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UEA and NNUH awarded £1.4m for pioneering medical research


Research teams from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) have been awarded a total of £1.4m by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to continue work on potentially life-changing research initiatives.

The first grant, £847,000, has been awarded for collaborative research between the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and UEA’s School of Computing Sciences (CMP). The grant will fund further development of a diagnostic device to assess patients who experience dizziness. The team will be led by Mr John Phillips, a consultant ENT surgeon at NNUH, and Prof Stephen Cox of CMP.

The device has the potential to reduce unnecessary GP and hospital visits, tests and scans, and therefore reduce the burden on the NHS; as well as improving the quality of life for people who experience dizziness.

Prof Gerard Parr, CMP head of school, said: “This grant demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary research that is of direct impact to society. The interplay between Medical Professionals and Computer Scientists is becoming ever more important as we strive to develop interventions that reduce the burden on NHS resources and optimise treatments for patients. 

"The School of Computing Sciences at UEA is at the forefront of this interface in areas concerning Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Internet Systems and AI and we look forward to developing the collaboration with NNUH further as part of the planned East of England Smart Emerging Technologies Institute.”

NNUH Chief Executive Mark Davies said: “This award is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates how collaborations between NNUH and our partners continue to ensure we are at the forefront of advancements in treatments for patients.

“It is a further example of our strength in this field and cements our position as a leading hospital for participation in research.”

An additional grant of £560,660 was awarded to UEA’s School of Biological Sciences (BIO) to continue leading-edge research into mechanisms controlling the regeneration of muscle tissue. The team will be led by Prof Andrea Münsterberg and Prof Ulrike Mayer (BIO), with Prof Lee Shepstone from Norwich Medical School.

The research has the potential to improve diagnostics and to provide therapeutic benefits to sufferers of muscle disease, as well as assist with the maintenance of healthy tissue in elderly and frail people.

Prof Andrea Münsterberg in UEA’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “This grant from the MRC will enable us to continue important research which has potentially far reaching benefits across society. As we get older our muscle mass and strength tends to diminish and to support continued physical health and a good quality of life, it is important to keep muscle healthy. In the UK, 70,000¹ people suffer from muscular dystrophy or a related condition, which can have a debilitating effect on sufferers.”

 

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