Translational Medicine
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The City of Glasgow

Glasgow, with a population of around 600,000 and a further 700,000 plus in surrounding suburbs, is Scotland’s largest city, and one of Europe’s liveliest with a varied and colourful social and cultural life which can cater for every taste. Situated on the River Clyde in west central Scotland Glasgow has excellent road and rail links with the rest of the UK and air services and connections to a wide range of destinations at home and overseas. Despite being at the heart of a major conurbation there is easy access to beautiful countryside and the Clyde Estuary. Edinburgh, is less than an hour away as are Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, now the heart of Scotland’s first National Park.

Glasgow boasts a medieval cathedral and the finest collection of Victorian civic architecture remaining in the UK. In addition the unique styles of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson and contemporary additions such as the ‘Armadillo’ at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre combine to create a city of stunning visual impact. Glasgow was named 1990 European City of Culture and 1999 UK City of Architecture and Design.  Glasgow City Council is also in the process of regenerating the River Clyde corridor; this is one of the most visionary and exciting development projects undertaken within the city.

Glasgow is a city of contrasts: the bustle of a major commercial and business centre, the greenery of parks and gardens, and a wealth of art galleries, museums, cinemas and theatres. Newcomers quickly feel at home in this vibrant and friendly city. Of particular note is the University’s Hunterian Museum, which is the oldest public museum in Scotland. The Hunterian Art Gallery has important art collections and contains a reconstruction of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's own house.

Glasgow has an extensive road and rail public transport system with one of the largest commuter rail networks outside London and its own underground railway, the ‘subway’, which serves the University and the centre of the city. Glasgow’s shopping facilities are impressive, second in the UK only to London. The huge number of fashion retailers, designer outlets and speciality shops is complemented by scores of restaurants, pubs and wine bars. The shopping experience ranges from the designer shops of Princes Square or the exclusive Italian Centre in the Merchant City to the local colour at the Barras street market, where sales are conducted with traditional Glasgow patter.

In Glasgow sport is an important part of the culture. Everyone knows about the enthusiasm for football but the city has a wealth of sporting facilities. There are numerous golf courses, there is sailing on the Clyde Estuary and Loch Lomond and hill-walking, climbing and winter skiing are all within easy reach.

The University

The University of Glasgow dates from the middle of the fifteenth century, a time of critical change in Europe.  In 1451, the Scottish King James II persuaded Pope Nicholas V to grant a bull authorising Bishop Turnbull of Glasgow to set up a university.  Glasgow became Scotland's second University, St Andrews having been founded 40 years earlier.  Modelled on the University of Bologna, Glasgow was, and has remained, a University in the great European tradition.

For its first two centuries the institution operated from Glasgow Cathedral and temporary accommodation nearby.  In the seventeenth century the University moved to its first permanent home in a building on the High Street, subsequently known as the 'Old College' and described by contemporaries as 'the chief ornament of the city'.

The University played its distinguished part in the Enlightenment and in fostering the research and inquiry which prepared the ground for the Industrial Revolution in which the city of Glasgow was to play a world role.  Ironically it was the encroaching overcrowding and squalor of factories and railways which forced the University to move to its present site in what was then suburban Gilmorehill, a location it has occupied since 1870.

Today, the University of Glasgow is one of the UK's leading universities with an international reputation for its research and teaching and an important role in the cultural and commercial life of the country.  It is a member of the Russell Group of major research-led universities and a founder member of Universitas 21, an international grouping of universities dedicated to setting world-wide standards for higher education.

With 16,500 full-time students, it is one of the country's largest universities.  Employing more than 5,500 staff, it is a major employer in the city and, with an annual turnover of 230M, it makes a substantial contribution to the local economy.

