New labs

Planning permission has been submitted for a £13 million state-of-the-art research centre for life changing medical and health research at Plymouth University.

The 2300 square metres build will be on the site of the headquarters of Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry at Plymouth Science Park. 

Currently, the existing laboratories are home to research investigating treatments for a number of important medical conditions affecting patients. These include brain tumours (including via the Plymouth University Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence), Hepatitis C, neuro-degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (including via the Alzheimer’s Research UK South West Network Centre), stroke and cancer.

The new facilities will see scientists from other areas of the University introducing their work to the mix, from the diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome to antibiotic resistance, the use of viral vectors as a way to disseminate vaccines for Ebola and bovine TB, the role of ancient DNA in modern health, genetic influences on post natal depression, and others.

The new building will also include up-to-date stock management for equipment and other supplies, allowing for greater transparency and cost savings.

The majority of equipment to be used in the new labs will come from existing labs on the University’s main campus.

In total, the investment will house research from medicine, dentistry and biomedicine, as well as specialist services such as the Plymouth University Systems Biology Centre.

The position of the new laboratories will result in greater collaboration between all medical and health researchers at Plymouth University and with research clinicians from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

Professor Raymond Playford, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Plymouth University, commented: 

“Once we receive planning permission we can go ahead with a new development which will allow us to further enhance our already growing and excellent reputation for world class medical and health research. The news comes towards the end of a busy year for our researchers in this area, which has seen their work recognised by two major charities – Brain Tumour Research and Alzheimer’s Research UK – and by a significant upswing in grant income and the appearance of research papers high level publications.”

Professor Robert Sneyd, Dean, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, said: 

“This is an extremely exciting investment for us which will allow us to realise our full research potential. Over the past two years we have made a number of significant appointments of leading researchers with international reputations. In addition, we have incorporated the University’s School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences. The two combined, together with a flood of newly successful grant applications and ground breaking, world class research projects, means that this new development is needed and will reap dividends.”

He added: 

“Bringing all our lab-based medical and health research on the same campus means that we can really leverage our strengths and develop some truly great collaborations – not just between ourselves but with colleagues from Derriford and further afield.”