Celebrating 100 years of world-class health research
Press release issued: 17 June 2013
A pop-up festival of medical science, discussing everything from smoking to how the human memory works, is being held to celebrate 100 years of world-class health research. Academics from the University of Bristol will be sharing their latest work and inviting the public to debate topical health issues at M Shed on Thursday [20 June] to mark the centenary of the Medical Research Council (MRC), which funds three centres and over 70 projects in the city.
Academics from the University of Bristol will be sharing their latest work and inviting the public to debate topical health issues at M Shed on Thursday [20 June] to mark the centenary of the Medical Research Council(MRC), which funds three centres and over 70 projects in the city.
As the UK’s oldest research council, the MRC has been at the forefront of scientific discoveries to improve human health since 1913, when it was founded to tackle tuberculosis. It now invests taxpayers’ money in some of the best medical research in the world across every area of health.
An insight into the ground-breaking projects it funds at Bristol University will be given to the public on Thursday, including an overview of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), known as Children of the 90s - a long-term research project that is assisting scientists all over the world with research into a wide range of health problems.
Professor Graham Collingridge, from the MRC Centre for Synaptic Plasticity, will explain how our brains use synaptic plasticity to store information and so is critical for learning and memory. He’ll examine how understanding synaptic plasticity may be used to develop effective treatments for major brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism and depression.
The MRC is also jointly funding the new £23 million Integrated Epidemiology Unit (IEU) with the University of Bristol, which 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.
Sir Eric Thomas, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: “Many of the scientific breakthroughs that have made an unprecedented impact on our quality of life are thanks to the MRC and its commitment to public health over the past century. The development of penicillin as a drug, the invention of MRI scanners, DNA finger printing and proving the link between smoking and cancer are just a few examples.
“As a University, their continued support has enabled us to carry out world-leading research which is used by the medical profession every day. The current research being funded by the MRC will no doubt enable us to make discoveries which will transform the diagnosis and treatment of major diseases in the future.”
The Pop-Up Festival of Medical Science will also feature interactive workshops where participants will be invited to discuss the science behind some of the biggest questions and ideas in 21st century science research, including why people smoke and drink, how the human memory works, developing stem cell therapies, kidney failure and the importance of patient and public involvement in research.
The event is free and begins at 6pm, Thursday 20 June at M Shed.
Researchers will also be taking a mobile teaching unit to Mangotsfield Primary School to-do hands on research into memory and kidney function with pupils in Years 7 and 8.
The Medical Research Council has been at the forefront of scientific discovery to improve human health. Founded in 1913 to tackle tuberculosis, the MRC now invests taxpayers’ money in some of the best medical research in the world across every area of health.
Twenty-nine MRC-funded researchers have won Nobel prizes in a wide range of disciplines, and MRC scientists have been behind such diverse discoveries as vitamins, the structure of DNA and the link between smoking and cancer, as well as achievements such as pioneering the use of randomised controlled trials, the invention of MRI scanning, and the development of a group of antibodies used in the making of some of the most successful drugs ever developed.
Today, MRC-funded scientists tackle some of the greatest health problems facing humanity in the 21st century, from the rising tide of chronic diseases associated with ageing to the threats posed by rapidly mutating micro-organisms.
The MRC Centenary Timeline chronicles 100 years of life-changing discoveries and shows how our research has had a lasting influence on healthcare and wellbeing in the UK and globally, right up to the present day. Detailed information of the range of events happening in locations across the UK is available at www.centenary.mrc.ac.uk/events/