Pandemic Science Hub Launches at University of Edinburgh

Investment has been made into a new science hub at the University of Edinburgh for the development of treatments for lung infections and future pandemics.

Significant investment has been made into a new research program at the University of Edinburgh for the development of treatments for lung infections, such as COVID-19, and future pandemics, it was revealed in a May 18, 2022 press release.

Investment management firm, Baillie Gifford, has supported the new program—to be called the Baillie Gifford Pandemic Science Hub—via a large donation of £14.7 million (US$18.5 million). Research performed at the hub will employ translational genomics along with experimental medicine methods to evaluate and develop therapies to treat lung inflammation and injury caused by infection.

The hub aims to build on the successes of the research study, genetics of susceptibility and mortality in critical care (GenOMICC), and an experimental medicine program, STOPCOVID, spearheaded by the Centre for Inflammation Research in the Queen’s Medical Research Institute at Edinburgh BioQuarter. These projects were led by Professors Kenneth Baillie, GenOMICC’s chief investigator and professor of Experimental Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and Kev Dhaliwal, STOPCOVID lead and professor of Molecular Imaging and Healthcare Technology at the University of Edinburgh.

“The generous donation from Baillie Gifford enables us to build on recent advances in genomics, computing, engineering, and experimental medicine—all major strengths at Edinburgh—to speed up the process of drug development, so that we’ll be able to find targeted therapies more quickly for new, and old, diseases,” said Baillie in the press release. “The hub will use clues from human genetics to develop new drugs, and then build technologies to rapidly test those drugs in critically ill patients.”

“Innovation and team science are at the heart of this new push which will make a jump in experimental medicine capabilities,” added Dhaliwal, in the press release. “Fusing disciplines in a translationally focused environment to accelerate therapies and approaches for lung inflammation is a major challenge and we are delighted that we are being supported by Baillie Gifford to establish this hub and also recruit leaders from across the world.”

Source: University of Edinburgh