The MRC Biostatistics Unit at the University of Cambridge (MRC BSU) aims to advance understanding of the cause, natural history and treatment of disease, and to evaluate public health strategies, through the development of statistical methods and their application to the design, analysis and interpretation of biomedical studies.
The Medical Research Council Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford (MRC BNDU) is uniquely multidisciplinary and integrates exceptional research programmes covering clinical, experimental and computational neuroscience. The MRC BNDU's collective goal is to understand and exploit the moment-to-moment interactions between nerve cells that are critical for brain functions, with a special focus on the brain circuits underlying movement and memory. In achieving this, the MRC BNDU aims to develop and deliver novel therapies that specifically target the disturbed circuit interactions arising in disease.
The MRC Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge (MRC CU) undertakes research into understanding how cancers develop, and seeks to translate this knowledge into new approaches for diagnosis and treatment that can be applied in the clinic. Research focuses on discovering the early steps in epithelial carcinogenesis. A better understanding of these steps will foster new methods to improve the care and survival of patients with epithelial malignancies such as pancreatic, oesophageal, lung, breast and skin cancers.
The MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL (MRC CTU at UCL) is a centre of excellence for clinical trials, meta-analyses and epidemiological studies. It specialises in cancer and HIV/AIDS, but also undertakes research in other areas, including rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis and mental health.
The MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (MRC CBU), at the University of Cambridge, is one of the largest and most enduring contributors to the understanding of human cognition and its disorders. The unit explores cognitive activities such as attention, emotion, language and memory. The research carried out spans the spectrum from basic to translational science including developing new treatments for depression, improving hearing through cochlear implants and helping children to overcome memory problems.
The Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh (CCACE) focuses on the reciprocal influences of cognition and health across the human life course. The Centre is part of the research councils’ Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW) programme and is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
The MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science seeks to improve understanding of the toxicology of clinically important adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Through fostering a collaborative environment between academia, industry and regulators, the Centre aims to prevent ADRs in order to improve safety of medicines and reduce loss of drugs from the market. The Centre tackles these challenges by identifying toxic potential in new drug candidates, identifying susceptible individuals to inform their therapeutic management, and using such information to guide early-stage drug design, through avoiding incorporation of potentially toxic chemical motifs.
The Centre for Environment and Health is a partnership between Imperial College London and Kings College London supported jointly by the MRC and Public Health England. Research pursues a multi-disciplinary approach to address the epidemiology of environmental pollutants, and to translate this knowledge to inform national and international policymakers and industry in order to improve health. The Centre achieves this through key health-driven research programmes in air pollution & noise, the ‘exposome’ and small area studies of the environment. The programmes are underpinned by cross-cutting research themes on cohorts, biostatistics and systems toxicology, together with a risk assessment and policy translation programme.
The MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge (MRC EU) studies the genetic, developmental and environmental factors that cause obesity, diabetes and related metabolic disorders. The outcomes from these studies are then used to develop strategies for the prevention of these diseases in the general population.
The Francis Crick Institute is a unique partnership between the MRC, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, University College London, Imperial College London and King's College London.The Francis Crick Institute at Mill Hill was formed from the MRC National Institute for Medical Research on 1 April 2015.
The MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (MRC IGMM) at the University of Edinburgh is a strategic partnership between the MRC and University of Edinburgh, joining the MRC Human Genetics Unit with the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine (CGEM) and the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre (ECRC), under the Directorship of Professor Margaret Frame. The mission of IGMM is to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying normal human development and disease, including cancer, and translate these findings for clinical benefit.
The MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis is an international resource and centre of excellence for research on the epidemiological analysis and modelling of novel infectious disease outbreaks with a strong emphasis on public health translation. The Centre’s objectives have also evolved with the priorities of many key public health partners. Pandemic influenza has been the Centre’s greatest area of activity, however it has also increased focus on other infectious disease threats: malaria control and possible elimination, polio eradication, the potential of new interventions to revolutionise control of the sub-Saharan Africa HIV epidemic, and the growing public health challenge posed by dengue in many middle income countries. They have developed methodological tools for outbreak analysis that will now also be applied to tracking transmissibility of seasonal endemic diseases.
