Medical Research Council approves £24million funding to its University of Dundee Unit

28th June, 2013

A research centre at the University of Dundee dedicated to advancing understanding and treatment of human diseases such as cancer, Parkinson\'s, immune disorders and hypertension has been awarded £24million by the Medical Research Council to continue its work over the next five years.

The funding will enable the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU) to expand and recruit a number of new researchers to Dundee.

It will also allow the integration into the MRC-PPU of the Scottish Institute of Cell Signalling, which was established at Dundee in 2008 following support of £10m from the Scottish Government.

This will enable the Unit to undertake research in the area ubiquitylation, which is turning out to be of tremendous importance to understanding many diseases.

The MRC-PPU already supports 162 staff from 25 countries and this new funding from the MRC will be critical in sustaining these staff positions within their University of Dundee laboratories.

Professor Dario Alessi, Director of the MRC-PPU, said, \'At these financially challenging times this is incredibly generous support from the MRC. It is a strong endorsement of our research that aims to improve our understanding of human diseases.

\'Importantly this investment by the MRC will enable us to expand our research activities to new exciting areas such as investigating the role of ubiquitylation in human disease. It will also enable us to recruit new creative and talented researchers from all over the world to our Unit.

\'Our researchers thrive on their collaborations with the pharmaceutical industry. Our ability to expand into the ubiquitylation research areas and to recruit additional researchers will greatly boost our links with the pharmaceutical industry. I hope that this will enable us to make a significant contribution towards aiding these companies develop new therapies for the treatment of diseases in the future.

\'We will also use this new funding to ensure that we provide all of our staff with an extraordinary research and training experience. Funding will also support training of clinician scientists and increase our engagement with the clinical community to enhance translational opportunities for the ultimate benefit of patients. This is particularly welcome in the Centenary year of the MRC.\'

The funding is announced in the week that the MRC celebrates 100 years of life saving research funded by the taxpayer. Founded in 1913 to tackle tuberculosis, the MRC now invests taxpayer\'s money in some of the best medical research in the world including the team at the MRC-PPU.

Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, said, \'It\'s important for people to know how crucial their own money has been in uncovering health improvements that have saved millions of lives. If I asked the person on the street, \'did you know you\'ve helped invent the MRI scanner and DNA fingerprinting, or helped make skin grafts work or proved the link between smoking and cancer?\' - he\'d probably look blankly at me. And these discoveries are just the tip of the iceberg of what the taxpayer has funded- through the MRC - over the course of its history.

\'On the MRC\'s 100 year birthday, I\'d like everyone to celebrate their own contribution to making the UK a world leader in medical research. Long may MRC-funded research continue to have such an impact on the health and wealth of the UK and beyond.\'


About the Medical Research Council
Over the past century, the Medical Research Council has been at the forefront of scientific discovery to improve human health. Founded in 1913 to tackle tuberculosis, the MRC now invests taxpayers\' money in some of the best medical research in the world across every area of health.

MRC scientists have been behind such diverse discoveries as vitamins, the structure of DNA and the link between smoking and cancer, the invention of MRI scanning.

Today, MRC-funded scientists tackle some of the greatest health problems facing humanity in the 21st century, from the rising tide of chronic diseases associated with ageing to the threats posed by rapidly mutating micro-organisms.

About the MRC-PPU
The MRC-PPU was established in 1990 by the MRC to investigate the role that protein phosphorylation play in regulating human diseases and originally comprised two research groups less than 20 staff lead by its previous Director Sir Philip Cohen. During this period the Unit has expanded substantially and by the end of 2013 will comprise 20 major research groups. The MRC-PPU has trained over 100 PhD students, 300 postdocs, and provided tremendous employment opportunities for many talented support staff. Its researchers have published over 500 research papers that have greatly contributed to our understanding of human diseases such as cancer, immune disorders and neurodegeneration. Most of the researchers who have worked in our Unit have gone on to highly successful careers all over the world that include starting companies, running major research institutes and laboratories, working in pharmaceutical companies as well as undertaking senior administrative roles.


For media enquiries contact:
Roddy Isles
Head, Press Office
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384910
MOBILE: 07800 581902


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