Research in Glasgow
We support research across all the fields of clinical, biomedical, physical or engineering sciences related to medicine. The following are awards made to researchers working in Glasgow's universities and hospitals since 2006. [Read about awards made between 1992 and 2005]
Awards in 2014-15
Medical Research Scotland Sponsored Daphne Jackson Trust Fellowships were awarded during 2014-15 to the following at the University of Glasgow:
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.
Dr Elaine Hunter (Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow) supervised by Dr Stuart Cobb and Dr. Mark Bailey during her Medical Research Scotland sponsored Daphne Jackson Trust Fellowship, "Metabolic resilience of neuronal activity in a mouse model of Rett Syndrome"
Rett syndrome (RTT) is a leading cause of severe disability in girls affecting 1 in 10,000 female births. >95% of girls with RTT have a mutation in the DNA of one gene, methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2), and mouse models have been developed to study this disease. MeCP2 mutations reduce a cell’s ability to make proteins; particularly those proteins involved in energy production within the mitochondria. This study will investigate whether mutations in MeCP2 cause a functional change in the ability of mitochondria to make energy in normal and RTT animals by measuring the amount of oxygen consumed by isolated mitochondria. In the brain, nerve cells which release the neurotransmitter GABA are the main system which calms electrical activity and regulates breathing rhythms. These GABAergic neurons are very active and have high energy demands. We will compare the electrical and mitochondrial activity of individual GABAergic neurons in RTT, to investigate whether their higher energy demands make them more sensitive to MECP2 mutation. This could provide a common cellular pathway linking the various neurological symptoms seen in RTT and open up a series of novel targets for drug development for the symptomatic treatment of the disorder.
Awards in 2013-14
PhD Studentships awarded during 2013-14 included the following to Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities:
Professor Susan Barnett (Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, Glasgow University) will be supervising Sara Hosseinzadeh during her PhD Studentship, "Development of polymer scaffolds for use in the repair of spinal cord injury". This research will involve close working with Spheritech.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a major cause of persistent disability. One promising therapeutic approach is cell transplantation to fill the damaged injury site and encourage nerve processes to fill the gap. A range of neural/stem and engineered cells have provided tested evidence that this is a plausible approach in animal models of SCI. Although cell transplants can provide a environment conducive to axonal regeneration, however, the resulting axonal growth is poorly organised and this approach will not be possible where physical disruption of the spinal cord is extensive. Further, as growth of human cells in culture can be slow and it is technically challenging to grow the large numbers of cells needed to fill a human lesion, we would like to develop an artificial scaffold seeded with glial cells to bridge the gap and promote repair. The main aim of the project is to test whether novel super-macroporous polymer scaffolds invented by Spheritech and designed to promote well-organised and appropriately aligned axonal growth can support the growth and differentiation of central nervous system cells as a prerequisite for use in vivo. This project will allow us to validate the scaffolds using our cultures that mimic the intact CNS environment prior to using animal models.
Dr Michele Zagnoni (Electronic & Electrical Engineering, Strathclyde University) will be supervising Ms Theresa Christ during her PhD Studentship, "Development of microfluidic high-throughput bioassays based on 3D matrix-supported spheroids". This research will involve close working with AMS Biotechnology (Europe) Ltd.
A major drawback in the development of anticancer treatments and anticancer drug testing is the use of 2D cell cultures as a model for solid tumours. The aim of this project is to develop novel drug screening and therapeutic methodologies for cancer, based on the use of microfluidic techniques that enable the formation of 3D cell cultures. For this, in collaboration with AMS Biotechnology (Europe) Ltd, we propose to use micron-sized emulsions to create solid tumour models by forming and manipulating matrix-supported spheroids. This miniaturised approach, combined with the high control over fluid flows offered by microfluidic techniques, could allow the assessment of a wide range of drugs and radiotherapies on tumour microenvironments in 3D spheroid models which are more representative of micro-metastases in vivo. The technique uses reduced cell volumes and drug quantities with respect to conventional procedures, thus decreasing the cost of the assay without compromising the throughput. Outcomes from this project are expected to provide both devices and methodologies that can be used for developing tumour growth and invasion assays, novel combination therapeutics and also in vitro systems that mimic the extravascular diffusion of anticancer agents in tissues.