By harnessing health and biomedical data in the UK, Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) will develop and apply cutting edge data science approaches in order to address the most pressing health research challenges facing the public. HDR UK is a joint investment led by the MRC, together with the National Institute for Health Research (England), the Chief Scientist Office (Scotland), Health and Care Research Wales, Health and Social Care Research and Development Division (Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the British Heart Foundation and Wellcome.
The mission of the MRC Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh (MRC HGU) is to explore the mechanisms underlying human genetic disease and normal development and physiology. The Unit's research seeks to identify the genetic risk factors in common disease in isolated populations, develop animal model systems to study human genetic disease and mammalian development, understand the role of nuclear and cytoplasmic organisation in regulating the flow of information from DNA to the organism, and investigate opportunities for novel therapeutic approaches including stem cell therapy. The HGU works alongside the University of Edinburgh Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine (CGEM) and the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre (ECRC) under the overarching vision of the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.
The MRC Human Immunology Unit at the University of Oxford (MRC HIU) undertakes research in human immunology, applying this knowledge to the development of better treatment strategies against infectious diseases, cancer, allergy and autoimmune diseases. Directed by Professor Vincenzo Cerundolo, the HIU research spans basic to translational immunology with experimental medicine programmes and clinical trials in vaccine development for infectious diseases and cancer, therapies for eczema and for multiple sclerosis. HIU has strong interactions with clinical medicine making studies on patients and patient material possible, fostering the pursuit of basic discovery in the clinic and the development of new therapeutic approaches. The unit collaborates closely with other groups in the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford.
The MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol (MRC IEU) seeks to integrate molecular, cellular, clinical and population data to optimise the identification of causal associations between potentially modifiable exposures and health outcomes. The Unit will adopt a multidisciplinary approach to address major public health issues of relevance to the UK and global health agenda, drawing upon disciplines that extend beyond the conventional realms of epidemiology, to enhance causal and translational epidemiology.
The MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton (MRC LEU) at the University of Southampton aims to elucidate important, preventable causes of common chronic disorders and their complications. It focuses on the interplay of causes acting at different stages of the lifecourse from before conception through to old age, and the ways in which environmental influences modulate gene expression to produce disease.
The MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL (MRC LHA at UCL) is home of the National Survey of Health and Development (NHSD) and other population-based studies. The Unit’s mission is to identify social and biological factors that affect lifelong health, ageing and the development of chronic disease risk by: using and enhancing the NSHD and other population-based studies; and exchanging knowledge gained with policymakers, health practitioners and other research users, and promoting public understanding of healthy ageing.
The MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (MRC LMS), one of MRC’s Institutes, is committed to undertaking high quality fundamental research that underpins human disease that is long-term in scope, multi-disciplinary and collaborative in nature, and creative by design. The scientific strategy of the Institute relies on three guiding principles: recruit the best young scientists and give them the opportunity to flourish; build cohesion around specific areas of scientific excellence that harness the opportunities arising from our close partnership with Imperial College London; and, identify, and/or create, novel research areas that address important national and international priorities adding value to MRC’s investment.
The Medical Research Council Centre for Medical Mycology at the University of Exeter (MRC CMM) facilitates innovative interdisciplinary research and training that will substantially advance the understanding of fungal pathogenesis and host immunity. The MRC CMM are generating knowledge that has the potential to improve the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of fungal diseases, an area of infectious disease that has enormous impact on human health.
The MRC Metabolic Research Laboratories at the University of Cambridge (MRC MRL) at the University of Cambridge has been developed to improve understanding the mechanisms responsible for obesity and related metabolic diseases with the eventual goal of developing interventions to prevent and treat them. The MRL also hosts the MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit.
