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First director appointed to new research centre

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20 December 2006

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Edinburgh are pleased to announce the appointment of Professor David Hume as the first director of a new world-class research centre being established in Edinburgh.

Professor Hume will take up his post, initially on a part-time basis, from 1 May 2007, approximately a year ahead of the centre’s establishment. From 2010, the centre will be based around a new £55M building on the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush campus.Professor David Hume

Professor Hume is an international authority in genome sciences, with a particular focus on the function of specialised cells of the immune system in infection, inflammatory diseases and cancer. Currently Director of the ARC Special Research Centre for Functional and Applied Genomics at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland, Australia, Professor Hume has also held research positions in Germany, the UK, Japan, and the USA.

He will be the first Director of the new centre that will bring together around 450 scientists and support staff from the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, the Institute for Animal Health Neuropathogenesis Unit, the Roslin Institute and the Scottish Agricultural College, to tackle some of the most pressing issues in animal health and welfare and their implications for human health.

“I look forward to coming to Edinburgh to lead this exciting new centre and to build on the expertise and international renown of the partner organisations,” says Professor Hume.

“This is a key opportunity to help maintain Scotland’s world-leading status in animal science through the establishment of an interdisciplinary and unique intellectual environment that will foster new ideas and new ways of working between researchers from different scientific disciplines.”

The focus of the new Centre will be on basic research, using the knowledge harvested from modern genome science to understand the shared biology of animals and humans. Applied aspects of the Centre will include harnessing the natural genetic variation that makes some animals more resistant to disease than others, development of new treatments in veterinary as well as human medicine, and control of diseases that can pass between wildlife, domestic animals and people.

Image of Professor David Hume available on request


Notes to editors

BBSRC sponsors the Neuropathogenesis Unit and the Roslin Institute.  BBSRC is investing new funding in the centre, including £35M of capital investment.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

About The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh was founded in 1583, making it one of Scotland's ancient universities. It has 21 Schools in three Colleges: Humanities and Social Science; Medicine and Veterinary Medicine; and Science and Engineering. The University of Edinburgh was named the Sunday Times Scottish University of the Year 2005 and were described by the paper as “a model of broad and consistent excellence set in one of the world's most cosmopolitan and vibrant cities.” Above all, however, The University of Edinburgh thrives on a reputation of excellence and innovation and take pride in maintaining a key position at the forefront of research, and advancements in teaching.

About Neuropathogenisis Unit - Institute for Animal Health

The Neuropathogenesis Unit is concerned exclusively with research on the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, which includes: Scrapie in sheep, BSE in cattle and CJD in man. The Unit is part of the Institute for Animal Health (IAH). IAH is a world-leading centre of excellence, and the major centre in the UK, for research on infectious diseases of livestock. IAH has three sites, located at Compton in Berkshire; Pirbright in Surrey; and the Neuropathogenesis Unit in Edinburgh. The IAH is one of seven research institutes sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

About Roslin Institute

Roslin Institute is one of seven research institutes in the UK sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and receives additional research funding from a variety of different sources including the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Scottish Executive, the European Commission, industry and charities. It is an Associated Institution of the University of Edinburgh and is located 7 miles South of Edinburgh city centre.

About The Scottish Agricultural College

SAC (The Scottish Agricultural College) is an innovative, knowledge-based organisation, supporting the development of land-based industries and communities through our specialist research and development resources, education and training provision, expert advisory and consultancy services.
SAC’s work is wide ranging but there is a particular emphasis on agriculture and related sciences, rural business development and management, food chain quality and safety, and rural resource and environmental management.

The SAC research programmes are designed to aid the development of the land-based industries, support the sustainability of rural communities, and inform policy makers in the rural sector, both nationally and internationally. SAC’s annual spend on research is in excess of £13M which includes Grant-in-Aid from SEERAD (Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department) of £6.4M.

External contact

Linda Menzies, The University of Edinburgh

tel: 0131 650 6382


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382