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Insight blog: Posts tagged with MRC National Institute for Medical Research

Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.

Foundation for the future: the next 25 years of MRC research

31 May 2013

Sydney Brenner

Sydney Brenner

Last week, to mark and celebrate the MRC’s Centenary, the Foundation for Science and Technology organised a one-off debate to discuss what the MRC’s research priorities should be for the next quarter of a century. Louise Wren, MRC Public Affairs Manager, was there to hear a stellar line-up of speakers Dr Sydney Brenner, Sir Paul Nurse and Sir Keith Peters talk about how the future of medical research lies in experimenting with ourselves.

Last Wednesday, I joined a packed auditorium at the Royal Society along with MRC scientists, former MRC Chief Executives and Chairs, and representatives from medical research charities, industry and government. We were all there to see what some of the country’s most eminent scientists had to say about the future direction of UK medical research.

Sydney — former Director of the MRC Laboratory Molecular Biology (LMB) and currently Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies’ Crick-Jacobs Centre in the US — began his talk by describing a moment early in his career when he travelled from Oxford to Cambridge to see Watson and Crick’s model of DNA, an experience which “opened the door to everything”. His list of subsequent achievements is considerable: he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work showing how genes regulate organ development and how cells are programmed to die, and also co-discovered messenger RNA, which enables the DNA code to be translated into proteins. Sydney spoke warmly of his career at the MRC which spanned almost 35 years, saying the LMB was an “amazing vehicle” which spearheaded research across the world, benefiting from its open, non-hierarchical approach. [...]

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Behind the picture: A bit of a mouthful

5 Mar 2013

In the second of a series of posts looking back on the photo archives of our 100-year history, Sarah Harrop muses on the health and safety of mouth pipetting, flu research and floral trousers. 

NIMR flu researchers pipetting by mouth in the late 1960s

NIMR flu researchers pipetting by mouth in the late 1960s

This photo is from the late 1960s, as the smart ties and ruler-straight side partings give away. It was taken at the WHO World Influenza Centre at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in Mill Hill, north London.

Supervising is Professor Helio Pereira, a Brazilian researcher who was then Director of the centre and Head of the MRC NIMR’s Virology Division. [...]

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Peering at malaria proteins

24 Jan 2013

Dispensing malaria medication in Nigeria (Credit: Flickr/World Bank Photo Collection)

Dispensing malaria medication in Nigeria (Credit: Flickr/World Bank Photo Collection)

Malaria will kill around one million people this year, many of them children in Africa. Delmiro Fernandez-Reyes, a researcher at the MRC’s National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), tells us about his research in urban Nigeria into the blood proteins of children with malaria, and how he hopes that this will one day lead to their quick diagnosis and treatment.

When you think of children with malaria, you might imagine them in rural Africa, miles from medical care. While malaria remains a huge problem in rural Africa, a surprisingly high number of children in large urban areas get the disease too.

The largest urban populations at risk of malaria are in western sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria, with its population of 160 million and some of the largest urban settings in Africa, accounts for a quarter of the world’s cases.

That’s why we’re trying to improve the care of urban children with malaria. One of the most important aspects of treating the infection is determining whether a case of malaria is uncomplicated — where a child has a fever and other symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhoea — or severe, where children can slip into a coma, have breathing difficulty or suffer severe anaemia. [...]

Continue reading: Peering at malaria proteins