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The University of Sussex

 10 July 2001 

Wolfson Foundation gives 750,000 to new University of Sussex research centre

An important new centre for scientific and medical research, currently under construction at the University of Sussex, has received a major boost with the announcement of a generous 750,000 award from the Wolfson Foundation.

The purpose-built Genome Damage and Stability Centre, which will house about 100 scientists and support staff, will expand research at the University of Sussex on the links between genome damage, genetic diseases and cancer - that is, how damage to our genes causes cancer, and why people with certain genetic diseases are particularly prone to cancer.

The new grant is by far the largest ever received by the University of Sussex from the Wolfson Foundation. It will be added to 5 million in government funding that the University was awarded in April 2000 towards the cost of building the new laboratories, scheduled for completion in January 2002.

The chairman of the Centre will be Professor Alan Lehmann, a molecular geneticist who is internationally renowned for his work on cancer-prone human genetic disorders caused by defects in the ability of the cells to repair genome damage.

"Cancer is in fact not one but more than a hundred different diseases," he explains. "These can be cured only when we understand at the basic level what goes wrong when normal cells change into cancer cells. By concentrating on the study of genetic diseases in which the cells' repair systems are faulty, researchers will eventually be able to diagnose and cure existing conditions as well as begin to understand how cancers arise."

MRC's Research Director in the Genome Damage and Stability Centre will be Dr Tony Carr, a yeast geneticist who studies the ways in which cell proliferation is affected by genome damage. The University will also be filling two new senior positions with international leaders in specific areas of genome damage and stability.

"The University of Sussex has the highest concentration of internationally renowned experts working in the field of genome damage and stability," says the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony Moore. "Maintaining this outstanding grouping is one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Centre, whose research will lead to major developments in tackling one of the biggest killers in modern society."

 Notes for editors 

  • For further information, please contact Alison Field or Peter Simmons, University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, email or
  • The Wolfson Foundation is a charitable foundation set up in 1955 for the advancement of science and technology, health, education, the arts and humanities. Grants are made to universities for new buildings and renovations, research equipment and student accommodation.

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