£11.5m for new structural proteomics research

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has announced that two new research projects will together receive nearly £11.5m under the Structural Proteomics of Rational Targets Initiative (SPORT).

In what is the largest single grant to be made by the body of over £6.8m, the Membrane Protein Structure Initiative (MPSI), experienced membrane research groups at universities and institutes across the UK and led by Professor Neil Isaacs and including Professor Richard Cogdell of the University of Glasgow. MPSI aims to develop strategies to develop a far greater understanding of the properties of cell membrane proteins, especially those that act as 'transporters' of molecules.

"This is a tremendous boost for UK research into the structures of membrane proteins," explains Professor Neil Isaacs of the Chemistry department at the University of Glasgow. "Although membrane proteins are produced by nearly one-third of our genes, they are incredibly difficult to isolate and purify for structural studies. This grant brings together a number of world-leading UK scientists who will pool their expertise and resources to accelerate the pace of research in this important area."

In addition, the Structural Proteomics Facility, established by the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee, will receive over £4.6m to fund an inclusive and multidisciplinary scientific programme. The research team's objective is to enhance knowledge in chemical and molecular biology.

Together, three Scottish universities will receive almost £11.5m in funding which attracts national competition. Sir Muir Russell, Principal of the University of Glasgow, said: ''To attract such a high level of research investment is further evidence of the outstanding contribution that both Glasgow and our sister Universities bring to the international research platform. I am delighted to see that Professor Isaacs and his team will continue to be at the forefront of research which has such positive and significant potential for so many people.'

BBSRC was awarded £49m as part of the Government Spending Review in 2002 to support of genomics and proteomics. £14m of this funding has been allocated to structural proteomics.

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