Glasgow Professor to direct Centre for Virus Research

Issued: Thu, 27 May 2010 16:25:00 BST

Professor Massimo Palmarini will lead the Medical Research Council - University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR), it was announced today.

Scientists working in the Centre will tackle questions about both human and animal viruses including Hepatitis C virus and those linked to development of cancers.

Professor Palmarini’s current research at the Glasgow’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine focuses on animal retroviruses and on bluetongue.

The appointment as Director has been made jointly by the Medical Research Council and the University.

Speaking about his appointment, which he takes up in August, Professor Palmarini said: "I am extremely excited about the opportunities and challenges of this new position. The CVR will be a unique research centre in the UK made up of an outstanding collection of scientists studying viruses that cause diseases in humans side by side with those that affect a variety of animal species.

"The CVR will take a holistic approach to virology encompassing molecular virology, virus-host interaction and pathogenesis, virus evolution, epidemiology and mathematical modeling. The CVR will actively collaborate with national and international partners in order to provide a strategic research framework that addresses the evolving threat to health and economic security presented by viral diseases. I am truly grateful to both MRC and the University for the opportunity to lead this Centre.”

Funding for the Centre was announced in July 2009.

The Medical Research Council will invest £28 million over five years and the University of Glasgow will contribute an additional £10m.

The Centre for Virus Research will be located in a new building to be constructed on the University’s Garscube Campus; this will enable scientists to share expertise and build upon existing collaborations.

The MRC’s £28m investment in the Centre for Virus Research is a strategic investment intended to help build capacity in virology research and train scientists to tackle the health problems posed by viruses now and in the future. It will build on the strong history of MRC-supported virology research in Glasgow as the existing MRC Virology Unit will become part of the Centre.

Speaking in support of Professor Palmarini's appointment MRC Chief Executive, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, said: "Professor Palmarini has a strong research record and his veterinary expertise will be an asset to the Centre for Virus Research and breadth of virology research it will host. I expect the CVR to build a strong collaborative network with scientists in Edinburgh and St Andrews as well as the rest of the UK, and Professor Palmarini will be well placed to achieve this."

Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal of the University of Glasgow also welcomed Professor Palmarini’s appointment saying: "I am delighted that Professor Palmarini has been appointed to lead the Glasgow Centre for Virus Research.

"We were pleased that the University was chosen to establish the Centre in partnership with the MRC, given our strengths in this area. I believe Prof Palmarini as a research and academic leader of international standing, is the ideal choice. Under his direction, I feel confident that the Centre will go on to fulfill its promise and establish itself as a world leader in the field of virus research."

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Eleanor Cowie, Media Relations Officer, University of Glasgow, 0141 330 3683 or email

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