Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) appoint Director

Published: 6 September 2007

The internationally recognised research leader, Professor Mike Tyers from the University of Toronto has been appointed Director of SULSA - the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance.

The internationally recognised research leader, Professor Mike Tyers from the University of Toronto has been appointed Director of SULSA - the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance.

Professor Tyers is to be based in Edinburgh and will hold the C.H. Waddington Chair of Systems Biology at Edinburgh University where he will also run a research group.  His management duties for SULSA will be Scotland wide and he will serve as a Champion and as an Ambassador for Life Science Research in Scotland.

Previously based in Toronto University's Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology, Professor Tyers' work has transformed our understanding of the cell cycle and cellular organisation.

He has been a pioneer in the application of functional genomic and proteomic technologies to important biological questions and his efforts to chart protein and genetic interactions have accelerated biological discovery in many fields, providing some of the first glimpses of the global properties of biological networks.

Professor Tyers is a Howard Hughes International Research Scholar and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.  In 2006 he was awarded the highly prestigious McLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada.

Professor John Coggins, Glasgow University and Chair of the SULSA Executive, said:

“Mike Tyers is just the kind of international research star that we aimed to recruit to Scotland through the SULSA initiative. He was attracted by the excellent research community that we have and by the remarkable opportunities that we have to take Scotland to an even higher level in the life sciences.  His vision for the future development of life science research in Scotland fits very well with the ambitions of the six partner Universities.”

Roger McClure, Chief Executive of SFC, welcomed Professor Tyers' appointment: "I am delighted that Mike Tyers is joining SULSA - they have attracted to Scotland one the top international stars in the Life Sciences. 

"His proven leadership qualities will ensure the that SULSA flourishes, and by using the pooled resources of the SULSA partners Scotland will be able to play a full part in Life Sciences research across the world. 

"Scotland as a whole will also benefit from SULSA and Professor Tyers' hand on the helm through the critical mass of excellence they will offer to Scottish businesses."

Earlier this year, (1 February) the Scottish Funding Council and the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, and Strathclyde announced that together they would invest £77.4m to transform research in the life sciences in Scotland.

The six universities agreed to work together and pool their research excellence under the umbrella of the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA). An investment of £27 million from SFC and £57 million from the universities will, over five years, attract new academic staff to strengthen this critical research area which is key to the health and wealth of Scotland. Eighteen new research posts and 24 support posts are being created.

The initial areas SULSA will be strengthening through its collaboration will be:

• cell biology – the study of the basic unit of life;
• systems biology – using computers to model groups of molecules, groups of cells and even whole organisms; and
• translational biology – the application of biological knowledge to develop medicines and other therapies for eventual clinical use.

Photocall: Professor Mike Tyers, newly appointed Director of SULSA, will be available for interviews and pictures
Time: 4pm Friday 7 September
Location: Royal Society of Edinburgh, 22 George Street, Edinburgh

SULSA - Professor John Coggins FRSE, Vice Principal for the Faculties of Biomedical and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow,
Tel: 0141 330 8137, email:

SFC - Elizabeth Bell, Communications Officer,
Tel: 0131 313 6560, email:

Ray McHugh, Senior Media Relations Officer, University of Glasgow,
0141 330 3535 email:


• the six universities involved in SULSA were rated 5 or 5* for their biological sciences research in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE);

• since 2004, seven groups have been awarded funds for research pooling – the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) for Physics (£6.9 million), ScotCHEM for Chemistry (£9 million), the Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering and Mathematics (ERPEM) £9.7 million for Engineering and Mathematics, the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society (SAGES) (£6.5 million), the Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) (£9.4 million), the Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering (SRPE) (£26.5 million), and SULSA (£27.0 million) is the seventh;


First published: 6 September 2007