24 January 2007

A Queensland researcher will lead a new world-class research centre being established in Edinburgh, Scotland.

After a worldwide search Professor David Hume, currently Director of the ARC Special Research Centre for Functional and Applied Genomics at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) at The University of Queensland, will become Director of the Edinburgh Bioscience Research Centre on May 1, 2007.

Professor Hume will initially begin in the position part-time, dividing his work between the Centre and the IMB, before moving full-time to Scotland at the beginning of 2008.

At the outset, the Centre will house around 450 scientists from the Roslin Institute, the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, the Institute for Animal Health Neuropathogenesis Unit (NPU), and the Scottish Agricultural College.

The first stage is the immediate amalgamation of the BBSRC-funded Roslin and NPU. The fully-merged Centre will be formally established around May 2008, and from 2010 will be housed in a £55 million (AUD$138 million) building on the University of Edinburgh's Easter Bush campus. It will investigate animal health and welfare, and their implications for human health.

Professor Hume is a world-class genomic scientist, whose research focuses on macrophages and osteoclasts, cells that are critical to the body's ability to fight off disease, remove damaged tissue and dying cells and decalcify bone. Understanding how these cells operate could lead to therapies to boost their normal function as well as limit the damage that they cause in inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Professor Hume has been at The University of Queensland since 1988, and was a founding member of the Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology that grew to become the IMB. He said his decision to leave the IMB was difficult, but his time at The University of Queensland would provide a solid base for running the Centre.

“I have very much enjoyed the research environment at the IMB and the University of Queensland, and I am looking forward to taking what I have learned here and applying it to the challenge of merging prestigious partner organisations, such as the Roslin Institute, into one exciting research centre,” Professor Hume said.

The Roslin Institute was the organisation responsible for the cloning of Dolly the sheep, and last week announced that it has bred 500 genetically modified chickens capable of laying eggs with high concentrations of cancer-fighting proteins.

“Although we are very sorry to lose Professor Hume, it is a fantastic opportunity to lead an internationally significant research Institute and we wish him all the best in his future endeavour and look forward to collaborating with him on research projects from the new Institute,” Professor Brandon Wainwright, Director of the IMB, said.

“His friendship, energy, intellect and vision will be very much missed by us all.”

Media contacts:
Professor David Hume – 07 3346 2073

Bronwyn Allan (IMB Communications) – 07 3346 2134 or 0418 575 247

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