Biomedical Research Centre opens in Liverpool

Dr Hannah Levis, Reader in Ophthalmic Bioengineering, Eye & Vision Sciences

Scientists at the University of Liverpool will launch a new national research centre to further understanding into infections such as HIV and tuberculosis.

The Centre, which will be opened by Sir William Stewart, Chairman of the Health Protection Agency, is one of 12 in the country to be funded by the National institute for Health Research (NIHR) as part of the Government’s health research strategy. The joint venture has received £13.5 million funding from NIHR and a further £6.4million from the North West Development Agency. It will be run jointly by the University, the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

The Centre will focus on four areas – hospital and community acquired infections, chest infections, sexual health, and safety of antimicrobial drugs. Researchers will also have access to state-of-the-art facilities such as a new clinical research unit to trial new drug treatments and a medical microbiology facility for the identification and safe handling of bacteria.

Sir William said: “This is important work that will take place in first-rate facilities. I believe this Centre will be a magnet for our very best scientists, retaining and attracting the best brains to Liverpool and the North West, not just from elsewhere in the UK, but internationally. It is a privilege and pleasure to open such an important and worthwhile development.”

Professor Peter Winstanley, Executive Director of the Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), said: “This prestigious new centre puts Liverpool at the cutting edge of research and means we can pioneer new drugs and diagnostic tools for a range of conditions.  We will be investigating ways of alleviating suffering and treating infections which affect millions of people around the world.”

The Centre will deliver 13 projects over the next five years, which include areas such as genetic testing to identify who is most likely to be allergic to penicillin, and vaccine development for pneumonia – a major cause of death in children and adults worldwide.  Research will also include identification of the factors that cause HIV patients to develop resistance to drug therapies.

Tony Bell, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust Chief Executive, said: “There has been groundbreaking medical research going on in Liverpool for many years. The new Biomedical Research Centre acknowledges the excellence of that work and gives us the opportunity to make a much bigger impact on the treatment of infections worldwide. I am delighted to be part of such a vital development.” 

The opening of the Biomedical Research Centre will take place on Tuesday, 10 February at 11.00am in the Education Centre at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust, Prescot Street. 

Notes to editors:

1.  Members of the media are welcome at the event. Please call Kate Spark on the number below if you wish to attend.

2. The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £93 million annually.

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