MRC invests £1.4M in global lipid research database
12 September 2023
The Medical Research Council has invested £1.4 million in LIPID MAPS, a resource that supports underpinning mechanistic studies on a wide range of biomedical research areas – from tissues, model systems, microbes, through to human epidemiology.
The funding will allow Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, in collaboration with the Babraham Institute, the University of California San Diego, University of Edinburgh and Swansea University, to develop new tools and resources focused on systems biology of lipids.
Lead Investigator, Professor Valerie O'Donnell, Cardiff University School of Medicine, said: “We are delighted with this funding for our new partnership. Lipids, commonly known as fats, are essential for life but are also centrally involved in the development of diseases such as heart disease and dementia.”
The new funding will allow the partners to develop new big data resources focused on systems biology of lipids, enabling mechanistic studies on a wide range of biomedical research areas – from tissues, model systems, microbes, through to human epidemiology.
"There is a huge amount we still don’t know relating to how many unique lipids our cells contain and how these change during development and disease. To further our understanding, it’s essential that we have collaborative open access resources such as those hosted on LIPID MAPS.” added co-investigator Ed Dennis, University of California San Diego.
The project will bring together a new consortium hosted under the LIPID MAPS umbrella, with a focus on curating molecular and biochemistry information, as well as generating new informatics tools, to facilitate lipid researchers worldwide. LIPID MAPS was started in 2003 at the University of California San Diego. It collated more than 40,000 structures, and developed a new lipid classification system, before moving to the UK in 2016. LIPID MAPS serves around 65,000 lipid researchers worldwide.
“Lipidomics studies the structure and function of the complete set of lipids in a cell or organism as well as their interactions with other cellular components. Without high quality expert curated databases, poor quality data will be generated, leading to significant wastage of time and resources,” said Bill Griffiths from Swansea University, a co-investigator on the grant.
“By establishing this new partnership, we can generate tools and resources to support systems biology of lipids, as applied to both fundamental and applied biomedical and clinical research,” said co-investigator Simon Andrews, Babraham Institute.
“This funding will enable the development and growth of this exciting new area of scientific research and will enrich our understanding of many areas of biomedical research” added co-investigator Ruth Andrew, University of Edinburgh.