Medical Research Scotland is one of the largest and most comprehensive independent research charities in Scotland. Unlike most medical research charities, our funding isn't restricted to any one disease or condition, we support high-quality research that aims to improve the understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of all diseases and disease mechanisms.
Awards in the past 20 years
The following are some of the awards we made for research into a range of conditions not listed elsewhere.
Dr Sarah Buchanan (Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Glasgow) supervised by Dr Gillain Douce and Professor John Coia during her Medical Research Scotland sponsored Daphne Jackson Trust Fellowship, "Molecular Evolution of Clostridium difficile Ribotype 078 in Scotland: combining genomic analysis with health informatics"
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the most common cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and healthcare-associated infection in the developed world. It often presents in large outbreaks characteristically occurring in elderly patients, frequently following a course of antibiotics, and poses a significant risk to health. Specific strain types are associated with severe disease, however, the prevalence of some types are changing and may be associated with greater transmission between the community and healthcare environment. This project focuses on analysing the entire DNA content of isolates of the type of C.difficile that is recovered most frequently in hospitals across Scotland, ‘ribotype 078’. The aim of the project is to consider how this particular strain has evolved over time and geographical location. The influence of resistance to antibiotics and the acquisition of specific virulence genes associated with the disease process will be considered. Linking this information to healthcare informatics I aim to establish the most frequent source (community or hospital) of this infection and determine the circumstances most frequently associated with disease. The project will involve the generation of a huge amount of data which, through linkage with healthcare informatics, aims provide an important resource in management of this disease in Scotland.
£149,855 over three years to Dr Louise S. Bicknell (Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine, Edinburgh University) for a project which seeks to uncover the genetic causes of primordial dwarfism, harnessing gene discovery to gain insights into how humans grow.
Primordial dwarfism is a genetic disorder leading to a maximum adult height of only 1 metre. Identifying the cause of such disorders is important for both patient care and reproductive choices for family members. Many different genes are known to underlie the condition, so identifying them could provide insight into how human growth is controlled. This project will use cutting-edge genetic technology to identify the genetic changes in these patients and to study them in detail, to learn more about the dynamics and regulation of cell growth.
£147,067 over 24 months to Dr Vicky MacRae & Professor Colin Farquharson (Roslin Institute & Royal [Dick] Vet School, Edinburgh), Professor Sayed Ahmed (Child Health, Glasgow University) & Dr Nicholas Morton (Cardiovascular Scienes, QMRI, Edinburgh) for an investigation of the regulation of insulin signalling in bone by PC-1.
The body's production of and reaction to insulin is critical to glucose metabolism and insulin resistance plays a fundamental part in conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Bone has recently emerged as also being able to regulate glucose metabolism, but little is known about the processes involved. A protein called plasma cell membrane glycoprotein-1 (PC-1) can regulate glucose metabolism in muscle and adipose tissue, but it is not known how important it is in controlling insulin levels, particularly in bone. This study will investigate the mechanisms used by bone in regulating glucose metabolism.
£141,512 to Dr Sarah J. Coulthurst (Division of Molecular Biology, Dundee University) for a two-year investigation into the role of a new protein secretion system in the virulence of the opportunistic pathogen, Serratia marcescens.
The bacterium called Serratia marcescens is the source of many hospital-acquired infections (HAI). This project seeks to improve detailed understanding of the steps in the infection process, with the results contributing to the search to find new ways to combat HAI.
£146,832 over three years to Dr V. Anne Smith (School of Biology, St Andrews University) and Drs Simon Langdon & Dr Dana Faratian (Institute of Molecular Medicine & Genetics, Edinburgh University), for a project involving taking a systems biology approach to the development of predictive patient selection for ovarian cancer therapy.
Patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a poor prognosis, with 65% dying within 5 years, in spite of an initially good response to treatment, Unlike breast cancer, there are no biological markers to indicate the most appropriate treatment regime, so most patients undergo combined therapy, although some may only need one component and others will not respond at all. Finding ways to identify and distinguish between these separate groups of patients would be valuable. Biological markers are currently based on single genes and while the absence of a marker is usually a good sign that certain therapies will not work, its presence does not guarantee success because a single gene cannot control the complex interactions of molecular pathways that are ultimately responsible for patient response. This project aims to address this issue by trying to discover biomarker pathways, rather than simply marker genes. It will generate datasets of therapy-sensitive and resistant ovarian cancers and will analyse the data using a powerful statistical systems biology technique (Bayesian networks).
