GW4 Alliance to unveil cutting-edge microscopy facility

8 June 2017

Microscopic image of molecular components

The GW4 Alliance will open a £2.3 million shared facility for cryo-microscopy on 1 September 2017 at the University of Bristol.

The facility will provide researchers across the Great West region with a suite of state-of-the-art microscopy and analysis tools, enabling them to better understand the molecular processes responsible for cell function or malfunction.

It is hoped that the shared GW4 facility will accelerate new insights into human health and disease, and will attract the world’s most talented scientists to collaborate with the leading universities in the region.

The facility has been established following awards from Wellcome and co-investment from the universities of the GW4 Alliance, and will be housed in the Life Sciences Building at the University of Bristol, as part of the Wolfson Bioimaging Facility.

A game-changer for molecular biology

Professor Christiane Berger-Schaffitzel, University of Bristol said: “We are absolutely thrilled that this joint effort by Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter came to fruition...”

“Electron cryo-microscopy is a game-changer for molecular biology today, and our new facility will be instrumental for accelerating cutting-edge research projects of many scientists in the South West and Wales.”

Professor Christiane Berger-Schaffitzel, University of Bristol

Professor Philip Ingham FRS FMedSci HonFRCP, Director of University of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute said: “The establishment of this state of the art facility will be crucial in maintaining the position of GW4 institutions at the forefront of biomedical research.  Cryo-electron microscopy is revolutionising the field, transforming the way we analyse the molecular components of living systems...”

“We are very grateful to Wellcome for their support, without which this initiative would not have been possible.”

Professor Philip Ingham, Director of University of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute

Professor Dylan Jones OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences at Cardiff University said: “This new facility will give researchers in GW4 institutions a fantastic opportunity to study the structure of biological molecules at high resolution, transforming our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of health and disease, and fostering new collaborations between research groups in the GW4 Alliance.”

State-of-the-art capabilities

The facility will be unveiled at an opening ceremony on 1 September 2017 by GW4 Chair of Board, Professor Nick Talbot (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Impact, University of Exeter), and Director of Science at Wellcome, Dr Jim Smith.

The event will showcase the state-of-the-art capabilities of the GW4 Facility for High-Resolution Electron Cryo-Microscopy and will bring together leading experts in life sciences from across the GW4 Alliance to discuss research ideas and collaboration.

More information about the launch event can be found here.

Established in 2013, the GW4 Alliance brings together four leading research-intensive universities: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, to deliver globally competitive research and build a highly skilled workforce.

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Researcher examining experiment

GW4 Alliance

Bringing together four of the most research-intensive and innovative universities in the UK; the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.