Double celebrations: HRH the Princess Royal to open two top new medical research facilities in Glasgow

Glasgow University will host Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal on Tuesday 25 April, in celebration of the official opening of two new major research facilities that will alter the face of Scottish health and biomedical research for generations to follow.

The opening of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre and the Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre Sir Graeme Davies Building reflect the University's standing as a major research-led institution.

During her visit to the University, HRH will meet with both Directors of the new buildings, and research staff will give demonstration of the groundbreaking work currently underway in each of the new Centres.

The BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, core funded by a gift of £5M from the BHF, will provide state-of-the-art experimental and clinical facilities to further vital research into cardiovascular disease. Sitting modern laboratories and a clinical investigation unit together will further enhance the integration of research and clinical practice, so that patients benefit quickly from work at the cutting edge of cardiovascular research.

BHF Professor Anna Dominiczak, who is Director of the new Centre, explained:

"The overall aim is to bring together, on a single site, the many different strands of cardiovascular research effort ranging from pioneering laboratory work, to patient-centred studies."

The Centre will have a national and international impact upon areas of health and welfare that affect the entire community, bringing direct benefits in prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The new building will provide the West of Scotland with a base committed to targeting and combating the many problems associated with heart disease.

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director of the BHF, said: 'It is very fitting that Glasgow should be focusing so much attention on heart disease since people in the West of Scotland suffer more heart attacks than anyone else in the UK."

'Over recent years the BHF has invested large amounts of money into research in Glasgow and is very proud now to be providing its scientists with the sort of world class infrastructure that will enhance their ability to fight, and hopefully ultimately beat, heart disease.'

Almost 1,200 donors joined with the University and the BHF to make this £12M building possible, and so transform the level of facilities available for the study of the causes, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

The new £17M Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre Sir Graeme Davies Building (named after the former Principal of the University) brings together over 40 leading biomedical research groups working in Structural Biology, Molecular Parasitology and Immunobiology, and link them to clinical researchers. This link from basic to clinical science is a unique feature of the centre, as many of the scientists are medically qualified with active clinical practice. The aim is to create multidisciplinary research, seeking faster solutions to problems of major diseases like arthritis and asthma and applying this knowledge rapidly in the clinic.

The location of the building next to the Medical School, and the BHF Cardiovascular Research Centre, underlines Glasgow's commitment to providing the best possible conditions for research success. Formal links with hospitals make clinical trials easier, ensuring real results are delivered faster from bench to bedside.

Professor Eddy Liew, Director of the Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre, commented:

"The main aim of the new centre is to create and increase extensive multidisciplinary research, seeking scientific solutions to problems of diseases of major morbidity and mortality and applying this knowledge rapidly in the clinics. The link from basic to clinical science is a unique feature of the new Centre, as around 20% of the scientists are medically qualified with active clinical practice."

The Centre was made possible by investment from the Wellcome Trust, the Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to create this top-flight facility.

Glasgow University contributed to the collaborative success of Scotland's leading Universities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh) earlier this month when the First Minisiter announced a unique deal with US pharamaceutical company, Wyeth Pharmaceutical Co., Scottish Enterprise and NHS Grampian, Greater Glasgow, Lothian and Tayside, worth £50M providing a new impetus for Scotland to lead in the development of personalised medicine, bringing new treatments to partients sufferening from a range of serious illnesses.

The development of this exciting collaboration, and the opening of these two new Centres, is a reflection of the world-class reputation of medical and life scientists in Scotland.

Principal of Glasgow University, Sir Muir Russell comments:

"The opening of these new facilities marks a significant day in the University of Glasgow's ambition to build on excellence. These two new Centres, providing the link between research in the lab to treatment in the ward, will make a significant and international contribution to cardiovascular and biomedical research."

"We are delighted that Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, who opened our Wolfson Medical School building should complete our triangle of excellence by unveiling these two Centres allowing us the opportunity to show her something of what Glasgow is doing to advance knowledge and better our nation's health."

Media Relations Office (media@gla.ac.uk)


For further details please contact the University Media Relations Office on 0141 330-3535.

The BHF's ?5m grant falls under the ?35m Cardiovascular Initiative, pledged in 1999 towards the construction of new world-class centres for cardiovascular research across the UK. A further ?20m was announced for a second Cardiovascular Initiative in 2003, and the Glasgow centre has benefited under this scheme with a further ?2.4m for cardiac equipment and research.

For more information about the BHF visit www.bhf.org.uk or contact the BHF press office on 020 7487 7172 or 07764 290 381 (out of office hours) or email newsdesk@bhf.org.uk.

First published: 24 April 2006

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