 21st century. www.mrc.ac.uk