Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.
18 Mar 2020
MRC Executive Chair, Professor Fiona Watt
As MRC Executive Chair, I would like to reassure you that we are well aware that there may be delays in your grant expenditure or that you may incur additional costs. We will deal with these as sympathetically and flexibly as possible. [...]
Continue reading: An update for MRC funded researchers regarding the coronavirus situation
6 Mar 2020
At least once a year, the MRC’s Council hits the road and heads to a different area of the UK to learn about MRC-funded research in the region. Council member Dr Roger Highfield explains the importance of MRC’s regional meetings, and shares his experience of the latest, held at the University of Manchester.
Decades ago, studies of Whitehall civil servants revealed that the lower you are in the social hierarchy, the higher your risk of illness and death. [...]
Continue reading: On the road: MRC regional meetings
7 Feb 2020
We’re launching a new initiative with a mission to unlock the potential of precision genetic medicines and speed up clinical developments. Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University and Champion of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, tells us more about the Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator.
Today, I was delighted to join the launch event for the Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator (NATA), hosted by Professor Fiona Watt, the Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council, with interim NATA Director Professor Matthew Wood. [...]
Continue reading: Introducing NATA; the Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator
13 Jan 2020
Applications are now open to find 25 MRC researchers and technical experts for the next ‘I’m a Scientist Medical Research Zone’ in March 2020. Shonna Johnston, Flow Cytometry Facility Manager at the University of Edinburgh Queen’s Medical Research Institute, shares why more technicians should give it a go.
Image credit: Shonna Johnston
Last year, I took part in the I’m a Scientist MRC Festival Zone – an online competition giving school students the chance to connect with researchers and technical experts. The students challenged competitors in fast-paced live chats, asking anything they wanted, then voted for their favourite person to win a prize of £500 towards a public engagement activity of our choice. [...]
Continue reading: Connecting students with science
23 Dec 2019
Early in the new year, we’re launching a scheme to help speed up progress in translational research – and take research from the lab to the clinic faster. Here, our Clinical Director Professor Patrick Chinnery tells us more about the plans.
An independent report, published in September 2019, showed that our funding schemes for translational research – building on basic research to create new therapeutics and diagnostics – have been boosting the UK’s life sciences industry since we introduced them in 2008.
We commissioned the report to determine if these funding schemes had delivered innovation into health care and strengthened the return on investment from discovery research. We were pleased to find that the report showed the schemes had been successful. [...]
Continue reading: Establishing a new Precision Medicine Accelerator
23 Dec 2019
Over the past year, the University of Edinburgh MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine has been celebrating a significant milestone: 10 years as an MRC Centre. Robin Morton, the centre’s Science Communication Manager, guides us through the celebrations.
Image credit: Douglas-Robertson
Birthdays are a time of celebration, a time to reflect and to look forward to the future. When I joined the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) in 2016, I marvelled at its successes, excellent facilities and sense of community. [...]
Continue reading: Celebrating ten years of the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine
19 Dec 2019
Dr Sema Nickbakhsh is a research epidemiologist at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research. She describes the surprising relationships she’s found between flu and cold viruses, and why she enjoys looking at the bigger picture.
Image credit: University of Glasgow [...]
Career in brief:
- BSc (Hons) in Equine Science, The University of the West of England, Bristol
- MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology, The Royal Veterinary College / The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
- PhD in Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health, The University of Glasgow
- Research Assistant, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine, The University of Glasgow
- Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Edinburgh
- Postdoctoral Research Associate, MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research
Continue reading: Working life: epidemiologist Dr Sema Nickbakhsh
13 Dec 2019
Following on from previous blog posts discussing our commitment to mouse-based research and our strategic review of mouse genetics, here our Executive Chair Professor Fiona Watt sets out the MRC’s plans for a national network of mouse research excellence, with the Mary Lyon Centre positioned at its heart.
The MRC Council recently considered the recommendations of the MRC strategic review of mouse genetics and the role of the MRC Harwell Institute, which comprises the Mammalian Genetics Unit (MGU) and the Mary Lyon Centre (MLC). The Council concluded that future investment in mouse genetics should move away from large, hypothesis-free genome-wide programmes and focus instead on more targeted programmes that are integrated with human disease modelling. [...]
Continue reading: New investment in mouse research to enhance national coordination and collaboration
10 Dec 2019
Anna Beukenhorst, a PhD student at the University of Manchester, was commended in this year’s Max Perutz Science Writing Award. She sets out the challenges of studying the link between the weather and arthritis symptoms – and how collecting smartphone data from patients could help them better manage their pain.
Anna with MRC Executive Chair Professor Fiona Watt
When motorcycle legend Barry Sheene moved to Australia, it was not for another Grand Prix victory. It was for the weather. Sheene had retired from racing because of his arthritis. Like many arthritis patients he believed that the damp British weather worsened his arthritic pains. [...]
Continue reading: Smartphones for healthcare research: data at our fingertips
19 Nov 2019
PhD student Erin Attrill, of the Living Systems Institute at the University of Exeter, is the runner-up of our 2019 Max Perutz Science Writing Award. She explains how she’s aiming to harness the power of ‘viruses that infect bacteria’ to overcome antibacterial resistance.
Erin with MRC Executive Chair Professor Fiona Watt
The year is 2050, the stench of plague fills the air and 10 million people are dying from cuts and grazes due to an enemy that cannot be seen. You would be forgiven for believing that we had entered a dystopian, parallel future, but alas not. This is the current future of mankind if we do not address the ever-growing threat: antibiotic resistance. [...]
Continue reading: The enemy of my enemy is my friend