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Chromosome-shaped genetics lab plans unveiled

14 December 2009
Appeared in BioNews 538

Plans are underway to build a new state-of-the-art genetic facility in the shape of a pair of chromosomes in London. The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), will cost a total of £600 million to build, hold 1250 working scientists and promises to bring together scientists world over in a bid to push forward research and advancements in the field of human diseases.

The UKCMRI is a joint venture between the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and University College London (UCL). The new site will also hold the World Influenza Centre, the National Institute for Medical Research and CRUK's laboratories. The centre has four key goals - research excellence, training and developing of future scientific leaders, supporting the nation's biomedical research endeavour and fostering innovation and translation.

The new building will be built on a plot of land purchased for £85 million located near St Pancras station and close to the British Library. The four wings of the building will house the four different research groups with a central atrium containing all communal facilities designed to encourage inter-disciplinary collaboration, according to UKCMRI.

Sir Paul Nurse, the Nobel prize-winning British scientist and head of Rockefeller University in New York City who chairs the scientific planning committee, said: 'For me, this is the most exciting project for UK medical science in a generation. It's designed with a simple aim which is to keep Britain at the forefront of biomedical research in the world. The aim is to understand how human life works, and how to use that understanding to develop new treatments for a range of disorders across the spectrum.'

On the chromosome design he said it would help to 'foster a culture of collaboration' essential to delivering major advances. The simple goal of the centre - 'keep Britain at the forefront of biomedical research in the world.'

UKCMRI will submit its application for planning permission in spring 2010 with building work expected to start in 2011, ready for completion in late 2014 or early 2015. The MRC also still has to gain approval from the UK government for its petition for additional funds to build UKCRMI - MRC plans to contribute 45-50 per cent of the cost, Cancer Research UK 25-30 per cent, the Wellcome Trust 20 per cent, and UCL 5-10 per cent.

Giant Chromosome Brings Medical Research To Euston Road
Londonist |  8 December 2009
London's biomedical research institute takes shape
Nature News |  7 December 2009
London Superlab Gets a Plan and a Design
Science Insider |  7 December 2009
London to get £600m chromosome-shaped genetic research complex
The Times |  8 December 2009
Plans revealed for £500 million UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation
Cancer Research UK News |  8 December 2009
Research centre to go ahead despite recession
Financial Times |  8 December 2009
UKCMRI reveals scientific vision
Wellcome Trust News |  8 December 2009
Unveiled: HOK's £520m bio-medical centre
The Architects' Journal |  7 December 2009
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