Translational Medicine in the University of Glasgow

The Faculty of Medicine is home to over 500 academic staff including approximately 160 clinicians. Research awards in our biomedical territory since 2001 have exceeded 600M and there has been almost 80M investment in new state-of-the-art infrastructure, including Clinical Research Facilities and advanced imaging equipment. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 70% of research in our three priority disease areas (Cardiovascular Medicine, Cancer Sciences, and Infection and Immunology) was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Our Scottish context carries the advantages of access to a large patient base with high levels of morbidity, with just over 42% of patients living in the University of Glasgow’s catchment. In addition, Scotland has some of the best health service data in the world, combining high quality data, consistency, national coverage and the ability to link data to allow patient based analysis and follow up. This wealth of data, access to a large patient base, together with our expertise in genomics, proteomics and informatics, has allowed us to develop world-leading strengths in Systems Medicine.

In the last decade, there has been remarkable investment in the infrastructure essential for the conduct of 21st century biomedical research within the University.  Notably the creation of the ‘Golden Triangle’ on the main campus site in the West End of the city has generated vital critical mass for the conduct of translational medical research at the cutting edge.  This comprises the Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre (GBRC), the BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre (GCRC) and the architecturally award winning Wolfson Medical School Building.  Together these facilities contain state of the art technology and expertise necessary to address biomedical issues of clinical and scientific importance. Crucially, the diverse social spectrum in Glasgow provides broad pathology resources across the city rendering it an ideal environment in which to translate molecular and cellular understanding to the generation of novel therapeutics in human disease.

The STMTI will offer fellowships within this rich environment based primarily in either the GBRC or GCRC.
The centres together provide cellular and molecular biology resources together with a UK leading Centre for Bioimaging which provides extraordinary capabilities to image cellular processes in vivo in real time. The adjacent Wellcome Centre for Human Genomics offers comprehensive genomic, proteomic, metabolomic and glycomic technlogies. In addition there is an on site Clinical Research Facility with in-patient and out-patient facilities designed to facilitate comprehensive clinical research activities / near patient interventions including for example standard PK / PD studies, imaging-guided tissue biopsy, bronchoscopy, arthroscopy, and cardiovascular physiology. Other CRF facilities are available in the Western Infirmary and from 2010 in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.  City wide imaging capabilities include MRI, ultrasound, CT and PET coordinated
via the Glasgow Radiology Research Forum. Moreover, 3T MRI is available within the CRF in the GCRC itself.  The Robertson Centre for Biostatistics is a world-renowned centre for clinical trial design, data collation, monitoring and analysis and is therefore ideally placed to offer outstanding education in pharmacovigilance, good clinical practice and trial design.

The University has three biomedical research themes that are prioritised for strategic purposes in translational medicine.  They are: (1) Cardiovascular medicine and science, (2) Inflammation medicine and science (enhanced by the recent award of an MRC Centre for Virology - 35 million) and (3) Cancer biology (the latter together with the Beatson Cancer Research UK laboratories.)

  • The GCRC is an outstanding centre that integrates clinical and basic science related to the initiation and progression of cardiovascular diseases across the spectrum (www.gla.ac.uk).  Particular expertise resides in large-scale systems biology approaches to hypertension and atherosclerosis, state of the art cardiovascular physiology measurement, mechanisms of cardiovascular disease at the signalling and cell biology level and novel therapeutic approaches including gene therapeutics. Cardiovascular epidemiology capturing long-term cohort follow up in the west of Scotland and beyond is an additional complementary strength.

  • The GBRC contains approx 300 biomedical scientists and clinician scientists focussed on mechanisms of inflammation, basic immunology and host responses to infection.  It contains the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology, and an INSERM Unit for Parasitology. The clinical translational focus in the GBRC is focused upon mechanisms of disease in rheumatology and respiratory diseases. The technical capabilities on site provide for the full spectrum of investigation of disease mechanisms from molecule to man.

Specific enquiries should be directed to Prof Iain B McInnes  i.b.mcinnes@clinmed.gla.ac.uk
(+44 141 330 8412)

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Last modified: 28 January 2014   2007 The University of Edinburgh