Glasgow to Host Top International Malaria Research Body

The University of Glasgow has been chosen to host an international Malaria research unit that includes members of some of the UK and Europe's top academic institutions.

The European Virtual Institute for Malaria Research, EVIMalaR, is a European Commission funded network of excellence which combines 42 of the European Union’s leading malaria research groups from 27 institutions and 11 nations together with four leading African Institutions, the ICGEB from India and representation of the Australian Malaria Research Network.

Under the direction of Professor Andy Waters, based at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology (WTCMP) and the Division of Infection and Immunity (I&I) in FBLS, the university was unanimously chosen by the participating scientists from institutes such as the University of Oxford, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Glasgow will host the network for the next five years.

Prof Andy Waters

Prof Waters, Professor of Molecular and Developmental Parasitology and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, said Glasgow’s appointment as host was an honour for both the university at large and parasitology research in WTCMP and I&I from where it will be run.

Prof Waters, who takes up the title of EVIMalaR Director, said: “We are honoured to have been chosen to host this international Network of Excellence from such a competitive and highly qualified field.

“Our task now is to build upon EVIMalaR’s successful history of collaborative research. During the next five years, we will work to advance a network which will improve the quality and diversity of research into Malaria – both in quantity and scope.

“Furthermore we are tasked with making the network an independently financed and autonomous legal entity which is one step towards the creation in bricks and mortar of an international Institute for European Malaria Research. We will be heavily involved in engaging both the local and international communities to begin the realisation of this ambition.”

Principal Muscatelli added: "I warmly congratulate Professor Waters and his team on this tremendous success. It is a great honour for them and for this University to secure the directorship of such a vital research network.

“This achievement is especially gratifying because not only does it confirm the talent we have at Glasgow, but it also encapsulates key drivers for the University: our continuing pursuit of research excellence, and the importance we place on collaborative and interdisciplinary programmes. It is through harnessing our strengths in this way, that we will be able to address the major challenges in health and the environment which confront our world in the 21st century. I wish the team well in this exciting development and every success in tackling the scourge of Malaria."

The Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology at the University of Glasgow is comprised of more than a dozen leading parasitology scientists.

The Centre was first established as the Wellcome Trust Unit in 1987, with a remit to study basic features of parasites, using genetic and molecular technology allied with study of parasites as whole organisms.

Since then, it has expanded through recruitment of research leaders, most of whom have joined the Centre in the past five years. In 2006, it moved to the new, multidisciplinary Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre, where we work with immunobiologists, microbiologists and structural biologists.  The move physically consolidated the membership of the Centre whose members are drawn from both the Veterinary Faculty and Faculty of Biomedical & Life Sciences. Parasitology is one of two Research Themes within the I&I division and combines research into human tropical parasitology with the delivery of tuition to first degree and post-graduate level.

Part of EVIMalaR’s work will be to actively encourage further working partnerships across member institutions.

Prof Waters added: “Through EVIMalaR we want to enhance and harmonise the experimental approaches to the subject areas through using shared technological platforms, promoting exchange visits and creating shared resources such as databases, reagent banks and agreed protocols for data collection. The creation of joint research programmes alongside introducing and exploiting new scientific concepts and approaches to maintain and define the state of the art in malaria research will also be high on our agenda.  Through the continuation of the Malaria Research Graduate School the network will continue to be heavily involved in the propagation of new generations of European and African Malaria researchers”

The first meeting of EVIMalaR will take place at the University on November 12.
 
For more information please contact Eleanor Cowie, Media Relations Officer, at The University of Glasgow on 0141 330 3683 or e.cowie@admin.gla.ac.uk


First published: 30 September 2009

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