Dr William Dempster (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Strathclyde University) will be supervising Faidon Kyriakou during his PhD Studentship, "Development of analysis methods for patient specific aneurysm repair devices". This research will involve close working with Vascutek Ltd.
The occurrence and rupture of an aneurysm in the lower abdominal artery is the tenth most likely source of death in men over the age of 55. If the existence of an aneurysm is identified then stent-like technologies have been developed over the past 10 years to allow for deployment, structural support and to provide adequate blood flow to mitigate against aneurysm wall rupture. While devices are in clinical use it has been established that most patients have a unique artery topography that require tailored solutions. The design of such devices is in its infancy and the inability to measure the failure stress state of a device when deployed in a human artery necessitates the use of computational modelling tools. The overall aim is to develop simulation tools to allow medical device manufacturers to minimise mechanical failure and to enhance the overall performance of devices that are specially tailored for patient's anatomy. The project significantly builds on engineering simulation methods (previously developed by Dempster & Nash). To date, this has primarily focussed on deformation issues of the key structural elements of the devices. The proposed research will require novel simulations to address a number of new issues for "tailored" devices, including full device modelling, the inclusion of fluid-structure interactions and the need to address uncertainty issues in device design and deployment. This will allow the simulation techniques to be applied with real confidence in a design context. In this study the analysis techniques will be applied to device designs of Vascutek Ltd. These consist of tubular fabric constructions supported by a series of wire bundles wound from strands of super-elastic material Nitinol. The functionality and long-term mechanical life of the device depends on understanding of the device - artery interactions which the simulation techniques will deliver.
Deimante Barkauskaite (Pharmacology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Ian Salt, for a project entitled, Regulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity by AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in endothelial cells
Jennifer Hayden (Biochemistry, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Marie Freel, for a project entitled, The role of microRNAs in the regulation of adrenal aldosterone production
Nils Korte (Physiology, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Keith Muir , for a project entitled, Serial MR Spectroscopy Assessment in the PISCES Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Human Neural Stem Cell Implantation in Ischaemic Stroke
Sarah McGrath (Immunology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Carl Goodyear, for a project entitled, The effect of cytokine blockade on rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid stimulated macrophage
Kathryn Pennel (Immunology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Shauna Culshaw, for a project entitled, 'NETting' Bacterial Biofilms - Do neutrophils generate extracellular traps to combat bacterial biofilms?
Alexander Petric-Gray (Neuroscience, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Frank Pollick, for a project entitled Development of a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) system for neurofeedback
Susana Qasem (Physiology, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Trevor Stone, for a project entitled Regulation of neuronal growth by tryptophan metabolites
Amy Taylor (Anatomy, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Godfrey Smith, for a project entitled, The effects of prolonged period of high beating rates on iPS derived heart cells
Yue Teng (Medicine, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Colin Berry, for a project entitled, In heart attack survivors, are coronary artery plaque characteristics associated with the risk of more heart injury in the future?
Jessica To (Physiology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Dilys Freeman, for a project entitled, High density lipoprotein function in pregnancy
Ellanor Whiteley (Biochemistry, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Timothy Palmer, for a project entitled, Detecting Serine 515,518-phosphorylated JAK1, a novel mechanism for the anti-inflammatory effects of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)
Awards in 2012-13
PhD Studentships awarded during 2013-14 included the following to Glasgow University:
Professor Iain McInnes (Centre of Immunobiology, Glasgow University) will be supervising Brian Morton during his PhD Studentship, "The role of microRNA-155 as a master-switch determining the balance of inflammation and fibrosis in chronic disorders". This research will also involve close working with Lamellar Biomedical Ltd.
