Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Devon visits medical laboratory development
Left to right: Professor Neil Avent and Professor Robert Fern (PUPSMD), David Fursdon Esq (Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Devon) and Mr Denis Wilkins, Chair of the Peninsula Medical Foundation

David Fursdon Esq, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, has visited the ground breaking new laboratories currently under construction at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD) on Plymouth Science Park.

The £14.8 million Derriford Research Facility will bring together all of Plymouth University’s lab-based medical, biomedical and dental research. As a neighbour to Derriford Hospital it will also provide opportunities for clinical researchers at the hospital and encourage greater collaboration between them and their contemporaries at PUPSMD.

Due to open in Spring 2017, the Derriford Research Facility will accommodate a variety of research areas including: brain tumours; antibiotic resistance and the development of new antibiotics; bovine TB; neurobiology incorporating Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease; emerging infectious diseases; cancer; the diagnosis of Down’s syndrome; hepatitis and; tissue regeneration.

The new building will also include up-to-date stock management for equipment and other supplies, allowing for greater transparency and cost savings, and will house specialist services such as the Plymouth University Systems Biology Centre. The project also includes a new STEM teaching area and the refurbishment of existing laboratory, research and teaching space.

Following his visit Mr Fursdon said: 

“This new development will house a world-leading research and teaching facility in Plymouth and will attract the very best scientists and international talent to the area which is very exciting. This resource will enhance the collaboration of the clinicians and research teams to find cures for medical conditions, particularly those very relevant to the South West and it shows a huge commitment from Plymouth University towards the future of the region.”

Denis Wilkins, Chair of the Peninsula Medical Foundation which is the independent charitable arm of PUPSMD, added: 

“The Lord Lieutenant’s visit underlines the importance of medical research to the provision of top-class health care for the people of Plymouth and across the Southwest. The new multi-million pound research building has been built with funds from a range of public bodies. The work carried out by the dedicated research teams at PUPSMD and Derriford Hospital will lead to the development of new treatments for a range of devastating conditions that cause so much misery for so many. The Foundation is committed to supporting this truly world-class facility by raising funds for the equipment required. We know that the people of Plymouth and the Peninsula will respond generously and will share our pride in this remarkable project.”

Individuals, organisations and businesses which would like to support health research at Plymouth University can do so confident in the knowledge that their support can focus on a health condition close to them. There is already significant local support for the development – a local man recently left £100,000 in his will to support research into brain tumours, while a local group with an interest in Huntington’s disease is running a series of fundraising events and have already raised more than £8,000 for equipment vital to Huntington’s research at Plymouth University.

The quality of health research at PUPSMD is nationally recognised. The Research Excellence Framework 2014 ranked the organisation top in the UK for the quality of its research outputs. It is one of the lead academic partners in the Alzheimer’s Research UK South West Research Network, and one of four Research Centres of Excellence for charity Brain Tumour Research.