University of Dundee

DSTT researchers and drug companies celebrate milestone meeting

21 Oct 2013

The University of Dundee’s award-winning Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT) will tomorrow celebrate the 50th meeting of the collaboration, which brings scientists at the University together with the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies.

Established in 1998, DSTT is a unique collaboration between researchers in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU) at Dundee and six global pharma giants - AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Merck Serono and Pfizer.

Tomorrow will be the 50th meeting of the Programme Management Committee Meeting, and a specially designed cake will be cut by members of the group to celebrate the milestone. The event takes place at the reception of the Medical Sciences Institute, College of Life Sciences, at 11am.

Professor Dario Alessi, Director MRC-PPU, said, “This is an incredible milestone for us to reach. Since the collaboration started in 1998 we have held several meetings in Dundee each year. These three-day meetings include a scientific symposia to present our latest research data and a series of one-to-one meetings with research groups as requested by the companies.

“These meetings prove extremely valuable in disseminating our latest results and assisting companies with their development programmes”.

The MRC-PPU is  a major research centre that focuses on the understanding of the biological roles of  phosphorylation and ubiquitylation  and how disruption of these processes cause human diseases such as neurodegeneration, cancer, hypertension and immune disorders. The ultimate goal of the Unit’s research programmes is to help develop new improved strategies to treat disease.

The DSTT is widely regarded as a model of best practice in the interaction between academia and industry, and it was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2006. A key remit of the research undertaken in Dundee is to help define and validate new drug targets with the aim of obtaining sufficiently convincing results to persuade pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs against these targets.