2 July, 2008 – Manchester gets funding for €17m UK Biobank
The University of Manchester has been awarded €5 million in EU funding for a major €170 million international biobank project.
Researchers at the University’s Centre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research will work alongside scientists and funding agencies in other EU member states to plan how millions of biological samples, such as DNA, can best be managed and made available to research scientists across Europe.
This new Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure will link new and existing biobanks across the continent. The initial planning phase for which this funding has been provided will last two years. The aim is to answer key questions, including whether the infrastructure will comprise a number of physical buildings in locations across Europe or whether a virtual infrastructure would be the best option, or a combination of both. Planners anticipate the total cost of construction for the project will exceed €170 million.
The University of Manchester’s Dr Martin Yuille, associate coordinator for the planning phase, said: "this European biobanking infrastructure is as important to biomedical science as CERN is to physics or Jodrell is to astronomy. It will counter fragmentation in Europe that is impeding access to valuable resources essential for translating the human genome sequence into health benefits."
Advances in robotics, miniaturisation and imaging are allowing detailed molecular analysis of biological samples. For biomedicine this means that samples from very large numbers of patients and healthy individuals need to be studied to discover, for example, the genes that underlie our risk of diseases like heart disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s.
Manchester is already a leading centre for this area of research. It is host to the UK Biobank – a world-leading study of how genes and lifestyle contribute to health and disease.
It also leads the UK DNA Banking Network (UDBN), the biobanking facility that manages UK samples and associated data from key priority diseases, such as cancer, mental health, heart disease, ageing and diabetes.
Source: UMIC Press release