Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.
26 Nov 2020
The new vaccine, ChAdOx-1 nCoV19, developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca has generated international headlines this week. This breakthrough was the result of both long and short-term funding support, from UK Research and Innovation councils with the Medical Research Council at the heart. Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute and lead scientist on the vaccine project, describes what the journey has been like so far.
Professor Sarah Gilbert. Credit: John Cairns
The story behind this week’s successful trial results started back in January when we first heard reports of a new respiratory disease emerging in China. [...]
Continue reading: ‘The longest week ever’: the story behind the latest COVID-19 vaccine success
25 Nov 2020
For the first time, the MRC Millennium Medal 2020 successfully opened for nominations to recognise outstanding MRC-funded researchers that demonstrate scientific excellence and impact across the research environment. Here, Dr Glenn Wells, Director of Strategy and Planning at the Medical Research Council (MRC), reflects on the high-quality nominations received for the Medal.
We are truly delighted by the number of exceptional nominations received for this year’s MRC Millennium Medal 2020. As the new Director of Strategy and Planning at the MRC, I was particularly inspired to see the diverse ways that MRC-funded researchers make a difference to people’s lives, ranging from advancing medical research to transforming the entire research landscape. [...]
Continue reading: Reflecting on the MRC Millennium Medal 2020 Nominations
18 Nov 2020
With support from the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN), the NIHR INCLUDE Steering Group has produced both general and COVID-19 specific guidance to help make health research more inclusive. Eleanor Anderson, NIHR CRN Project Coordinator, tells us more.
Image Credit: Laura Broderick, Graphic and Creative Facilitator, Think Big Picture
The INCLUDE project was commissioned in 2017 to explore how to improve the inclusion of under-served groups in clinical research. A steering group was formed, consisting of national leaders in health research across many specialisms, including: ageing, critical care medicine, genetics, academia, patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE), research design and delivery. [...]
Continue reading: NIHR INCLUDE: Improving inclusion of under-served groups in health research
18 Nov 2020
As reports of new COVID-19 vaccines offer us “hope in a vial”, MRC Executive Chair Fiona Watt explains why it’s so important to have multiple vaccines in the pipeline.
Many of us have breathed a huge sigh of relief following the recent, long-awaited news of two vaccines for COVID-19. Although the results are still preliminary, both the Pfizer and BioNtTech vaccine and the US company Moderna’s vaccine announced earlier this week look to be really effective – 90% and 95% respectively – in protecting people from the virus. [...]
Continue reading: Covid vaccines – Why we need more than one iron in the fire
29 Oct 2020
The Medical Research Council (MRC) is investing more than £20m in a major new network in mouse genetics for disease modelling to accelerate our understanding of human disease and improve diagnosis and treatments. Here, Professor Owen Sansom, Director of the National Mouse Genetics Network, writes about his vision for the new network, the exciting opportunity for the UK, and plans to engage with the community.
Image Credit: MRC Toxicology Unit [...]
Continue reading: National Mouse Genetics Network
16 Oct 2020
Research has continued at the Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) in recent months, adapting to the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. As Director of this unique UKRI cross-disciplinary facility, Professor David Payne discusses the importance of resilient science for the research community this week in Research Professional News and in an excerpt below.
Image credit: The Research Complex at Harwell [...]
Continue reading: Resilient science: Adapting to the new normal
15 Oct 2020
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, it is important that people look after their mental health. The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘mental health for all’. In the light of these two things, we talk to Dr Helen Fisher, Reader in Developmental Psychopathology at King’s College London, to look back over a mental health initiative that began on World Mental Health Day last year to see what impact it has had.
Image credit: The National Gallery, London [...]
Continue reading: The National Gallery mental health audio tour: a year on
12 Oct 2020
Back in June, MRC Executive Chair, Professor Fiona Watt, outlined how researchers were tackling the far-reaching effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our mental health. Here, Gordon Johnston, a peer researcher with lived experience of mental ill health, and a co-applicant on the University of York’s Optimising Wellbeing during Self-isolation (OWLS) project – a project recently funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – describes its background, his involvement, and how it can help us understand the impact of Covid-19 on mental ill health.
Continue reading: Understanding the impact of the pandemic on people with mental ill health
5 Oct 2020
The race is on to find a vaccine for Covid-19. What are the pros and cons of deliberately infecting young, healthy volunteers, in a controlled environment, to speed up the process of finding a vaccine that works? Dr Martin Broadstock, Programme Manager for Vaccines at UKRI’s Medical Research Council (MRC), examines the issues. [...]
Continue reading: Human-Challenge Trials – Should we deliberately infect volunteers with Covid-19 to test a vaccine?
4 Sep 2020
It is over a century since scientists started exploring genetic diseases using mice and during that time, the laboratory mouse has become the mammal of choice for much of biological research. In 2019, UK laboratories alone used 2.5 million mice. Here, the Director of the Mary Lyon Centre and a mouse geneticist, Sara Wells, talks about the important work being done at the Centre for advancing mouse genetics towards human disease.
Image credit: The Mary Lyon Centre
The biological similarities between mouse and man are obvious, we have many of the same organ systems and share the majority of our genes. However, there are some stark genetic and physiological differences between us and laboratory mice which have the potential to confound disease studies. The Mary Lyon Centre, an international resource for mouse genetics situated on the Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire, is striving to close the gap between human and mouse studies and develop improved methods for preclinical research requiring the use of genetically altered mice. [...]
Continue reading: The Mary Lyon Centre: Advancing mouse genetics towards human disease