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HRH opens flagship research centre

JANUARY 11, 2007

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Chancellor of the University of London, formally opened the £30 million James Black Centre at King’s Denmark Hill Campus on 10 January. The new Centre specialises in research in cardiology, neuroscience and sickle cell disease, with a major focus on stem cell research.

The James Black Centre is a unique, state-of-the-art facility, bringing together more than 200 scientists researching a number of diseases. There will be a major focus on stem cell science across these areas.

Research into cardiovascular disease, led by Professor Ajay Shah and Professor Qingbo Xu, will look in particular at the molecular mechanisms that determine heart failure and stem cell research into atherosclerosis. Work on sickle cell disease and b thallasaemia, under Professor Swee Lay Thein, will explore cellular mechanisms of sickle cell and potential clinical trials for new therapies.

The Centre will also enable scientists from the Institute of Psychiatry to increase research programmes in neuroscience. This group, led by Professor Jack Price, will look at neurodegenerative conditions such as stroke, Parkinson's and Batten's Disease and psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia.

Professor Jack Price commented, ‘The new facilities and laboratory spaces at the Centre have given us a unique chance to double our efforts in the field of neuroscience. Our team can now focus more on molecular and behavioural neuroscience, neural stem cells and the neurobiology of mental health, exploring the cellular basis of some of the most devastating neurological and psychiatric conditions affecting the population.'

The Centre has been funded by a number of donors, including: the Government's Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF), the King's Medical Research Trust, King's College Hospital Charitable Trust and the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

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