University of Dundee

Wellcome Trust Announces £11m Boost for CLS Researchers

19 Jul 2012

The Wellcome Trust has announced over £11 million in strategic funding to two research groups at the University of Dundee.

A team led by Professor Irwin McLean has been awarded around £5.9m to help establish a Centre for Dermatology and Genetic Medicine, building on Dundee’s international reputation for research into the causes of skin diseases and developing new medicines for inherited skin disorders.

The Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression (GRE), led by Professors Angus Lamond and Julian Blow, has been given a £5.4m grant. The GRE Centre, established in 2008, is one of the leading research centres studying the cell biology of gene expression and chromosome biology. It has attracted scientists from around the world to come to work in Dundee.

Professor Doreen Cantrell, Head of the College of Life Sciences at Dundee, said, “These grants offer recognition of the outstanding basic and translational life sciences research that goes on in Dundee. The funding is a testament to the pioneering nature of Irwin, Angus and Julian and their colleagues’ research and represent a strong investment from the Wellcome Trust in the technologies that support it.”

Professor McLean said the Wellcome grant could shorten the time it will take to bring new skin disease therapies into clinical use.

“We are enormously grateful to The Wellcome Trust for awarding this strategic grant in recognition of the strong international reputation of the Dundee skin science groups in identifying the causes of skin diseases and developing new medicines for inherited skin disorders,” said Professor McLean.

“This award, to establish the Centre for Dermatology and Genetic Medicine, will allow us to rapidly expand our capability to find the causes of the remaining unsolved skin conditions using cutting edge genome sequencing technology and to expand our dermatology drug discovery programme.  Importantly, this large injection of funding will shorten the time to take our new therapies closer to clinical use.”

The grant will fund eighteen new research posts, 15 of them full-time positions.

Professor McLean’s award is the result of a cross disciplinary collaboration with Dundee colleagues Professor Paul Wyatt, of the Drug Discovery Unit, Dr Paul Campbell, of the Biomedical Physics Group, Professor Irene Leigh in the School of Medicine, and Geoff Barton Professor of Bioinformatics, together with Professor John McGrath, of Guy’s Hospital Medical School, London.

The GRE Centre comprises thirteen research groups and over 100 scientists.

Professor Lamond said, “I am delighted that the Wellcome Trust will be funding another five years of our research. This is clear recognition of the work that all our researchers and support staff in GRE have done over the past five years to form a centre for research excellence in gene regulation and expression here in Dundee. The grant will allow us to continue our ground-breaking research and world class technological infrastructure.

“This grant will support and develop technology and expertise in Microscopy, Mass Spectrometry, Computing and Proteomics, which is essential to our research.

“By using these technologies in our experiments we can gain a deep understanding of cell growth and regulation and how these cellular mechanisms go wrong in a range of human diseases.”