New molecules called microRNA (miR) have been discovered recently. They are safeguards of normal cell behaviour thus organ function. Their malfunction often leads to development of diseases: we discovered that too much of one of these molecules (miR-155) is associated with severe inflammation (e.g. arthritis). However, too little is associated with fibrosis (e.g. lung fibrosis). This project aims to find out how miR-155 works; and how it can be controlled as a new treatment strategy for arthritis and pulmonary fibrosis. The key cellular functions controlled by miR-155 will be studied in mouse models of arthritis or lung fibrosis as well as in cells taken from patients with arthritis and pulmonary fibrosis. In order to restore tissues' normal functions, we will bring back the proper levels of miR-155 in experimental arthritis and fibrosis using a new safe method of drug delivery developed by a Scottish biomedical company. We hope to discover the cell functions controlled by miR-155 and how they are associated with disease processes, and the feasibility of reversing tissue pathology by modifying miR-155. There is no effective therapy for lung fibrosis and treatment-resistant arthritis. Therefore our project may provide a novel way of controlling these diseases.
Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships were awarded as follows:
Dr Andrew Sutherland (School of Chemistry, Glasgow University) will be supervising Nikki Sloan during her PhD Studentship "New Metal Catalysed Methods for the Efficient, Non-toxic Generation of PET and SPECT Tracers: Molecular Imaging of Neurological Disease". This research will also involve close working with GE Healthcare.
Radionuclide molecular imaging is increasingly used for the early diagnosis of both neurological diseases and cancer. However, the widespread application of this technology is being limited due to current methods of generating the imaging agents which can involve unstable, highly toxic precursors. In collaboration with GE Healthcare, this project will investigate new transiton metal-catalysed chemical processes that will allow simple, easy access to PET and SPECT tracers from readily available, non-toxic starting materials. In particular, the project will investigate the use of nickel catalysts for the incorporation of radiohalogens into aromatic compounds, structural motifs that are found extensively in molecular tracers. On development of each new reaction, the versatility of this process will be demonstrated by the preparation of molecular tracers used in the imaging of cancer and neurological disorders, particularly Alzheimer's disease. Discovery and successful development of these new chemical transformations for the non-toxic and facile preparation of PET and SPECT imaging agents will accelerate the application of this technology across the NHS and the pharmaceutical/life sciences industries.
Aimee Bias (Biomedical Engineering, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Aleksandra Vuckovic, for a project entitled, Motor imagery based brain computer interface for neurorehabilitation of the hand.
Andrew Burns (Chemistry, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Sheila Graham, for a project entitled, Testing for cervical disease in liquid based cytology samples using a panel of viral RNA biomarkers.
Jordan Canning (Biomedical Science, Glasgow Caledonian University) supervised by Dr Xinhua Shu, for a project entitled, Creation of a human RPGR mini promoter for retinitis pigmentosa gene therapy.
Hayley Cassidy (Microbiology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Andrew Roe, for a project entitled, Bioluminescent labelling of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Fatima Chaudhry (Medicine, Cambridge University) supervised by Professor Mary Lumsden, at Glasgow University for a project entitled, A study on lifestyle risk factors, vascular reactivity and insulin resistance in in young women with polycystic ovaries of South Asian and European origin.
Rachael Davis (Medicine, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Muriel Caslake, for a project entitled, The effects of high intensity interval training on cardiovascular biomarkers in conditioned, healthy and sedentary individuals.
Thomas Docherty (Biochemistry, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Neil Bulleid, for a project entitled, Identification of proteins modified by nitrosylation in the mammalian endoplasmic reticulum.
Philip Emerson (Medicine, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr John Kinsella, for a project entitled, Liver cirrhosis and predictive scoring tools in critical care.
Aisha Ghaus (Medicine, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Anna Freel, for a project entitled, Association between variation at CYP17A1 locus and steroid phenotype: a novel mechanism in essential hypertension?.
Kunzah Jamal (Molecular & Cell Biology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Helen Wheadon, for a project entitled, Evaluating patient derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) for drug screening.