Research at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit (MRC MBU) is focussed on the biology of mitochondria and their dysfunction in an ever-increasing range of human diseases. The Unit combines studies exploring the molecular function of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system, the mitochondrial proteome and genome, and how mitochondria interact with the cell through homeostatic, signalling and execution pathways. Combined with the wealth of clinical, genetic and biochemical data provided by mitochondrial medicine, and the use of model systems with perturbed mitochondrial physiology, the Unit aims to exploit its findings for the development of new therapies to treat human disease.
The MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection is a cross-faculty, multidisciplinary research centre comprising over 55 academic and postdoctoral research staff and 35 postgraduate students. Research themes include infection genomics, cellular and structural microbiology, host innate immunity and antimicrobial resistance and persistence. The overall mission is to be at the forefront of research on bacterial infection and immunity, with significant critical mass to cover major areas of scientific interest and clinical importance. To ensure critical mass, there is an active masters and PhD programme aimed at basic and clinical researchers.
The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB)’s overarching mission is to better understand biological process at the molecular level, employing diverse methods of physics, chemistry and biology. The work covers a broad range of science, but the emphasis is on areas that are of fundamental biological importance, those that provide major challenges best addressed in a multidisciplinary environment with long-term support and those where detailed molecular studies offer opportunities for medical benefits or major technical innovation. LMB has four Research Divisions:
- Cell Biology: To discover the molecular mechanisms of fundamental cellular processes with potential medical significance
- Neurobiology: To understand fundamental properties of nerve cells in health and disease through the elucidation of molecular mechanisms
- Protein & Nucleic Acid Chemistry: To obtain insights into human biological diseases at the molecular and structural level
- Structural Studies: To understand the mechanisms underlying fundamental biological processes
The MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology at UCL (MRC LMCB at UCL) seeks to understand the molecular basis of cell function and behaviour under normal and pathological conditions with the goal of developing novel therapeutic strategies to treat human disease. Directed by Professor Mark Marsh a key aim of the LMCB is the development of cutting edge technical platforms, in particular in imaging, to understand the biochemical complexity, spatial and dynamic organisation and regulation of the cell at unparalleled resolutions. Research themes include cell polarity, the cytoskeleton in development and mitosis, cell biology of virus transmission, control of cell growth and proliferation, secretory mechanisms and haemostasis, neurobiology, phospho-inositide signalling, and receptor expression and organisation.
The MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at the University of Oxford (MRC MHU) investigates the processes by which multipotential haemopoietic stem cells become committed and differentiate into the highly specialised cells found in the peripheral blood (red cells, granulocytes, lymphocytes and platelets). Directed by Professor Doug Higgs, the MHU studies how these processes are perturbed in acquired and inherited blood diseases (e.g. thalassaemia, myelodysplasia and leukaemias). MHU research is closely integrated with the National Health Service, giving access to patients with haematological disease and clinical material, thus ensuring that the Unit’s scientific developments can be rapidly translated into improved clinical care. The unit collaborates closely with other groups in the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford.
The mission of the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (MRC WIMM) is to investigate the processes underlying normal cell and molecular biology and to determine the mechanisms by which these processes are perturbed in inherited and acquired human diseases. The MRC WIMM combines outstanding clinical research with excellent basic science through an equal mixture of scientists and clinicians working together and in collaboration with the National Institute of Health Research, the National Health Service and with commercial companies with the aim of improving the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. The major topics of current research include haematology, immunology, stem cell biology, oncology and inherited human genetic diseases. The MRC WIMM hosts the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit and MRC Human Immunology Unit.
MRC Harwell comprises the Mary Lyon Centre (MLC) and MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit (MRC MGU) that together function as a multi-disciplinary, integrated campus, funded by the MRC, dedicated to research using the mouse as a model for human disease. The Unit’s mission is to advance medicine and knowledge through the discovery and characterisation of mouse models of human disease. The research employs mouse genetics, large-scale functional genomics, lifetime studies from development to ageing, pre-clinical studies of disease models, and data analysis to enhance our understanding of the molecular and genetic bases of disease.
The MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research (CMAR), a collaborative research venture between Birmingham and Nottingham Universities, aims to understand how ageing results in the loss of musculoskeletal function and to use this knowledge to intervene and minimise age-related musculoskeletal decline and disease.
The MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Integrated research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA) is a collaboration between the Universities of Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle and aims to understand why our bone, joints and muscles function less well as we age, and why older people develop clinical diseases such as arthritis or osteoporosis.
The Arthritis Research UK-MRC Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work is a multidisciplinary collaboration funded by Arthritis Research UK and the Medical Research Council with the overarching aim to identify cost-effective ways to minimise the substantial adverse impacts of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. The Centre is co-ordinated by the University of Southampton (hub) with collaboration from 14 other UK academic institutions.
The MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders at King's College London aims to understand the origins of neurodevelopmental disorders, with a focus on schizophrenia, Autism spectrum disorders, and epilepsy. Researchers will investigate the biological mechanisms underlying these disorders in human patients and animal models incorporating transversal activities (cross cutting mechanisms and technological platforms) bringing together investigators from multiple disciplines, including neonatology, neurology, psychiatry, neuroscience, genetics, stem cells and imaging technology.
The MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases works to reduce the gap between major science discoveries and patient benefit in genetic and acquired neuromuscular diseases. The Centre has established clinical and research links with other neuromuscular research groups and patient organisations throughout the UK and works with very large adult and paediatric neuromuscular disease patient populations. The Centre has created a platform for clinical trials and a neuromuscular biobank and designed novel approaches for neuromuscular MRI and the analysis of neuromuscular animal models. It promotes world-class neuromuscular education and training.
The main goal of the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics is to understand how genes are involved in a range of common psychiatric and neurological disorders, and to use this knowledge to improve our understanding of how these diseases arise and to develop new approaches to diagnosis and treatment. Research focuses on major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The MRC Population Health Research Unit at the University of Oxford (MRC PHRU) is funded by a strategic partnership between the MRC and the University of Oxford.
Directed by Professor Colin Baigent, the MRC PHRU aims to generate reliable evidence from large-scale randomised trials, genetic or classical epidemiological studies and meta-analyses, leading directly to practical methods of avoiding premature death and disability, or to an understanding of disease mechanisms. Its focus is chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal disease and cancer.
The MRC Prion Unit at UCL has highly multidisciplinary research programmes and focuses both on areas of public health concern and a long-term approach to the understanding of prion disease. They include studies of molecular structure, genetics, biochemistry, immunology, cell and animal models, and clinical research including treatment trials. The Unit is developing a blood test for prion protein and has two programmes to develop novel therapies. Understanding prion protein activity is important because it is now known that many neurodegenerative diseases also involve abnormal protein folding and accumulation.
The MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit at the University of Dundee (MRC PPU) seeks to advance our understanding of the role of protein phosphorylation and ubiquitylation in cell regulation, with emphasis on research that furthers the understanding of human disease. Directed by Professor Dario Alessi the Unit aims to maximise translation of research outputs for clinical and economic benefit, in particular through generation of reagents and improved technologies that support pharmaceutical industry-driven development of drugs that modulate disease-associated phosphorylation and ubiquitylation pathways.
The Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP) jointly funded by MRC and the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) is based at the University of Edinburgh. SCPHRP facilitates collaborations between all sectors of the public health community seeking to develop Scotland as a leader in public-health intervention research for equitable health improvement.
The CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology (OIRO), directed by Professor Gillies McKenna, explores aspects of radiation biology that have direct applicability to the treatment of cancer. This includes understanding how cells respond to and repair radiation-induced DNA damage, defining the microenvironmental factors that affect these responses and identifying targets to alter tumour or normal tissue responses to radiation. In addition, the Institute integrates basic research with imaging science to advance the application of multimodality functional imaging to radiation therapy and earlier detection of secondary cancers.
The MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) studies stem cells and regeneration to improve human health. The Centre’s research is aimed at developing new treatments for major diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, and liver failure. The Centre also helps European citizens make sense of stem cells and their impact on society through its support for the European Union-funded Eurostemcell a hub offering reliable information and road-tested educational resources.
