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Researcher celebrates further funding success

29 October 2001

Researcher celebrates further funding success

DR ANNA HINE from the School of Life & Health Sciences has begun work on a three- year research project with Professor Nigel Slater and Professor Howard Chase from Cambridge University.

The award comes just months after Anna received a grant of over �300,000 from the BBSRC to study gene randomisation and biomolecular interactions.

The new research, which has been funded by the EPSRC (Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council), has attracted almost �500,000 in funding between the two institutions and will explore the purification of plasmid DNA for use in gene therapy.

The project brings together research expertise in Bioscience Engineering and Molecular Biology at the two Universities. At Aston, the expertise will be in the development of DNA-binding proteins for use as affinity ligands, while researchers at Cambridge will provide the underlying skills in the separation and characterisation of biological products. The project is in collaboration with Cobra Therapeutics Ltd.

Two postdoctoral researchers, one at Aston and one at Cambridge University have been appointed to work on the project. Richard Darby is currently completing his PhD at Southampton University under the joint supervision of Prof Keith Fox (Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and Prof Tom Brown (Department of Chemistry). Richard will start work at Aston in December.

Dr Anna Hine explained: "Our research may eventually help towards the development of effective gene therapy for use in humans. At the moment, researchers who work with DNA encounter problems because it is difficult to obtain pure plasma DNA in the laboratory due to contamination and reactions from host bacteria. Our research aims to employ specific protein-DNA interactions to generate pure plasmid DNA for use in gene therapy."

ENDS

For further information please call 0121 204 4549 or email: b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

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