News archive 2004
New dental labs bring top-class researchers under one roof05 Nov 2004, PR 70/04
New laboratories for the UK’s leading dental institute are to be opened today (5 November) at King’s College London, following a £3.7 million refurbishment programme aimed at bringing all laboratory-based dental research at King’s under one roof.
Professor Paul Sharpe, the head of the new Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Craniofacial Development on floor 27, welcomes the increase in laboratory space:
‘The refurbishment has provided us with dedicated facilities for different types of microscopy, and by moving microscopes out of the main laboratories has created much needed bench space,’ he said.
‘The opening fortuitously coincides with the arrival of 15 new PhD students to the department. In addition the provision of cabinets in the corridors has allowed us to display our collection of animal skulls that provide a valuable resource for studies of craniofacial evolution and development.’
The research teams headed by Professor David Beighton and Dr Gordon Proctor, who were previously housed at Denmark Hill, are the main beneficiaries of the new facilities on floor 17. Their moves to the Henry Wellcome Laboratories of Microbiology and Salivary Research on the Guy’s campus will help to foster closer collaborations with their academic and clinical colleagues.
A state-of-the-art mass spectrometer will allow researchers to identify bacterial proteins that are important in tooth decay, with the ultimate aim of developing new therapies. The new equipment has also inspired dental researcher Dr Karen Homer to launch collaborations with other King’s College departments, to identify proteins that play a major role in leukaemia and diabetes.
In addition, the refurbishment has provided space for two new specialist research microscopes. A laser-dissection microscope will enable researchers to cut out individual cells from developing teeth for analysis. Using the new confocal microscope, Dr Proctor and his team can, for the first time, look at individual proteins inside living cells – in their case to discover more about how the salivary glands work. This research links with Guy's Hospital's treatment of patients with Sjogren's syndrome and other salivary gland diseases that affect salivary secretion.
The new laboratories are to be opened by Dr Sohaila Rastan, Director of Science Funding at the Wellcome Trust, and Sir Tim Chessells, Chairman of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charitable Foundation. Together, these organisations financed the new facilities.
Sir Tim Chessells said: ‘The Trustees agreed to support this extensive refurbishment because they recognised the pioneering work being undertaken by researchers at the GKT Dental Institute and how their work could benefit from state-of-the-art facilities.
‘The new laboratories enable researchers to work much more closely with dental clinicians, building on existing collaborations, and facilitate a more dynamic approach to research.’
Notes to editors
King’s College London Dental Institute
The King’s College London Dental Institute is one of the leading players in teaching and research nationally and internationally. It educates and trains dental personnel at all stages, from undergraduate to postgraduate levels and including the Professionals Complementary to Dentistry. In addition, personnel at the Dental Institute undertake basic science and clinical research, and provide clinical care in close collaboration with Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital NHS Trust.
The Dental Institute was awarded the maximum 5* research rating grade in the last research assessment exercise and received the top teaching score of 24/24 in its Teaching Quality Assessment.
The new laboratories
The refurbishment of two floors of the Dental Institute on the Guy’s campus of King’s College London was funded under the Scientific Research Investment Fund (SRIF) scheme (Stream 2) by the Wellcome Trust at the maximum level of 75%. The Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charitable Foundation provided the balance of the funding. In addition, an equipment grant of £750,000 was provided by SRIF (Stream1).
King’s College London
King’s is one of the oldest and largest colleges of the University of London with 13,800 undergraduate students and some 5,300 postgraduates in ten schools of study. The College had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level. King’s is in the top group of five universities for research earnings with income from grants and contracts of more than £93 million (2002-2003) and has an annual turnover of £320 million. King’s is a member of the Russell Group, a coalition of the UK’s major research-based universities.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charitable Foundation
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charitable Foundation was created on 1 April 2000 from the merger of the Special Trustees of Guy’s Hospital and the Special Trustees for St Thomas’ Hospital. The charity can trace its roots back to the twelfth century when St Thomas’ Hospital was founded. Today, the Foundation provides funding to support excellence in research and development at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and local health organisations and funds projects to enhance health services that will benefit the wider NHS. Research grants are awarded to educational institutions in partnership with the beneficiary trusts. It has awarded three major grants to support Wellcome Trust SRIF II funded refurbishment projects at King’s College London, within the Division of Medical and Molecular Genetics, the Dental Institute and the Department of Infection and Immunity.
The Charitable Foundation also provides grants for environmental projects which improve the healthcare environment for the benefit of patients, staff and the local community.
The Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is an independent research funding charity established in 1936 under the will of the tropical medicine pioneer Sir Henry Wellcome. The Trust's mission is to foster and promote research with the aim of improving human and animal health and it currently spends over £400 million per annum.
For further information about Guy’s and St’ Thomas’ Charitable Foundation please contact Kate Dawson, Communications Manager on 0207 1881 1218 or go to www.charitablefoundation.org.uk
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