£79,938 to Dr Sharon Mitchell & Professor John Speakman (Integrative Physiology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen), for an 18-month project to investigate early onset of leptin insensitivity in response to high-fat diet.
This study will investigate the changes occurring in the brain as obesity develops, notably a reduction in responsiveness to the hormone leptin which regulates food intake, with the aim of identifying possible targets for future drug development.
£79,900 to Dr Omar Albagha (Bone Research Group) & Professor Stuart Ralston (Rheumatic Disease Unit), Molecular Medicine Centre, University of Edinburgh) for a two-year project on the identification of susceptibility gene(s) for osteoporosis in men on chromosome 10q21.
Osteoporosis affects about 12% of the male population, but most genetic studies of osteoporosis have focused on women. This project aims to define the genetic variants that contribute to susceptibility to osteoporosis in men and identify new genetic markers for risk assessment.
£79,816 to Dr Julie Calvert (Vision Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University) & Professor Gordon Neale Dutton (Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow) for a two-year project on the identification, characterisation and management of dorsal stream dysfunction in children.
Many children with early brain damage have complex visual problems which may result from damage to the nerve pathway which processes information on the spatial properties and motion of objects. This project aims to develop a test to identify affected children as early as possible, to avoid their educational and social development being impaired.
£77,636 to Dr Sally L. Pimlott (Department of Clinical Physics, University of Glasgow) & Dr Andrew Sutherland (Department of Chemistry, University of Glasgow) for a two-year project to develop a molecular imaging tracer for the noradrenaline transporter.
Noradrenaline is one of the substances in the brain that allow signals to pass from one nerve to another. At present, no suitable tracer molecule exists to enable the study of noradrenaline in brain disorders, or in some types of cancer treatment. This project aims to develop a new tracer, use of which will lead to better understanding of the processes involved.
£79,252 over two years to Dr Patricia Martin (Biological & Biomedical Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University) & Dr Malcolm Hodgins (Cancer Sciences & Molecular Pathology, Glasgow University) to investigate the therapeutic benefits of gap junction inhibitors in chronic wound-healing events.
Wounds which do not heal properly (chronic non-healing wounds) are a major health problem, particularly in an ageing population. This study will investigate whether altering the levels of a small protein involved in the intracellular communication essential to normal wound repair processes, could improve wound healing.
£80,000 over two years to Dr Kathryn Marshall (currently in Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Utah, but relocating to Edinburgh) & Dr Margarete Heck (Institute of Cell Biology, Edinburgh University) for the characterisation of invadolysin, a novel human metalloprotease involved in mitosis and migration.
Invadolysin is a recently-discovered enzyme known to be important in cell movement, as it is found at the leading edge of white blood cells as they move towards the site of injury. This study aims to investigate the part that invadolysin plays in this essential body process and in cell division.
£60,537 over one year to Dr Mozheh Zamiri & Professor Colin Munro (Dermatology, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow) and Dr Malcolm Hodgins (Dermatology, Glasgow University) for research aimed at moving towards a comprehensive resource for elucidating the pathogenesis of inherited keratodermas.
Keratodermas are a rare inherited disorder which affects the metabolism of skin and results in painful areas of thickened skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. This project will use a bank of patient tissues to identify cell markers which might be useful as targets for drug treatment.
The Cruden Medical Research Scholarship 2004-05 was awarded to Dr Andrew MacDuff (Centre for Inflammation Research, Edinburgh University) for a study of the role of the tissue macrophage in the sensing and regulation of hypoxic/hyperoxic tissue injury.
The Mrs Jean V. Baxter Medical Research Fellowship 2004-06 was awarded to Dr Linda Scobie (Veterinary Pathology, Institute of Comparative Medicine, Glasgow University) to continue her work on the control of human trophic replication competent porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERV) in cells and organs for xenotransplantation.
