£11M for the next step in bioscience

Issued: Mon, 16 May 2005 00:00:00 BST

Scientists at three of Scotland's leading universities have been awarded over £11M for collaborative research in proteomics, the science often described as the next step after the sequencing of the human genome.

The award has been made to 'RASOR - Radical Solutions for Researching the Proteome' a collaboration of the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee under the Research Councils' Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration in Proteomics Technologies initiative.

The University of Glasgow has been awarded the largest proportion of money, amounting to some £5.3M.

The funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will be used to develop technological advances in proteomics that could bring practical applications in biology and medicine closer to reality.

To accompany the grant, funding has also been awarded by BBSRC, EPSRC and the Medical Research Council for a Doctoral Training Centre to train PhD students in proteomics technology research.

Walter Kolch, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Glasgow, and RASOR Scientific Director, said: "Understanding the human proteome has the potential to help tackle major medical challenges. The research being funded by this grant will help to develop technologies that could bring us closer to understanding how some diseases work and the best way to tackle them."

Proteomics is the study of the structure and function of the proteins that are coded for by the genome. It is now thought that there are many more proteins than there are human genes and identifying the make up, function and interactions of the proteome is one of the next great challenges for science. A greater understanding of human proteins offers the potential to understand fundamental biological processes to underpin our knowledge of a wide range of illnesses and diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis and cancer and may help to develop possible new drugs.

BBSRC Chief Executive, Professor Julia Goodfellow, said, "The deciphering of the human genome has highlighted the urgent need to analyse the proteins it expresses and the way they interact. It is estimated that the approximately thirty thousand human genes could give rise to as many as one million different protein functions. Unravelling this complexity is an immense challenge and this research into new technologies will be a major step in furthering our understanding."

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For further details please contact the University Press Office on 0141 330-3535. Alternatively contact Matt Goode, BBSRC Media Officer on 01793 413299 or e-mail: matt.goode@bbsrc.ac.uk.

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