Wednesday 30th June 2004
Aston draws together top European drug expertise
A MAJOR five-year research project that will include some of Europe's top scientists has just been signed at Aston University.
The new research project, involving a consortium of 18 research groups from seven different countries, will examine the structural biology of membrane proteins and could revolutionise the way drugs are designed.
The consortium, headed by Aston, has attracted two Nobel Prize winners to the project - Sir John Walker from the MRC's Dunn Human Nutrition Unit in Cambridge and Professor Hartmut Michel from The Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt. Other consortium members come from Imperial College, Leeds, Bristol, and Glasgow universities, as well as scientists from Sweden, The Netherlands, Switzerland, France and Germany.
Dr Roslyn Bill of the Business Partnership Unit at Aston, who coordinated the proposal along with her colleagues, will lead the €10 million research project.
"When Framework Six was launched there was a specific call for scientists to work on membrane protein structural biology," explained Roslyn. "What we've ended up with is a consortium of 18 of the world's premier scientific groups in this area, led by Aston University."
The group hopes to disseminate their scientific results within the European research area as much as possible. One of their goals is to provide a comprehensive training programme for the researchers hired by the project to perform the research. This means they can equip Europe's future research leaders with a full skill set in membrane protein structural biology.
"Essentially we want to build on existing excellence to maintain Europe's competitive edge in this important industrially-relevant area," continued Roslyn, who conducts her research work from the School of Life and Health Sciences at Aston. "I'm really looking forward to developing this research area for Aston, particularly one with a distinctly commercial edge."
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