£78,002 to Dr Karen McArdle (Medicine & Therapeutics, Aberdeen University) for an 18-month study of the mechanisms and relevance of cannabidiol induction of cytochrome P450.
Cytochrome P450 is the major liver enzyme responsible for drug metabolism, however it can be inhibited or induced by other chemicals, making prescribing multiple medicines challenging. Cannabis extract is being trialled for the treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis and this research seeks to study its effects on the enzyme, to predict its effects on drug metabolism.
The Mrs Jean V. Baxter Medical Research Fellowship 2003-05 was awarded to Mr Stephen A. Boyce (Pathology, Edinburgh University) to investigate the role of the retinoblastoma gene in liver biology
£57,593 to Dr Jon Martin Collinson (Biomedical Sciences, Aberdeen University) for a one-year investigation of the molecular basis of cell-surface abnormalities in eye disease resulting from mutations in the transcription factor Pax6.
Pax6 eye gene mutations cause sight-threatening abnormalities for which surgery is often ineffective. This research will study the cell surfaces on normal and mutated eyes to understand how such mutations cause sight problems.
The Mrs Jean V. Baxter Medical Research Fellowship 2002-05 was awarded to Mr Stephen McNally (Surgery, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary) for an investigation of the determination of the mechanism of stress protein preconditioning by calineurin inhibitors.
£69,563 over 18 months to Dr Michael J. Rogers (Bone Research Group, Department of Medicine & Therapeutics, Aberdeen University) to investigate the role of Rab GTPases in osteoclast physiology.
It is thought that natural bone breakdown and remodelling is regulated by proteins. By studying one such protein, Rab GTPase, the researchers aim to gain a greater understanding of healthy bone processes.
£31,493 as an 8-month supplement to an earlier grant to Dr Alison Blackwell & Mr Charles Marriott (Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Edinburgh University) to continue investigations on novel compounds for repelling blood-feeding insects in Scotland.
£69,903 over two years to Drs Lindsay S. Cairns, Robert N. Barker & Andrew J. Rees (Medicine & Therapeutics, Aberdeen University) to investigate the differential responses of human T helper cells to Type IV collagen chains as a possible basis for novel therapies.
The basement membrane of the kidney's filtration unit is attacked by the body's immune system in a group of disorders known as glomerulonephritis. Different membrane component molecules however, respond differently to this attack so this research intends to establish why these responses differ, so the researchers can more fully understand the disease process.
£60,594 over two years to Dr Linda Scobie (Veterinary Pathology, Glasgow University) for an analysis of full-length integrated porcine endogenous retroviruses and their infectious potential in xenotransplantation.
Being able to engineer organs in pigs which are suitable for human transplantation has the potential to save many lives. This research aims to identify the numerous viruses found in pigs which would otherwise make such transplants too dangerous.
£57,638 over 18 months to Dr Alan J. Johnstone (Orthopaedic Surgery, Aberdeen University) to investigate the regenerative potential of meniscal cartilage exposed to recombinant growth factors in vivo.
Injuries to knee joints are fairly common and often involve the supporting structures such as the meniscal cartilages. This research will investigate the potential for regeneration of such structures, when exposed to growth factors.
£70,000 over two years to Dr Cameron J. Weir & Professor J.A.W. Wildsmith (Anaesthesia) and Profesor Jeremy J. Lambert (Pharmacology & Neuroscience, Dundee University) for characterisation of general anaesthetic binding site(s) on human GABAA receptors.
In spite of their regular use, the mechanisms behind the effects of general anaesthesia are largely unknown. This research will study the components of GABAA receptors which interact specifically with general anaesthetics.
£69,513 over one year to Dr Alison Blackwell (Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Edinburgh University) to investigate novel compounds for repelling blood-feeding insects in Scotland.
Midges are blood-feeding insects whose bites are hard to avoid in Scotland. This research tests the use of Myrica gale (the moorland plant, bog myrtle) extract as a non-toxic insect repellent.
£69,992 over two years to Dr Jamal Nasir (Human Genetics Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh) to continue his work on exploring therapeutic opportunities for Huntingdon's disease.
£69,882 over two years to Dr Jonathan Pettitt (Molecular & Cell Biology, Aberdeen University) to investigate RAS signalling and epidermal cell fate in the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo.
