• Aston celebrates grant to establish membrane centre
    Aston opens Membrane Institute (credit: Aston University)

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Aston celebrates grant to establish membrane centre

Jan 18 2024

A global cross-disciplinary institute to develop novel biomimetic membranes is being established by Aston University, after receiving a major grant of £10m from Research England. The Aston Institute for Membrane Excellence (AIME), will be led by Professor Roslyn Bill, from the School of Biosciences, with co-lead Professor Paul Topham from the department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry (CEAC).

Used in many sectors including some medicines which target proteins in biological membranes, while synthetic polymer membranes are used in the US$100bn/year water purification industry, the team behind AIME believes that the full potential of membranes will only be realised by an interdisciplinary group spanning biology, physics and chemistry that can investigate membranes holistically.

Professor Bill, a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced grantee leads Aston Membrane Proteins and Lipids (AMPL) research centre of excellence that studies the structure and function of membrane proteins and associated lipids. Professor Topham leads Aston Polymer Research Group (APRG), which investigates the nanoscale behaviour of block copolymers (a type of polymer with a structure made of more than one type of polymer molecule) and polymer technologies for membranes. AMPL and APRG have already begun collaborative research and AIME will bring together the complementary expertise of both research clusters into one institute.  

The new team will focus on the development of bioinspired, highly selective polymer structures for applications in water purification and waste remediation, nanoparticles loaded with therapeutic molecules to treat disorders ranging from chronic wounds to neurological injuries and the purification of individual membrane proteins with polymers to study them as drug targets.

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