The Scottish Macromolecular Imaging Centre (SMIC), which will be housed in the Medical Research Council – University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) is the result of a collaboration between researchers from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and St Andrews.
This investment is part of £11.3m in government funding, awarded through the Medical Research Council (MRC) to boost structural and cell biology research, that was recently announced at the Royal Society by Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation.
Additional support will come from the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) and the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research. A further charitable donation has been made by the M J M Smith Trust for the supply of essential computer equipment.
The funding will support the purchase of a cutting-edge electron microscope, which will be used to image biological molecules at the atomic level.
Structural biology involves determining the 3D architecture of proteins and other biological components in order to provide crucial insights into important processes in human health and disease.
Project lead and programme leader in the CVR Dr David Bhella said: “Cryogenic transmission electron microscopy is revolutionising the field of structural biology. The Scottish Macromolecular Imaging Centre is a tremendous opportunity not only for the CVR, but also for Life Scientists throughout Scotland.
“The new facility will place the CVR and the University of Glasgow right at the centre of vital structural biology research by offering a world-class capability. The new technology will help us investigate key processes in, for example infection and cancer biology”.
Installation of the new centre is due to begin during early 2018 with the new service scheduled for launch later in the year. The technology will be used to support vital research into diseases posing the greatest threat to human and animal health. It will provide greater capabilities in areas such as vaccine development, cancer research, and drug design and discovery.
Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, vice principal and Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences said: “The Scottish Macromolecular Imaging Centre will be a fantastic new addition to the world-leading facilities we have at the CVR, and it is wonderful that Glasgow will lead on this work.
“This is an important announcement for the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences and the University of Glasgow, but also the whole of Life Sciences in Scotland.”
Dr Nathan Richardson, MRC Head of Molecular and Cellular Medicine and Chair of Instruct-ERIC Council, said: “This cryo-EM investment is an important commitment, showing our full support for structural biologists during this structural biology revolution. MRC researchers have been critical in recent developments in cryo-EM technology.
“We’re delighted to be able to provide extra support, complementary to other investments, enabling access for even more researchers to cutting-edge technology at a crucial time, allowing them to tackle the biological questions that will help advance human health.”