£37,920 over two years to Drs Sandrine Prost, Christian T. McCulloch & Professor David J. Harrison (Pathology, Edinburgh Unviersity) for an investigation of interferon gamma-induced apoptosis in primary hepatocytes.
£69,929 over two years to Dr Richard G. Phelps & Professor Andrew N. Turner (Clinical & Surgical Sciences, Edinburgh University) for the development and evaluation of a novel mass spectrometric approach to T-cell eiptope identification.
£87,119 over two years to Drs Christopher N. Connolly & John Peters and Professor Jeremy Lambert (Neurosciences Institue, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee) for the cloning and characterisation of notel 5-HT3 receptors and interacting proteins that regulate native receptor function.
£67,639 over two years to Drs Graeme Nixon (Biomedical Science) & Isobel Ford (Medicine & Therapeutics, Aberdeen University) for a study of activation of calcium-indepentent regulation of myosin light chain phosphorylation in platelets - a novel mechanism for activation.
£98,855 over three years to Drs Allan Mowat & Paul Garside (Immunology, Glasgow University) to investigate cellular mechanisms of bystander tolerance induced by oral administration of antigen.
£61,416 over 18 months to Dr Mark E.S. Bailey & Professor Keith J. Johnson (Division of Molecular Genetics) and Dr Alison Kerr (Psychological Medicine), Drs Goran A. Jamal & Peter Oketa-Onyut Julu (Neurology, Glasgow University) for an investigation of GABAa receptor subunit genes on the X chromosome ascandidates in Rett Syndrome (Dr Bailey was also awarded the Cruden Scholarship as part of his funding for this project).
£63,065 over two years to Drs Ruth Andrew & Brian Walker (Endocrine Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh) for the development of stable isotope methods to measure the tissue-specific metabolism of cortisol in man.
£40,177 to Drs Jonathan Berg, Mary Porteous & Susan Holloway (Clinical Genetics, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh) for an 18-month project to investigate whether gene expression and mutation in hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia may be the key to a new diagnostic test.
£37,464 to Dr Jamal Nasir (Molecular Genetics Centre, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh) for a one-year pilot study involving the development of animal models to test new approaches towards curing Huntingdon's disease.
£74,224 to Dr Janet Liversidge (Ophthalmology) & Dr Graeme Nixon (Biomedical Sciences, Aberdeen University Medical School) for a two-year project for characterisation of the early endosomal compartment involved in the recycling of MHC Class II molecules and peptide exchange as an alternative pathway for presentation of autoantigens.
The Mrs Jean V. Baxter Medical Research Fellowship 1996-98 was awarded to Dr Jonathan N. Berg (MRC Human Genetics Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh) for an investigation of the activin-like receptor kinase I gene as a candidate for the hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia 2 locus.
£20,500 to Professor Andrew H. Wyllie (Pathology, Edinburgh University) for the isolation and identification of genes involved in apoptosis.
£100,000 as a capital grant to Professors John E. Fothergill & William Harris (Molecular & Cell Biology, Aberdeen University) for the cost of the SHERT laboratory in the Institute of Medical Sciences.
£57,799 to Professor Janet M. Alllen (Molecular Medicine, Glasgow University) over 23 months for studies on the mechanism of Fc(gamma)RI internalisation of antigen.
£7,774 for a one-year pilot study to Mrs Stephanie Webb & Professor Andrew H. Wyllie (Pathology, Edinburgh University) to investigate the regulation of apoptosis by p53 and other genes.
£62,850 over two years to Dr Carol E. Chu (Duncan Guthrie Institute of Medical Genetics, Yorkhill Hospital, Glasgow) & Professor J.M. Connor (Medical Genetics, Glasgow University) for a clinical and molecular genetic analysis of Turner's Syndrome, correlating genotype to phenotype.
£39,800 to Dr Roger W. Brown (Molecular Endocrinology) & Dr Brian R. Walker & Dr Johathan R. Seckl (Medicine, Western General Hospital Edinburgh) for a two-year project involving the isolation and molecular characterisation of 11-beta-hydroxysteroid degydrogenase Type II.