New home of microscopes will help research thrive

Friday, 29 July 2016

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The next phase of development at Oxford Brookes is now complete, with the opening this week of the Sinclair Annex.

The refurbished space is the new home of the University’s bio-imaging unit, which undertakes teaching and research in molecular cell biology. The building’s opening has created modern research labs alongside spaces for our advanced confocal and electron microscopes, which will support the team’s research and teaching activity.

Speaking about the new Annex space, Chris Hawes, Professor of Plant Cell Biology, said: “We are delighted to be in the new Sinclair Annex. The space has brand new facilities for us to conduct our research which will really make a difference to how we work.

“We’re now better located as a team so it’ll be easier for us to collaborate on projects and ultimately improve the research we carry out.”

The most Research Excellence Framework (REF), in 2014, judged that 59% of the University’s research in biological sciences was deemed ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ and the move into the Annex, which brings several of these research teams together, will ensure that the strength of this research activity continues into the future.

The team also take research out of the research community. In the video below, 3D printing technology is used to bring microscopic cells to life for blind and partially sighted people.

Dr Louise Hughes, who manages the unit, commented: “Here we have a core microscopy facility for the University, housing advanced light and electron microscopes, which are available for both research and undergraduate teaching.

“There are also molecular biology and cell culture laboratories for the plant and trypanosome cell biology research groups also now in the Sinclair Annex. The new facility provides a bright and modern atmosphere that helps with both internal research and external collaborations with academia and industry partners.”

The move of these teams into the Sinclair Annex also signals the next phase of works in the Sinclair building. The refurbishment of the second floor of Sinclair will bring state-of-the-art teaching and research labs to the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, improving the student experience of those studying here.

More information about the courses offered in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences can be found on their webpages.