Biomedical Research Centre
Introduction, goals and mission
The Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is an internationally leading, vibrant, collaborative unit of inter-disciplinary researchers. Our research addresses diverse problems in biomedical sciences and health, and it is aligned with local, national and global focus on healthy ageing. Our research ranges from identifying cancer stem cell metabolism processes and molecular biomarkers through to understanding the impact of zoonotic and pathogenic microbes on human and animal health.
BRC is a part of the School of Science Engineering and Environment (SEE) in the University of Salford. We work closely with regional hospitals and have established wider national and international collaborations with universities and research centres, focussing on new and improved treatments on a diverse range of diseases. Currently, the research in BRC has three established areas of research – Cancer Diagnosis and Prevention, Cardio-Respiratory Physiology and Pathology and Infectious Diseases. Research on Dementia and Healthy Mind is also among other growing areas of research in the centre. All these areas benefit from inter-disciplinary collaborations with chemists who are also part of BRC as well as collaborations with colleagues from data and health sciences.
More about the Biomedical Research Centre
Research Centre Director: Sarah Withers
Biomedical Research Centre
University of Salford
0161 295 5736
Cancer Diagnosis and Prevention
This is BRC’s largest research group working towards improving the diagnosis and management of human cancers. Cancer research areas in the centre include investigation of inflammation and steroids, p53 tumor suppressor (Krstic-Demonacos), obesity, mitosis (Topham), cancer stem cells, cancer metabolism, tumour recurrence and metastasis, drug resistance, clinical trials (Lisanti), ageing, senescence, drug discovery, antibiotics, drug repurposing (Sotgia), DNA repair, DNA Glycosylase, (Elder), cancer RNA biomarkers, genomics, genetics (Mukhopadhyay) and cancer nanobiotechnology (Krpetic). In addition, cancer research in the centre is focussed on leukemia/haematology, bioinformatics, transcription factors (Krstic-Demonacos, Aziz), childhood cancers, lung health (Arrigo, Namvar, Smyth, Topham, Krstic-Demonacos). Several groups have interest in designing and synthesising of novel compounds for cancer therapies. This includes commercial development of bioreductive alkylating agents, two-photon activation of stilbenes, development of antivascular agents, synthesis of novel chalcones to combat childhood cancers, green synthetic methodologies (Hadfield), free radicals, chromatography, mass spectrometry, biomarkers (Podmore), medicinal chemistry, cancer, glycomimetics (Wilkinson, Rossington), and nanotechnology (Krpetic) as well as computer modelling techniques/chemistry (Akinshina) and glycobiology, drug design and discovery, molecular modelling, tumour angiogenesis (Pye).
This area of research is supported by the FoxPoint foundation and Lunella Biotech spin-out pharma company, co-founded by Sotgia and Lisanti to develop new therapeutic strategies for cancer. Numerous collaborations at the international level include Vietnam, Thailand and Japan, Italy and USA and many others. Numerous researchers collaborate and are funded through joint grants with local hospitals such as Blackpool Victoria Teaching Hospital, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and Wythenshawe Hospital. In addition, KidsCan Charitable Trust funds several BRC members research into childhood cancer.
Cardio-Respiratory Physiology and Pathology
All members share a common goal; to undertake highly translational laboratory-based cardiovascular research. Revealing detailed patho-physiological mechanisms at cell / tissue level underpins the group’s main agendas: (1) advance understanding of the fundamental physiology of the cardiovascular system and (2) discover novel therapeutic targets to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease. The Greensmith lab uses cutting-edge physiological techniques to reveal the detailed cellular basis of heart disease and drug-induced cardiac toxicity, focusing on the role of oxidative stress and inflammation. The Withers lab places focus on obesity seeking to understand how overweight state can alter vascular function in order to identify new and effective therapies. This group also focusses on secretion biology (secretion, exocytosis, intracellular trafficking) in lung diseases (Miklavc), fungal allergens in airway fibrosis, asthma (Namvar), cellular pathology and pathogenesis of host-pathogen interactions, inflammation and lung fibrosis (Allen and Smyth).
Research is supported by British Lung foundation, KidsCan, collaboration with Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and Salford Royal Hospital.
Some researchers make contributions to several centres. Researchers in both groups work closely with colleagues in the BRC’s sister Research Centre, the Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre, others in the wider university, and as part of national and international collaborations. Major areas of research involve: chronic parasitic and neglected tropical diseases (associated members Goodhead, Hide and Rogan), that has included developing novel insights into immune response related to co-morbidities with cancer and HIV/AIDS (Hide), the genomics of hosts and pathogens (Goodhead), molecular diagnostics, epidemiology of infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, microbiology (Goodhead, Rogan, Brooks, Latimer). Additional focus includes repurposing drugs towards developing safe treatments for malaria, drug repositioning, drug discovery (Nirmalan), human nosocomial pathogens and antimicrobial resistance, bacteriophages, biofilms (James, Goodhead, Latimer) and development of antimicrobials through nanotechnology (Krpetic).
Research is also supported by BBSRC funds and additional international collaborative grants to investigate COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional expertise in the BRC is in ageing and dementia (Lace), electrochemistry/supramolecular chemistry (Lehr) and science communication, bioethics, digital media, Esport, drones (Miah). Arrigo and Krpetic also focus their research on energy materials, nanotechnology, catalysis, green chemistry, structure characterization, nanoparticle synthesis and characterisation, bio-nano interactions, nanomedicine, bionano technology. Nirmalan also has interest in major trauma and Namvar in peritoneum, peritoneal dialysis and Aspergillus.
For further information about research projects and interests please follow the link to individual research members webpages.
Facilities and Expertise
Research infrastructure in BRC was developed through multi-million pounds investment resulting in creation of the Bodmer laboratory and translation medicine (TM) laboratories, teaching and research facilities for the School of Science, Engineering and Environment. This environment can support wide areas of biomedical research spanning pharmaceutical science, human physiology, infectious diseases research, clinical and molecular genetics, medical biochemistry and clinical immunology. Research students are trained to use modern, leading-edge laboratory equipment and are supported by research technicians. TM laboratory is furnished with state-of-the-art equipment capable of making detailed physiological recordings from isolated heart cells, unique instrument for nanoscale characterization - CPS Disk Centrifuge DC2400 UHR, cancer metabolism suit including monitoring metabolic-flux and mitochondrial function, cancer stem cell specific cell sorting, and advanced imaging analysis. We have access to specialist equipment including a genomics facility complete with an Illumina MiSeq and MinION Nanopore sequencing capacity, NMR, mass spectrometry, FACS. We are also equipped with molecular biology, biochemistry type of facilities including cell culture, qRTPCR machines and Bioraptor. Expertise and facilities are in place to support microbiology and parasitology based research. Immunohistochemistry suit and tissue processing is already in place supporting collaboration with hospitals.