Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, today visited the University of Dundee where he was given an insight into the world leading research being carried out in Life Sciences.
Dundee is the top-rated University in the UK for biological sciences research. Mr Hammond was given a tour of the School of Life Sciences including the Discovery Centre, the £50million building which was supported by direct funding from the UK Government.
The Chancellor visited the National Phenotypic Screening Centre, where an interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers are using innovative, high throughput imaging platforms that can be applied to human, animal, and plant health challenges.
Elements of the tour also included a visit to the Drug Discovery Unit, where work is ongoing to identify potential new treatments for some of the world’s major diseases. Scientists in the DDU developed the potential anti-malarial compound which is currently in advanced tests.
Life Sciences at Dundee has received more than £20 million in UK Government funding in recent years and is now ranked highly on global ratings for scientific excellence and impact of research.
The Chancellor, who also visited the site of the V&A Museum of Design Dundee (a project originated at the University), said:
'The work being done here at Dundee, with the support of the UK Government, is world leading and can have a transformative impact for people around the world, particularly those at risk from tropical diseases such as malaria.
'I have seen today how Dundee has benefitted from our life sciences and creative sector funding. I now look forward to progress being made on the Tay Cities Deal, which will follow the £1 billion already committed by the UK to Scotland’s City Deals so far.”
Professor Julian Blow, Dean of the School of Life Sciences at the University, said, “I was delighted to have the opportunity to show the Chancellor some of the work that has earned Dundee an international reputation as a centre of excellence in life sciences. We are committed to the highest quality teaching and research and ensuring that our work carries real impact. We do this with the help of staff and students who come to Dundee from around the world.”
NPSC's phenotypic screening platform is at the heart of efforts to develop a male pill.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have pledged $600,000 towards finding novel approaches to male birth control, which has been awarded to several laboratories worldwide. Different approches are being used to address the challenge, including genetic approaches to identify genes that might be good contraceptive targets, induced pluripotent stem cell approaches to find a better human model for male-contraceptive drug screening, and phenotypic approaches to identify agents that act on sperm function and fertility. NPSC is contributing to this this effort with high throughput biology and novel multiparametric phenotypic screening methods. High content imaging technology will be used to track sperm movement and to capture the “acrosome reaction,” when sperm shed a cap-like structure before penetrating an egg. A drug able to immobilize sperm, or block that reaction, could be a starting point for an effective contraceptive.
Seattle, WA – January 25, 2015
The technology for viewing, sharing, analysis and management of large sets of images and metadata will enable new collaborations and research.
Glencoe Software, the world-leading supplier of image data management solutions for biotech, pharma and publication industries, will provide the data management solution OMERO Plus for the newly established National Phenotypic Screening Centre (NPSC). Phenotypic analysis measures the characteristics and behavior of cells, tissues and even whole organisms, allowing comparisons between states such as health and disease, the presence or absence of toxins or drugs, or the effect of genetic mutants. A key challenge for NPSC is the development of automated workflows or “smart assays” that combine robotics with the use of advanced informatics and decision analytics in real-time to screen large numbers of potential drugs as efficiently and effectively as possible. NPSC is a highly collaborative environment with multiple partners worldwide requiring data sharing to be seamless and secure. To deliver on these requirements, NPSC has chosen Glencoe Software’s OMERO Plus data management, storage and integration technology to meet this challenge.