Dimitar Karadzhov (Psychology, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Joachim Gross, for a project entitled, Investigating the neural basis for checking, selective attention, and working memory in obsessive compulsive disorder, through MEG and TMS.
Ariadni Kouzeli (Immunology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Simon Milling, for a project entitled, Characterisation of IL-23-producing cells in patients with spondyloarthritis.
Catriona McDonald (Anatomy, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Emily Ord, for a project entitled, Impact of miRNA modulation on cerebral cells in an in vitro model of hypoxia reoxygenation.
Alise Molotova (Genetics, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Carl Goodyear, for a project entitled, Evaluation of recombinant molecules for modulation of the myeloid compartment.
Louise Nugent (Biomedical Science, Glasgow Caledonian University) supervised by Dr Catherine Wright, for a project entitled, Cell-cell communication and death in diabetic skin wound healing models.
Anastasia Pesic (Pharmacology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Laura Denby, for a project entitled, Examination of the role of exosomal miRNA in cell:cell communication in the kidney.
Hanna Rooslien (Psychology, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Stephany Biello, for a project entitled, Sleepless in Glasgow: How do homeostatic sleep mechanisms interact with the circadian timing system?.
Semjon Sidorov (Immunology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Charles McSharry, for a project entitled, Is steroid-refractory asthma among cigarette smokers mediated by activation of the aryl-hydrocarbon receptor?.
Sara Wagner Valladolid (Neuroscience, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Guillaume Rousselet, for a project entitled, Modelling 3D dynamic mental representations of facial expressions of emotion in the ageing brain.
Ruaridh Winstanley (Biomedical Engineering, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Henrik Gollee, for a project entitled, Ultrasound feedback for diagnosis and rehabilitation in neurological disease .
On Fai Arthur Woo (Medicine, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Emilie Combet, for a project entitled, Studying the impact of ageing and disease on the colonic metabolism of dietary phytochemicals using advanced models of colonic fermentation.
Hannah Wright (Electrical & Mechanical Engineering, Strathclyde University) supervised by Dr Anthony McClusky, for a project entitled, Development of microfluidic devices for use in personalised medicine research on cancer biopsies.
Awards in 2011-12
£149,790 over three years to Dr Leanne McKay (Institute of Neuroscience & Psychology, Glasgow University), to study the development and maturation of the neural control of breathing.
Dr Brian Smith (Institute of Molecular, Cell & Systems Biology, Glasgow University) will be supervising Miss Karen McClymont during her PhD Studentship, "Characterisation of a molecular switch: how does Factor C recognise, and change shape in response to endotoxin? Towards a sensitive synthetic endotoxin test". This research will also involve close working with Marine Biotech Ltd.
Complications in some bacterial infections can prove fatal as a result of the actions of endotoxins, derived from the components of certain bacteria. Discovering ways to detect and neutralise toxic challenges are vital to ensuring the safety of drugs, medical devices and vaccines. Horseshoe crab blood components are used for the compulsory safety testing of all pharmaceutical injectable products and medical devices. Horseshoe crab blood is used because a blood protein Factor C recognises endotoxins at an infection site and then elicits a chain of events which leads to both inactivation of the bacteria and wound healing. The detail of this process is not well understood, so will be investigated with the aim of using the knowledge gained to develop a synthetic testing system based on Factor C to provide a robust endotoxin detection test. Such properties could also form the basis for development of future therapeutics in endotoxin-compromised patients. Producing a low-cost higher quality alternative to the existing endotoxin test to reduce both the risk of contamination and the price of drugs to the NHS and would also represent a significant advancement in medical technology.
Respiratory control disorders like sleep apnoea and sudden infant death syndrome are very common, but their origins are not well understood. A better understanding of how the brain generates the nerve signals that produce respiratory rhythm is crucial if ways are to be found to treat or prevent these disorders. This project aims to provide valuable new information about the mechanisms underlying development and maturation of the respiratory system.
Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships were awarded as follows:
Ms Sana Rintala (Immunology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Carl Goodyear, to evaluate the osteoclasotgenic mechanisms that are altered by immunomodulation.