The MRC Centre for Reproductive Health (CRH) focuses on the development of novel strategies for diagnosis and treatment of adult reproductive disorders and interventions that will ensure the future health of the nation by ensuring all babies are born healthy.
The Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) is a multidisciplinary laboratory that provides facilities for researchers to undertake new and cutting edge scientific research in both life and physical sciences and the interface between them. Many of the most important current advances in science take place at the interfaces between traditional disciplines and frequently use large central facilities. RCaH provides the environment and facilities for researchers in the life and physical sciences to undertake research across such traditional barriers, and encourage synergy between these areas of UK research excellence.
The MRC/Chief Scientist Office Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow (MRC/CSO SPHSU) promotes human health by the study of social, behavioural, economic and environmental influences on health with the aim of providing robust evidence to inform policies to improve population health and reduce social inequalities in health.
The Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute’s mission is to explore and define the properties of stem cells in order to establish their true medical potential. The Institute has particular interests in understanding the basic biology of pluripotency, together with hematological stem cell biology, neural repair, epithelial stem cell biology, and cardiovascular repair. The Institute aims to exploit stem cells as tools to study human disease and to accelerate the discovery of novel therapeutic approaches within these themes.
The MRC Unit The Gambia at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is the UK’s single largest investment in medical research in a developing country and is internationally recognised for its track record of research into tropical infectious diseases. Its success is based on innovative lab-based research, excellent clinical studies and field-oriented science, and the translation of research into clinical and public health practice. The Unit’s vision is to lead scientific research to save lives and improve health across the developing world. It aims to deliver this through investment in four major research themes: Child Survival, Vaccinology, Disease Control and Elimination, and most recently Nutrition, following the integration of the International Nutrition Group into the Unit to further enhance investigations of the important role of nutrition in each of the research themes.
The MRC Toxicology Unit seeks to deliver field-changing mechanistic insights into toxicology and disease. Using unbiased systems biology approaches, the Unit researches the effects that occur following cellular exposure to chemicals, radiation and external biological agents. The unit, directed by Professor Anne Willis, aims to develop new models better able to predict the molecular mechanisms of diseases associated with toxic exposure that will provide insights leading to novel treatments for disease. The Unit interacts closely with industry and regulatory stakeholders.
The MRC Centre for Transplantation spans four research themes to deliver insights into mechanisms of tolerance and rejection after transplantation: 1) Overcoming early inflammation after transplantation using cytoprotective therapy; 2. Networks that regulate tolerance and promote long term graft acceptance; 3. Immune prediction and monitoring as a guide to patient care and; 4. Investigating the inflammatory and immune response by external imaging.
Its science base cuts across liver, kidney, pancreas, bone marrow, islet, hepatocyte and stem cell transplantation, in what is one of the largest patient groups in Europe and the Centre incorporates a training theme in research ethics and legislation via links with the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics at KCL. The MRC Centre is closely linked with the Transplant theme of the NIHR Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
The MRC/UVRI Uganda research Unit on AIDS conducts research on HIV disease and related infections to facilitate their control in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa. Specifically it investigates the determinants of HIV infection and subsequent disease progression in the African context; to identify and evaluate new strategies aiming at the prevention of HIV infection as well as interventions aiming to alleviate the clinical and social consequences of the infection. The work is multidisciplinary, reflecting the wide ranging nature of the problems caused by HIV. Activities range from virology, and immunology to clinical studies and intervention trials, epidemiological studies, behavioural research and health economy studies, supported by strong statistical and laboratory services and a community development programme.
The MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (MRC CVR) carries out multidisciplinary research on viruses and viral diseases of humans and animals, translating the knowledge gained for the improvement of human and animal health. A defining feature of the CVR is its breadth of expertise ranging from molecular virology to in vivo pathogenesis, virus-cell interactions, viral immunology, viral ecology, viral oncology, clinical and veterinary virology, viral diagnostics, virus epidemiology, mathematical modelling and bioinformatics. The CVR’s research programmes cover the themes of emerging viruses including arboviruses, innate and intrinsic immunity to virus infection, hepatitis C virus, viruses and cancer, structural virology, viral genomics and bioinformatics.