University invests to recruit more world-class scientists


The University of Liverpool is investing more than £20 million to attract additional world-class researchers to its new Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

The University plans to recruit 23 academics of global standing to join the new Faculty which brings together world-leading expertise from Medicine; Biomedicine; and Veterinary, Health and Biological Sciences, creating one of the most comprehensive groupings of researchers in the UK.

The majority of posts are Chairs and include areas such as Infectious Diseases, Genetics, Pharmacology, Bioinformatics and Global Health.

The investment builds on a £70 million development of state-of-the-art laboratories at the University which will accommodate 600 researchers working across disciplines. Built around core technologies such as Genomics, Proteomics and Imaging, the first phase of the project will be completed in July 2011.

Executive Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Health and Life Sciences, Professor Ian Greer, said: “Liverpool has huge expertise in all aspects of Health and Life Sciences. We want to continue to attract leading research stars into strategically important areas to develop our research capability still further and consolidate our position as a world-leading research-intensive university. Our new research structure, underpinned by this significant investment, will strengthen our ability to tackle the major health challenges of the 21st Century.”

The new Faculty is organised around a number of institutes which reflect key research strengths at Liverpool. They are designed to enable new interdisciplinary alliances and close engagement between clinical and non-clinical research groups in both human and animal health.

The Institute of Infection and Global Health is at the forefront of research into infectious disease. Scientists from the National Centre for Zoonosis Research and the Liverpool Biomedical Research Centre in Microbial Diseases are working in collaboration with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme on infection, disease prevention and patient care.

Scientists are carrying out research into new viruses emerging from Asia – some of which are transmitted by insects – and older bacteria, which are developing resistance to available drugs. Other areas of research include respiratory, gastrointestinal and brain infections, and food-borne infections.

The need to improve quality of life underpins research in the new Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease which brings together researchers from biology and human and animal medicine to look at a range of chronic disorders from obesity to muscle ageing. Scientists in Musculoskeletal Biology are examining bone and joint disorders that occur in farm and companion animals and older people, as well as investigating the causes of frailty and weakness that lead to loss of mobility and independence in the elderly. The new Department of Eye and Vision Science is combining biology and clinical research to develop treatments for age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma while researchers in Obesity and Endocrinology are examining ways to mitigate the growing problem of obesity.

The Institute of Integrative Biology combines research strengths in fundamental Biosciences from structural and chemical biology to cell science, post-genomics and evolutionary biology, and behaviour. Scientists in this area are working in areas such as disease biology, host/pathogen science and global food security. In a breakthrough of international significance, researchers recently decoded the genome of wheat. Their work will enable crop breeders to increase the yield of many wheat varieties grown in different environments and has global impact at a time when wheat production is under threat.

The Institute of Translational Medicine aims to progress fundamental research into clinical benefit. The Institute is home to Liverpool’s Cancer Research UK Centre, carrying out ground-breaking work into pancreatic, blood and eye cancers, and the Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit, which oversees clinical trials taking place into new cancer therapies both in the UK and overseas. The Institute is also leading the way internationally in improving the safety and effectiveness of drugs. The Medical Research Council Centre for Drug Safety Science aims to prevent adverse drug reactions with improved drug design and selection, while the Centre for Personalised Medicines is establishing how drugs can be tailored to individual genetic make-up to maximise effectiveness and minimise side-effects and adverse reactions.

Researchers from the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society collaborate with colleagues from industry and the public sector, including the NHS and the police. Their research is focused on the evaluation of healthcare and a wide range of psychosocial interventions as well as aspects of psychology and human behaviour, including perception, language development, pain, addiction, appetite, and offending behaviour.

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