Ms Hayley Patterson (Immunology, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Iain McInnes, to investigate whether syk kinase is implicated in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis pathogenesis.
Ms Kunza Jamal (Biochemistry, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Daniel Walker, to study the production and characterisation of novel pyocins active against Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Ms Anna Price (Statistics, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Jackie Price at Edinburgh University, to study the potential of plasma N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) as a marker of cardiovascular risk in people with type 2 diabetes/
Ms Holly Morrison (Immunology, Glasgow University) supervised by Professor Gerard Graham, to examine the functional importance of CCR10 upregulation on neutrophils by TLR ligands.
Ms Karen Crokston (Microbiology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Andrew Roe, to characterise the interaction of drug target mutants with host cells.
Ms Linn Olsen (Psychology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Stephanie Rossit of Glasgow Caledonian University, when she studied the relationships between eye movement deficits and lesion locations in stroke patients.
Mr Bartlomiej Kulka (Biochemistry, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Brian Smith to study whether the endotoxin binding domains of Factor C cooperate in endotoxin binding.
Ms Amanda Trimble (Veterinary Medicine, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr John Marshall to analyse peritoneal fluid serum amyloid A (SAA) as a predictor of survival in equine colic.
Awards in 2010-11£120,229 over 24 months to Dr Paul Hoskisson (Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, Strathclyde University), for a study of non-toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae - a pathogen of emerging importance in Scotland.
Diphtheria is a debilitating disease of the throat and pharynx caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Although relatively rare in the UK thanks to an effective vaccine, it remains a common childhood illness in the developing world. Recent increases in cases where there is serious, persistent infections of the throat, bones and heart have, however, highlighted a lack of understanding of the detailed disease mechanisms. This research aims to rectify this deficit and point the way to developing new treatments or improved vaccines.
£141,848 over 30 months to Dr Hui-Rong Jiang (Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, Strathclyde University), to investigate IL-33 activity in the development of neurological autoimmune diseases.
Multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease which causes irreversible damage to the central nervous system (CNS), is the leading cause of non-traumatic neurological disability among young adults and its prevalence in Scotland is one of the highest in the world. There is currently no cure and existing treatments are largely ineffective. MS is an autoimmune disease in which cell-signalling proteins called cytokines play an important part. This project aims to improve understanding of the role of cytokine IL-33 in the development of MS and other neurological diseases by clarifying its role in modulating immune responses and CNS repair.
£74,192 over 18 months to Dr Annette Sorensen, Dr Marie Boyd & Dr Anthony Mcclusky (Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, Strathclyde University) for an 18-month investigation of novel combination therapies for the treatment of medulloblastoma and other somatostatin receptor expressing tumours.
Medulloblastoma is the most common type of brain tumour affecting children. Current treatments for it and other similar cancers have serious side-effects resulting from 'collateral' damage to the surrounding healthy tissues. This project will study a number of possible options for improved and more effective treatment.
Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships were awarded as follows:
Ms Karen Lai (Pharmacology, Strathclyde University) supervised by Dr Nial Wheate, to investigate a novel treatment for glioblastoma using platinum-cucurbituril-based drugs, delivered in a nasal formulation.
Mr Eric Cruickshank (Immunology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Carl Goodyear, to investigate the epigenetic regulation of osteoclast differentiation.
Ms Siobhan Hay (Pharmacology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Rachel Shirley, to study levels of apoptosis following cerebral ischaemia.
Awards in 2009-10£148,940 over three years to Dr Carl S. Goodyear (Clinical Neurosciences), Professor Margaret Harnett (Immunology, Infection & Inflammation, Glasgow University) & Dr Richard Soutar (Haematology, Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow) to study the inhibition of osteoclastogenesis by immunomodulatory complexes. (The Vipiana Award)
The bone destruction associated with gum disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and many other diseases, is caused by 'bone-eating' cells (osteoclasts) and the cells from which they mature. Normally, the body keeps the levels of osteoclasts and 'bone-making'cells (osteoblasts) roughly in balance. In the disease state, however, levels of osteoclasts are high and finding ways to reduce or prevent this rise are being sought. This project will study the detailed effects of a new protein complex, known to inhibit osteoclast maturation, on its ability to destroy bone.
