Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.
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17 Mar 2021
In December 2020, Professor Sir Rory Collins was announced as the MRC Millennium Medal 2020 winner. Here Sarah Trenfield, a Strategic Stakeholder Engagement Manager at the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the lead of the MRC Millennium Medal competition, explores Sir Rory’s career and research successes to date during a virtual interview. The full-length interview and video digests can be accessed on the MRC YouTube channel.
Earlier this year, I was delighted to interview Sir Rory Collins, a British Heart Foundation (BHF) Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Head of the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford and the Chief Executive of UK Biobank. [...]
Continue reading: An Interview with the MRC Millennium Medal 2020 winner: Professor Sir Rory Collins
15 Mar 2021
Antibodies, antigens and T cells – we’re living through an extraordinary time where the language of immunology has become the everyday. And its testament to the decades-worth of effort by researchers like Don Mason, working together and building on previous research, that we have the knowledge and tools to understand, tackle and even prevent disease. Here, former colleague Neil Barclay, Emeritus EP Abraham Professor of Chemical Pathology, looks back on Don’s work, contributions and legacy.
Left to right: Don Mason, Alan Williams, Neil Barclay. Image credit: Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford
In 1985 there would have been nothing remarkable about this photo. But viewed through the lens of a pandemic, this intimate scene shows three Medical Research Council (MRC) scientists – Don Mason (left), Alan Williams (middle) and me (right) – doing something that has become almost unfamiliar this year. [...]
Continue reading: Behind the picture: Don Mason and his T cell legacy
22 Feb 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has had negative impacts on many, including female academics and researchers. Here, Sarah Arrowsmith, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Institute of Translational Medicine at the University of Liverpool, writes about her own struggles, as well as those of other women who are having to juggle being an academic and a parent during this pandemic.
In 2017, a recording of a Professor of South Korean politics went viral after his children famously gate-crashed his live BBC News TV interview. [...]
Continue reading: Mind the academic gender gap: How COVID-19 is skewing an already uneven playing field for female academics and what we can do collectively to respond
17 Feb 2021
Continuing the series with the first seminar of 2021, Claire Mooney, Strategic Stakeholder Engagement Manager for the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the organiser of the MRC Seminar Series, writes about the January seminar and the importance of understanding the spread of COVID-19 variants to overcome the pandemic.
Image credit: from the presentation slides by Dr James Shepherd, MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research
We’ve all experienced typos and the effects that they can have on the message we wanted to convey. Likewise, in December last year, some simple letter substitutions had major implications for the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, when changes were detected in the genetic code of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. [...]
Continue reading: MRC Seminar Series: “Tracking viral mutations to understand SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology and evolution”
2 Feb 2021
A detailed analysis of the UK landscape of prevention research has been published by the Medical Research Council (MRC). Here, Professor Nick Wareham, Director of the MRC Epidemiology Unit, Cambridge and Chair of MRC’s Population Health Sciences Group (PHSG); and Dr Gavin Malloch, MRC Programme Manager for Public Health Partnerships, tell us more about why this is important and what they found.
After many years of steady improvements in population health, the past decade has seen a marked slowdown, so that the UK now has among the lowest annual improvements in life expectancy at birth compared to other OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. [...]
Continue reading: UK landscape of prevention research
6 Jan 2021
Here, Claire Mooney, Strategic Stakeholder Engagement Manager for the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the organiser of the MRC Seminar Series, writes about the November 2020 seminar and the research being done to prevent brain damage in babies caused by birth asphyxia.
The idea of cooling a baby below normal body temperature goes against all our natural instincts. However, in his efforts to prevent the consequences of severe oxygen starvation during birth (birth asphyxia), Professor David Edwards (Professor of Neonatology at MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders) and his colleagues were among those who pioneered a technique that does exactly that. At the November edition of the MRC Seminar Series, he told us the fascinating story of the discovery and implementation of mild hypothermia treatment to prevent death and brain damage in babies after birth asphyxia. [...]
Continue reading: MRC Seminar Series: Treating brain damage after birth
14 Dec 2020
Following our blog about the launch of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Seminar Series, Claire Mooney, Strategic Stakeholder Engagement Manager for MRC and the organiser of the series, writes about the October seminar and the projects working to improve animal welfare in research.
Picking up a lab mouse using a tube rather than by the tail causes less stress to the animal. When I heard this while attending the October instalment of the MRC Seminar series, I was struck by how potentially impactful such a simple measure could be in improving the welfare of the 2.5 million mice used annually for research in the UK. [...]
Continue reading: MRC Seminar Series – NC3Rs: Pioneering better science
11 Dec 2020
Encouraging public and patient engagement and active involvement in research studies can have great benefits, especially in challenging areas. Here, Kate Sturgeon, Senior Research Nurse in the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, writes about how the Adolescents and Adults Living with Perinatal HIV (AALPHI) study did exactly this with young people living with HIV and its outcome.
The AALPHI study is one of only three cohort studies worldwide evaluating the impact of HIV on young people living with perinatal HIV (PHIV) that includes young people affected by HIV. [...]
Continue reading: Engaging and involving young people brings benefits to research studies
8 Dec 2020
In this blog, Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC), writes about the new title of “MRC Investigator” and its significance for Programme Leaders and Programme Leader Track Researchers.
I am delighted to share with you that we have recently bestowed the new title of “MRC Investigator” on Programme Leaders (PL) and Programme Leader Track (PLT) researchers at our Units and Intramural Institutes. These individuals are world-class scientists who are either strong leaders in their field already (PLs) or are making great strides towards that goal (PLTs). To support these researchers in advancing medical research, MRC provides core funding to the Intramural Institutes and University Units where they carry out their work. [...]
Continue reading: Introducing the MRC Investigators
3 Dec 2020
In September, we launched the Medical Research Council (MRC) Seminar Series, which takes place on the third Thursday of the month, to showcase health-related research from MRC investments and collaboration. Here, Claire Mooney, Strategic Stakeholder Engagement Manager for MRC and the organiser of the series, writes about what she took away from the inaugural event.
Over the last few months, we have all become very accustomed to looking at and interpreting graphs related to tracking the COVID-19 pandemic. [...]
Continue reading: MRC Seminar Series Launch: “Tracking the COVID-19 pandemic in real time”