Up to 200 scientists and technicians will work in the new centre.

£20 million centre will advance disease treatment

The University of Exeter has announced plans to develop a £20 million interdisciplinary research centre to understand how cells operate and how diseases are caused.

The centre’s research will bring a new approach to understanding how diseases operate in the human body by applying engineering principles to living cells.

Research will also focus on designing better diagnostic and therapeutic tools for alleviating illness.

Located on the University’s Streatham Campus, with building work planned to commence in 2012, the centre will bring together leading mathematicians, physicists, systems engineers, biochemists, cell and molecular biologists and clinical scientists. The centre will be funded through the University of Exeter’s £230 million investment in science, medicine and engineering across five themes that include Systems Biology and Translational Medicine. This radical new approach to biosciences brings together techniques from mathematics and physics to understand subcellular processes, individual organisms and entire ecosystems.

University of Exeter Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Talbot said: “Revolutionary advances in the life sciences over the last decade have led to new levels of understanding that have the potential to profoundly impact the progress of humanity. This centre will help ensure Exeter is at the forefront of this effort.

“Our vision for the centre is highly ambitious, but we believe it is achievable. We are already breaking down the traditional boundaries between different scientific disciplines in a way that most other UK universities have not yet even considered. We have world-class bioscientists, engineers, physicists, medics and mathematicians and this new centre will harness all of this expertise in an innovative way.”

The first dedicated science building to be developed on the campus since 1968, the centre will have space for up to 200 scientists and technicians, ranging from postgraduate students to professors. Its working spaces will include large open-plan laboratories and dedicated engineering space for large-scale experimental research.

Visit the website for the new centre.

Date: 12 January 2012