£135,287 over 24 months to Dr Christine M. Dufes (Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences) and Professor Kevin Ryan (Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow) for the evaluation of systemic p73 gene therapy of cancer, using a novel transferrin-targeted dendrimer.
The potential for using gene therapy in cancer treatment is currently limited by the inability get the modified genes to deep-seated tumours efficiently and without healthy tissues being damaged in the process. This project aims to improve the efficiency of these 'seek and destroy' therapies by using an iron-targeted delivery system to carry the tumour-suppressor gene p73, directly to the tumour. Iron is essential for tumour cell growth and the tumour cells have many iron-carrier receptors on their surface. The hope is that intravenously-administered iron-targeted carriers will prove to be ahighly effective and specific means of anti-cancer treatment.
£150,000 over 36 months to Dr Colin Berry (Scottish Senior Clinical Research Fellow, BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, Glasgow University) to gain new pathological insights and functional significance using cardiac MRI in acute myocardial infarction.
Heart attack is the leading cause of premature ill health and death in Scotland and worldwide. It is a particular problem because it is difficult to predict and also the nature and severity of damage to the heart is difficult to detect. Echocardiography is often carried out immediately after a heart attack, to give doctors an indication of the functionality of the heart. But it cannot indicate any swelling or bleeding, so the true extent of the heart damage is not known. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), is the gold standard way to measure heart function, providing images of the beating heart, is non-invasive and, unlike a CT scan, does not involve harmful X-rays, so is safe to use and repeat - even in heart-attack patients. This project is developing new computer models of heart attack and combining them with the power of MRI scans, aiming to find better ways to prevent or treat heart attack in the future.
Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships were awarded as follows:
Ms Roisin Brown (Medicinal Chemistry, Strathclyde University) supervised by Dr Nial Wheate, for work investigating new methods to target delivery of anti-cancer drugs.
Ms Laura Castle (Medicine, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Colin Berry, to assist in validating the use of cardiac MRI in the diagnosis of heart disease.
Mr Andrew Hutton (Immunology, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Carl Goodyear, to investigate aspects of the immune system processes which result in bone destruction in rheumatoid arthritis.
Mr Niklas Janisch (Microbiology/Genetics, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Daniel Walker, on a project investigating antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Ms Lucy King (Genetics, Glasgow University) supervised by Dr Andrew Roe, to study aspects of selected mutants of strains of the bacterium E. coli O157.
Awards in 2008-09£85,219 over 19 months to Dr Andrew J. Roe (Infection & Immunity) & Dr Richard Burchmore (Functional Genomics Facility), University of Glasgow, for the identification of proteins targeted by salicylic aldehyde inhibitors in Escherichia coli 0157.
Scotland has the highest rate in Europe of infection with the bacterium E. coli 0157, which causes serious disease, particularly in the very young and the elderly. This project aims to identify the proteins involved in the processes used by the bacterium to enable it to attach itself to the gut wall and also to understand better how they work. The results should provide pointers to the development of compounds which could be used to block the attachment of E. coli O157 to the wall of the gut and thereby reduce disease.
£145,332 over three years to Dr Nial J. Wheate, Dr Oliver Sutcliffe & Professor David Flint (Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, Strathclyde University), to investigate the mechanisms of folic acid-directed delivery of platinum(II)-based anticancer drugs using PAMAM dendrimers.
Cancers of the head, neck, ovarian, testicular, colorectal, lung and bladder are mainly treated with three platinum-based drugs. However, all three have severe side-effects (like nausea and vomiting), resulting from the drugs' indiscriminate attack on normal, as well as cancerous cells. These effects limit the amount of drug that can be given and the cancers themselves also develop resistance to platinum-based drugs, so patients relapse. This project aims to improve the efficacy of platinum drugs by investigating whether attaching them to the surface of tiny polymers and then to folic acid, allows the cancerous cells to be targeted more specifically.
