Babies from the sickle cell cohort and their mothers (Copyright: Graham Serjeant*)
The MRC has two research units in The Gambia and Uganda but we haven’t made a habit of setting up units around the globe. So when External Communications Officer Stacy-Ann Ashley found out about our former units in Jamaica, she decided to take a look at its work, from malnutrition research to a sickle cell study that is still producing results today.
Last year the MRC turned 100, and with such a long history, I often find myself saying “I never knew that”. One such moment was when I found out that the MRC had units in Jamaica between 1958 and 1999. As a Jamaican, I was intrigued. So I did a little digging.
The first MRC unit in Jamaica focused on tropical metabolism. It opened in 1958 with laboratories and a 16-bed ward with the aim of researching the metabolic and physiological mechanisms of severe acute malnutrition.
The unit Director, Professor (later Sir) John Waterlow, had first arrived in Jamaica in 1945 when the British Colonial Office asked him to research the high death rate of children under five years old on the island, as well as in Guyana and Trinidad. Read more
Medical research benefits people worldwide, and science is an increasingly global endeavour. But how much do we know about how scientists work together across countries? Here we look at some of the key international collaborations that MRC scientists have been involved in the past 100 years, from the 1940s trial of streptomycin for tuberculosis to testing a smartphone app that tests eye health in Kenya.
[Video link for access]
2013 has been a big year for the MRC, marking 100 years since our founding committee met for the first time to plan the spending of public money on medical research. We’ve achieved much since then, and throughout the year we celebrated the past, present and future of the MRC. Here Centenary coordinator Adrian Penrose provides a snapshot of highlights from our Centenary year, shoehorned into a familiar format …
Twelve groups celebrating
We’ve held 12 events this year in the UK celebrating our Centenary with MRC staff and our wider community. The MRC is a large organisation, funding and carrying out such a range of research, so we wanted to get people together to share their knowledge. Activities included the broadcast of films about past and present MRC research at the London event, hands-on fun activities in Edinburgh, a Centenary Quiz and photography competition in Cambridge, and a special sciSCREEN-style screening and discussion of The Nightmare Before Christmas in Cardiff.
Eleven scientists writing
We shortlisted 11 MRC-funded early-career researchers for this year’s Max Perutz Science Writing Award held at the Science Museum in London. Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP, presented the £100 Centenary Prize to Helen Keyworth for her article Running Away from Addiction, while Peter Kilbride won the Centenary challenge of describing where his research area would be in 100 years. Read more