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Wolfson Grant supports UK’s First Marine Microbiome Facility

Aug 12 2020 Read 381 Times

A £1.35-million Wolfson grant awarded to the Marine Biological Association (MBA) will help support the building of a new Marine Microbiome Centre of Excellence that will focus on the microscopic world of the ocean to expand our understanding of ocean health and the impacts of climate change.

The new centre will be located in Plymouth, Devon, where proximity and access to the sea, coupled with the MBA’s own research vessels will provide a focal point for international researchers in a dedicated facility.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said: “We were enormously impressed by the quality of the current research at the MBA and the ambition to create world-class research infrastructure to match. The broad area of marine biology could scarcely be of greater importance at the current moment and we are delighted to support the organisation in building on its long, proud history.”

Welcoming the investment MBA Director Professor Willie Wilson said, “We are excited to receive such a prestigious grant which will make an enormous difference to improving research facilities at the MBA. The new Centre is part of a wider strategy we have termed, “Pathway to 150 Years of the MBA” which takes inspiration from the Marine Biological Association’s eminent scientific roots and spirit of discovery.”

Work is already well underway on the new facility, with the recent completion of the Huxley Imaging Centre that houses some of the most advanced microscopes in the world thanks to over £1.4-million in grants from the Natural Environment Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Professor Wilson further noted, “the research conducted at the new Centre will be a lens to a marine microbial world that is critical for the planet’s health, it is akin to the role the human gut bacteria play in human health.”

MBA President, Dr Gill Rider said “Never has there been a more important time in human history for us to better understand the role of our oceans, the life they support and the impact of climate change. This exciting new Centre will ensure that the MBA remains at the forefront of Marine Biology research.”

Working with Burwell Architects, this phase of the MBA infrastructure improvement programme (which is part of an ambitious £20-million site masterplan) should be completed by the end of 2021.

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