£112,252 over two years to Dr Daniel Walker (Division of Infection & Immunity, Glasgow University), to study of the antimicrobial activity of novel protein antibiotics against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the biofilm state.
Persistent lung infection with the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the major cause of death in cystic fibrosis. The bacterium is naturally resistant to many commonly used antibiotics and acquires resistance to others,making infections very difficult to treat. New therapies are needed urgently. In cysitic fibrosis P. aeruginosa can grow as a thin film in the lungs and in this 'biofilm' state, is virtually impossible to eradicate with conventional antibiotics. This project aims to isolate protein antibiotics (pyocins) and investigate their ability to prevent the formation of P. aeruginosa biofilms and kill bacteria in existing biofilms.
£139,339 over two years to Dr Pasquale Maffia & Dr James Brewer (Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, Strathclyde University), for the visualisation of antigen presentation in models of atherosclerosis.
Cardiovascular diseases are the most common causes of death in Scotland and are expected to be the main cause of death globally within the next 15 years. New strategies for prediction, prevention, and treatment are needed. Immune responses are known to be important in atherosclerosis ('hardening' of the blood vessels), but the detailed mechanisms remain unknown. Using state-of-the-art technology (multiphoton microscopy) in animal models, this project will, in real time, investigate the detail of all the components of the immune response. The aim is to provide the detail needed to improve current therapeutic approaches and reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Awards in 2007-08£106,114 over two years to Dr Shauna E. Culshaw (Centre for Biophotonics, University of Strathclyde) and colleagues Professor Paul Garside, Dr John Girkin, Professor Gail McConnell & Dr James Brewer (all of the Centre for Biophotonics, University of Strathclyde), to improve understanding of the basic mechanisms of the adaptive immune response to cariogenic bacteria in the oral cavity.
Oral health is a major component of general health, well being and quality of life. The social and economic costs of poor oral health are significant, but will only be reduced when new ways are found to prevent or treat the underlying dental decay. This fundamental study of the immune response to dental caries-causing bacteria aims to provide pointers to the best way forward.
£149,841 over three years to Drs Mary Donaldson & Iain Morgan (Department of Pathological Sciences, University of Glasgow Veterinary School), to investigate the potential of TopBP1 to be a therapeutic target for human papillomavirus infection.
This project aims to improve understanding of how proteins and other cell components interact with viral proteins, specifically the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes genital warts and cervical cancer. The aim is to find ways to disrupt the life cycle of the virus so it cannot cause disease. The new vaccines only prevent initial infection with HPV; people already infected might still develop cancer and there is currently no way to prevent this.
The second Mrs Mary Tyson Fellowship was awarded to Dr Anna Sutherland (Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Glasgow) for her project entitled: "Perceived interpersonal threat as a unifying psychological model in Cluster B personality disorder".
Personality disorders are particularly difficult to treat and have significant social and economic costs. The aim of this project is to develop an effective, evidence-based cognitive model to improve clinical intervention aimed at reducing the antisocial and self-harming behaviours characteristic of these personality disorders.
Awards in 2006-07£79,111 to Dr Trevor John Bushell (Physiology & Pharmacology, University of Strathclyde) for a two-year project to determine the role of proteinase-activated receptor 2 upregulation in CNS neurones.
This study aims to understand the part played by proteinase-activated receptors in communication between nerve cells in the central nervous system, information that is key to the development of treatments for diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
£80,000 to Dr Christopher Michael Loughrey (Cell Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow) & Professor Godfrey Smith (Biomedical & Life Sciences, University of Glasgow) for a two-year investigation of the role of intracellular calcium in left ventricular diastolic dysfunction.
The heart's ability to pump blood through the body and then refill again is partly dependent on the action of calcium stored in the heart muscles. In 'heart failure' the heart cannot relax sufficiently for filling. This project will investigate whether the cause is a change in how the calcium works.
£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.
[Read about awards made between 1992 and 2005]