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Welcome to Cell Biology

The Centre for Cell Biology is one of fifteen UK-based Wellcome Trust Centres, three of which are in Scotland. We were granted full Centre status by the Wellcome Trust in 2001, the year that the draft human genome was published.

Our mission is to play a significant part of the scientific global endeavour aimed at understanding living systems at the molecular level, making discoveries that advance knowledge of normal and abnormal cell function.

We currently specialise in the following areas: 1) the synthesis, processing, localisation and degradation of RNA; 2) epigenetic control of chromosome function; 3) mechanisms of cell growth & duplication; 4) the rules that govern cellular architecture.

Our research is “investigator-led”; in other words, the Centre’s scientific progress depends on the ingenuity and curiosity of its research group leaders, each of whom follows their own instincts.

First Gene Therapy Trial for Rett Syndrome - based on Bird Lab research

On 29th March 2022 a clinical trial was announced by the California-based Company “Taysha Gene Therapies”. This is the first gene therapy trial for Rett syndrome and is based on a “mini-MeCP2” construct that Prof Adrian Bird’s laboratory published in Nature in 2017 (Tillotson et al, 2017) and patented via Edinburgh University. Taysha sub-licensed the IP and will conduct a phase 1 trial in Montreal in the coming months.

Adele Marston elected to Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh

On the 22 March The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) announced that Adele Marston has been elected as an RSE Fellow.

This prestigious fellowship recognises the major contributions Adele has made to understanding the origin of aneuploidy, particularly during meiosis the cell division that generates eggs and sperm, one of the major causes of infertility.

Julie Welburn received the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Patrick Neill Medal

Congratulations to Dr. Julie Welburn, who is one of just 9 recipients of this year’s Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) medals.  Julie has been awarded the RSE Patrick Neill Medal for enhancing our understanding of human cell division and disease through her research into the structure and cooperativity of key motor proteins and microtubule tracks.

The Patrick Neill Medal is awarded to early career researchers in Life Sciences for exceptional achievement in science. 

BSCB Raff Medal Awarded to WCB PhD graduate Flora Paldi

Recent PhD graduate Flora Paldi has been awarded the British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB) inaugural Raff Medal. 

The annually awarded Raff Medal was created in 2020 to recognise PhD students who have made “outstanding contributions to UK/Ireland cell biology.” Candidates are evaluated based on the excellence of their research as well as their community and public engagement activities. It is named after Professor Martin Raff, a pioneer in cell biology and former president of the BSCB.

Caffeine shot delivers wakeup call on antifungal drug resistance

The management of fungal infections in plants and humans could be transformed by a breakthrough in understanding how fungi develop resistance to drugs.

It was previously thought that only mutations in a fungi’s DNA would result in antifungal drug resistance. Current diagnostic techniques rely on sequencing all of a fungi’s DNA to find such mutations.

Robin Allshire elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences 2020

This prestigious fellowship recognises the major contributions that Robin Allshire has made to our understanding of chromosome structure and function. By taking advantage of a genetically tractable organism with centromeres that resemble those of higher eukaryotes, Robin Allshire is established as a world leader in the study of how the chromatin segregation machinery works.  His findings uncover key generalisations regarding the function of hererochromatin and centromere assembly that have relevance to human biology and disease.

COVID-19 responses from WCB

The Edinburgh Protein Production Facility (EPPF) will play an important role in the newly established COVID-19 Protein Production Consortium (CPPC). This national network aims to provide essential protein reagents to support SARS-CoV-2 research, through the COVID-19 Protein Portal.

Brain Prize awarded to Adrian Bird

Professor Sir Adrian Bird has been announced as joint winner of the Brain Prize – the most valuable research prize for neuroscience – in recognition of his groundbreaking research on Rett Syndrome.

He shares the prize of 10 million Danish krone – more than £1.1 million – with fellow scientist Huda Zoghbi for their work on the disease, which affects brain development, primarily among girls in early childhood. Symptoms include problems with coordination, language and repetitive movements.